22 Jul 2022
EU Ministers discuss synergies in R&I funding in Europe
The Ministers responsible for research and innovation from the EU Member States, Iceland, Norway and Switzerland met for an informal meeting in Prague on 22 July 2022. At the invitation of the Czech Presidency of the Council of the EU, the ministers discussed synergies in research and innovation funding in Europe, one of the priorities of the Czech Presidency. During the lunch debate, the focus was on measures taken in research and innovation as a response to the military aggression of Russia in Ukraine. Prior to the informal meeting, the delegations were invited to visit the BIOCEV research infrastructure, since research infrastructures are also one of the priorities the current Czech Presidency.
In early July, the Czech Presidency had hosted a Flagship Presidency Conference on Synergies in research and innovation funding in Europe in Prague. The outcomes of the conference had fed into the Prague Declaration on Synergies in research and innovation funding in Europe, which was presented at the informal meeting. Following the meeting, the Czech Presidency will ask European Research Ministers to support the Prague Declaration on synergies at the political level, by issuing an endorsement letter. The outcome of this endorsement initiative will be presented at the Competitiveness Council on 2 December 2022 in Brussels. The declaration sets out specific actions and measures. It also invites European research and innovation stakeholders to continue to remove the barriers identified to make full use of synergies, since synergies in research and innovation funding are key in order to maximise public and private investments to advance science and technology in Europe. “Full capitalisation on synergies in the European research and innovation funding is still pending and calls for an advanced step”, the background paper for the political debate states. After the opening addresses by Czech Minister Vladimír Balaš and EU Commissioner Mariya Gabriel and two keynote addresses on the political and scientific perspective on synergies, ministers discussed the remaining barriers at European and national level as well as concrete measures at national level, to harvest the full potential of synergies in research and innovation funding.
Over lunch, delegations were invited to an informal exchange of views on the reactions to the ongoing military aggression of the Russian Federation in Ukraine, and to discuss pertinent measures taken at European and Member State levels in research and innovation. The debate focused on the reconstruction of research and innovation in Ukraine, support to researchers and innovators who remain in Ukraine, as well as science diplomacy and support to Russian individual researchers. The European Commission also gave an update on the measures at European level, where sanctions have been swiftly imposed on Russia and immediate and effective support has been provided to Ukraine and Ukrainian researchers and scientists. In terms of immediate support, three key initiatives have been implemented in the field of research and innovation: The European Research Area for Ukraine/ERA4Ukraine (ERA4Ukraine | EURAXESS (europa.eu)), the Horizon4Ukraine initiative (Horizon4Ukraine - IT How To - Funding Tenders Opportunities (europa.eu)) and the ERC4Ukraine initiative (ERC for Ukraine: jobs for researchers fleeing the war | ERC: European Research Council (europa.eu)).
The EU Competitiveness Council under the Czech Council Presidency will take place on 2 December 2022 in Brussels.