03 May 2023
The Guild position paper calls for competitive research funding as prerequisite of European Excellence Initiative
On 3 May 2023, The Guild of European Research-intensive Universities published its second position paper on the idea of a European Excellence Initiative. The association's original position on this topic had been published in 2019, arguing that universities as drivers for the knowledge economy are integral to Europe’s contributions to addressing the societal and scientific challenges of our time. Therefore, it is critical that the EU takes decisive steps to ensure that academic institutions in Europe retain their position amongst the best in the world. Since 2021, Horizon Europe has seen initial pilot calls to develop a European Excellence Initiative (EEI), and an EEI has been identified as a key tool for implementing the EU’s Strategy for Universities and for helping universities develop in line with the goals of the ERA.
The Guild reiterates its support for an EEI that will genuinely focus on scientific excellence through an open competition and activities that bring European added value, adding that it is important that the EEI is clear in its scope and principles, and focuses on areas that will ensure Europe’s publicly funded universities to compete in research and innovation with the world' best universities in the world in research and innovation.
When it comes to the European university alliances, The Guild recommends that their researchers would be welcomed to compete transparently in the competitive calls of Horizon Europe without an earmarked action that is either exclusively or primarily dedicated to them. In the light of the evolving discussion on a full-scale EEI, the association provides a set of recommendations, focusing on three topics:
- Reward and empower scientific excellence at the level of research teams
- Provide support for capacity-building to strengthen conditions for research excellence
- Use the EEI to boost research excellence in Widening countries
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