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The Knowledge-Sharing Platform

23 Jan 2015

ERA Stakeholders Platform members express concern about EFSI

CESAER, EARTO, EUA, LERU and Science Europe, all of which are members of the European Research Area Stakeholders Platform and are leading European science and research organisations, issued a Joint Statement expressing their great concern about the European Commission’s proposed regulation for the new European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) on 23 January 2015.

They stated that while as ERA stakeholders, they supported the Commission’s actions to boost economic growth and job creation through R&I investment, Horizon 2020 was “the only strategic European-level instrument supporting R&I activities”.

The Joint Statement says that "Horizon2020, much like national R&I funds, is based on granting funds recognizing that R&I actors such as universities, RTOs and RPOs have specific business models requiring strong public support (that cannot primarily come from loans). Deviating funds from such a pan-EU R&I programme to create new loans facilities aiming at supporting only one actor within Europe’s R&I value chains and eco-systems does not make sense, especially given that such loans facilities already exist at the European Investment Bank (EIB) as well as under Horizon2020 (INNNOVFIN)."

The "substantial cuts" provided for the Horizon 2020 budget in order to fund the EFSI "will weaken Horizon2020 rather than adding EFSI as a complementary tool to this programme", the research organisations say. They therefore "warn EU-decision makers that such plans will be detrimental to the only pan-European R&I activities running today" and call upon the European Parliament and the Council to "continue to support pan-European research and innovation as they have done by supporting Horizon2020 budget up to now".

The Joint Statement strongly recommends a number of changes to be made to the proposed Juncker Plan legislation, such as ensuring that projects funded under the EFSI have to fulfill clear research and innovation criteria in order to be eligible for loans ("R&I Check"), prove that they involve all R&I actors within the projects, even if they are managed by industry or governments, and allow all relevant R&I actors to participate, even if some of them may not be able to raise loans. The Joint Statement therefore calls for R&I actors to be involved in EFSI governance as well as in the evaluation of EFSI-funded projects as independent advisors.

For the full version of the Joint Statement see http://www.earto.eu/fileadmin/content/Website/ERA_Stakeholders_-_Joint_Statement_on_EFSI_-_Final.pdf

The Joint Statement is endorsed by the following organisations:

Conference of European Schools for Advanced Engineering Education and Research (CESAER) http://www.cesaer.org/en/home/

European Association of Research and Technology Organisations (EARTO) http://www.earto.eu/

European University Association (EUA) http://www.eua.be/Home.aspx

League of European Research Universities (LERU) http://www.leru.org/index.php/public/home/

Science Europe http://www.scienceeurope.org/

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