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23 Feb 2018

EUA issues call for action to step up and simplify EU R&I investment

The European University Association (EUA) has issued a "call for action" as part of its campaign for sustainable, sufficient and simple funding for universities, inviting its members and stakeholders in higher education and research and innovation to reach out to policy makers about the need to invest further in research and innovation at the European level. The plea is issued in the context of the meeting of the EU's Heads of State or Government on 23 February 2018, who will discuss the broad directions of the next Multiannual Financial Framework.

EUA points out that although the European added value of investment in higher education and research and innovation has been acknowledged by the EC, the EP and member states, Brexit, security issues and reluctance to increase the overall EU budget will provide difficult choices. The EUA therefore stresses that it is of utmost importance to convince public authorities of the value of further investment in research and innovation, to ensure a positive outcome for the next Framework Programme. EUA lists many arguments for the importance of funding EU R&D, including amongst other issues the fact that EU investment in research and innovation supports all European policies and priorities, e.g. competitive innovation, societal growth, job creation, climate change, or social inclusion.

In addition to its call for stepping up R&D funding, EUA also calls for efforts to further improve performance and overall efficiency of the EU R&I funding programmes, with concrete proposals in its input paper “Taking simplification of EU funds to the next level”. EUA understands the term “simplification” to be the achievement of a coherent set of rules, mindful of the diversity of actions and beneficiaries accommodated in a programme, and that ensures both high-quality processes and an effective use of resources. EUA argues for the wider acceptance of nationally recognised institutional management and accounting practices of beneficiaries as the most significant way to enhance efficiency and participation in the programme.

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