Horizon Europe, successor to Horizon 2020
The European Union’s current research programme, Horizon 2020, will end at the end of 2020. The European Commission published a proposal for a new research programme named Horizon Europe in June 2018. The design of this new research programmes is highly significant to universities in the Netherlands: Dutch universities receive over €600 million each year for outstanding research.
VSNU position on Horizon Europe (FP9)
The Association of Universities in the Netherlands (VSNU) published a position paper on the new research programme at the beginning of 2018. In the paper, the universities state that seven points are crucial to ensuring the success of the new research programme. First and foremost, the EU would have to invest a larger share of its budget in outstanding research and innovation. Additional investments are crucial given the major social and economic challenges facing Europe and the ambition to maintain Europe’s position as a global scientific leader. In addition, this will contribute to an increase of the acceptance rates, which are currently far too low.
The continuation of the success of the current research programme hinges on the EU’s continued focus on excellence: this should be the No. 1 criterion on which research proposals should be assessed. The VSNU also made several proposals aimed at increasing the impact of research. For example, there must be greater commitment to the fields of open data, open access and open science at a European level.
Scientific breakthroughs are impossible to achieve without fundamental research. Therefore Horizon Europe must include sufficient scope for this type of research. The VSNU would also welcome a research programme that stimulates an interdisciplinary approach, something which is desperately needed, given the complex nature of the current scientific, economic and social issues. Finally, Dutch universities are also feel that greater efforts must be made to close the gap between European regions that lead in terms of innovation and those that lag behind. This could be achieved, for example, with European Structural Funds.
Joint position of the Dutch knowledge field
The VSNU has worked on formulating a joint position on the new Framework Programme within Neth-ER, alongside other organisations in the Dutch knowledge field (such as the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO), the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW), the Netherlands Organisation for applied scientific research TNO and the Netherlands Association of Universities of Applied Sciences). This resulted in the vision paper ‘Knowledge First’. In this paper, the Dutch knowledge organisations posit that the new programme must centre on three key principles: excellence, collaboration and impact.