Science and research have been forgotten in Brussels

An open letter from Pavel Iványi, CEO of FNUSA-ICRC, published in Saturday’s issue of Lidové noviny.

The EU summit addressed in particular the budget for 2021-27 and the so-called recovery fund. Although the subject of the negotiations was a dizzying sum of EUR 1,824 trillion, the results of the summit are a great disappointment for science and research.

It is understandable that the European Commission is empowered to borrow three quarters of a trillion euros on the financial markets, which can be used for follow-up loans and expenditures necessary to address the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. What is no longer understandable, however, is the fact that only five billion euros have been negotiated in the Horizon Europe framework program, which is one of the carriers of funding for science and research.

The draft budget for the Research and Innovation Framework Program, announced in May (€ 94.4 billion), failed to enforce, with a total of “only” € 80.9 billion allocated to science and research. In Brussels, the symptoms are addressed, not the causes or the possibility of preventing them. At the same time, the field of science and research has a unique potential to solve the cause of current problems. We do not yet know how long it will take us to find the vaccine and how long it will take to vaccinate the population, but we may say that particularly investment in science and research will accelerate it.

In the Czech Republic, approximately two percent of GDP is invested in science and research. It is such a better European average. The prime minister managed to negotiate almost four billion euros more from the EU budget than in the previous period, and one of the three priority areas should be health care. I believe that science, research and innovation will not be forgotten, at least at national level.
I call on our MEPs to support efforts to address the causes of the current crisis and to increase funding for science and research.

Pavel Iványi, CEO of the International Clinical Research Center of St. Anne’s University Hospital Brno