Hall: EU funding helps UK punch above its weight on science

Today MEPs and national ministers in Brussels agreed on the new EU research and innovation programme “Horizon 2020″.

Over the past five years, the current EU framework programme (FP7) has brought over £3 billion in science funding to the UK, supporting cutting-edge research in areas such as stem-cell therapy, clean energy and nano-technology.

The leader of the UK Liberal Democrat MEPs and European industry spokesperson Fiona Hall said:

“EU research funding has been hugely beneficial to the UK and we punch well above our weight in the science sector.

“We need this additional EU investment in our research sector to ensure that the UK retains its competitive edge and that our world class universities continue to act as a magnet for global talent.

“Economic growth and job creation are driven by innovations that rely on science and research. Research is an area with clear EU added-value and it should be a priority for EU spending.”

The deal still has to be approved by EU Member States and the Parliament’s plenary and is subject to the EU’s long term budget before it can come into force. 

Note to editors:

Horizon 2020 is structured around three pillars.

The first pillar ‘Excellence in the science base’ aims to strengthen the EU’s world-class excellence in science, particularly through a significant strengthening of the European Research Council, which mainly focuses on frontier research.

The second pillar ‘Creating industrial leadership and competitive frameworks’ aims to support business research and innovation. Actions will cover: increasing investment in enabling industrial technologies and support for innovation in SMEs with high growth potential.

The third pillar ‘Tackling societal challenges’ aims to respond directly to challenges identified in Europe 2020. Its focus will be on the challenges of: health, demographic change and well-being; food security and the bio-based economy; energy; transport; supply of raw materials; resource efficiency and climate action; inclusive, innovative and secure societies.