News from CRG
COVID-19 has shown that Europe is not equipped to ensure the safety of its citizens during a health crisis, according to a position paper signed by fourteen leading biomedical research institutes. The centres, part of the EU-LIFE alliance, warn that scientific miracles do not exist and the only way forward from the current crisis is a long-term, unprecedented boost in investment for research and innovation.
The research alliance, which represents almost 8000 biomedical research staff in 14 different European countries, has published a manifesto today calling for the European Union to invest 150 billion euros in its next research programme, 50% more than the European Commission’s current proposal of 100 billion euros.
The alliance calls for the EU to ringfence at least 35% of all research and innovation funding for discovery-driven research, which is mostly through grants given by the European Research Council. Most of these research projects are too high risk to be funded through the private sector alone, relying on public funding.
The manifesto highlights the study of retroviruses as an example of the long-term importance of basic science research, as it was subsequently crucial to combatting AIDS when the disease first appeared. The centres cite a recent study that show every €1 invested in blue-skies research generates €4.20 for society at large.
The position paper outlines the importance of seeing EU as complementary – and not replacing – individual national responsibilities in investing in science and innovation. The centres call for each EU nation to invest 3% of their national GDP in research and innovation. The EU average is currently 2.06%.