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Astrid Söderbergh Widding: Horizon Europe – final decisions and future choices

President's blog November 15

10 November, the final decision was made on the EU's budget for 2021-2027. Regarding research, this was a significant improvement from the compromise budget proposed in July: from the proposed €75.9 billion in July to €84.9 billion for Horizon Europe, and for Erasmus+ an increase from €21.2 billion to €23.4 billion.

This is of course welcome and important, and an issue that has been actively pursued by both the Association of Swedish Higher Education Institutions (SUHF) and not least the European University Association (EUA), of which we are also members. But despite the positive news, it must unfortunately be said that the investment is not sufficient. 

In fact, the EU has missed a unique opportunity, not least in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis, to make an even stronger and rarely more much-needed investment in research, innovation and higher education at European level. 

This is where synergy effects and critical mass can best be achieved. In order to still achieve the best possible effect of decided investments, wise decisions are now required within the framework of the overall budget, where it is of the utmost importance that the excellence investments in the ERC and Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions are prioritized and can be increased.

It is also important that both the member states and our research funders consider all available opportunities to increase joint investment, for the benefit of research in Europe and the world. The Swedish government research funding bodies have also recently submitted the results of their assignment to propose a Swedish strategy for participation in Horizon Europe. It will be exciting to see the result.

Astrid Söderbergh Widding

President

Read more in President's blog in Swedish

Photo: Eva Dalin
Photo: Eva Dalin