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Policy

European universities call for more basic science

by Andrea Widener
September 5, 2016 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 94, ISSUE 35

Horizon 2020, the European Union’s plan for research and innovation, should focus more on investigator-initiated research collaborations and less on technology development, the League of European Research Universities (LERU) says. The Horizon 2020 framework guides the 80 billion euros in research funding available from the EU over seven years, starting in 2014 and ending in 2020. A report from LERU says most of the calls for grants since 2014 have been focused on applied research that was ready to be turned into technologies, rather than basic research collaborations. “This compromises opportunities to pursue the most innovative, collaborative discovery research,” says Peter Lievens, a professor at the University of Leuven and the report’s author. “It can skew scientific projects toward short-term applications and can lead to risk-averse approaches to economic and societal impact.” LERU calls for a more balanced distribution of research funding throughout the duration of Horizon 2020.

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