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Cabinet satisfied with funding allocated to European science

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The cabinet has no plans to push for a higher European research budget, according to answers given by Minister of Education Ingrid van Engelshoven to parliamentary questions from GroenLinks.

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Just before the summer holidays, around 800 European universities were up in arms about the funding settlement. They were outraged that less money was being allocated to European science than initially foreseen.

In May, the European Council proposed a budget of €94.4 billion for the next seven years for the EU’s research and innovation programme (Horizon Europe), including €13.5 billion from the EU’s Pandemic Recovery Fund. That was already far lower than the amount of €120 billion proposed by the European Parliament.

Horizon programme
But even that amount proved overly ambitious. Certain member states, including the Netherlands, were opposed. The final allocation has been reduced by several billion to €76 billion for Horizon Europe, plus €5 billion from the recovery fund (rather than the €13.5 billion originally proposed).

GroenLinks asked the minister why this had happened. She replied that the EU budget has to be financially sustainable.

Moreover, the current funding still exceeds the previous budget, the minister emphasized. When you exclude the United Kingdom, €66 billion was allocated to the EU research programme over the previous seven years.

More ambitious
According to the cabinet, then, the budget for Horizon Europe has not been reduced. “The Netherlands would have liked to see a more ambitious outcome, but is satisfied with the final settlement.”

Dutch researchers perform relatively well in applications for European science funding: 17.4 percent of Dutch applicants manage to secure funds, the minister writes, compared to an average of 12.7 percent across all applicants.

Last week, European rectors expressed their dismay at the outcome of the negotiations.

 

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