EU-LIFE, the alliance of 13 leading Life Science Research Institutes in Europe announced their key priorities for the next Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (FP9) that will run from 2021 to 2027. The key points are as follows:
- To double the investment by the European Commission to 150 billion euro for the entire programme 2021-2027. It is clear from calculations for previous framework programmes by the European Commission that every euro spent will generate a multiple in economic benefits over time.
- To invest more in basic research than today. Without basic research, no applied research is possible. Good basic research actually acts as a booster for applied and commercial research investments.
- To encourage collaboration of excellent research based on more bottom-up, non-prescriptive approaches that address key societal challenges.
- To encourage technology transfer that turns scientific insights into economic value. Technology transfer is critical to counter the current "innovation paradox". The true challenge is to pro-actively assist the basic researchers with identifying and enabling commercial and medical use of their findings.
- To have excellence as the sole criterion for selection in FP9.
- To focus on open science in order to foster wider impact of excellent research. Furthermore, expected timing of impact of research outputs should be readjusted for the longer term.
EU-LIFE drafted a Position Paper on FP9.
Jo Bury, Chairman of EU-LIFE and Managing Director of VIB (the Flanders Institute of Biotechnology) says: "Excellent science and professional technology transfer are essential for the well-being of citizens in the future. We have seen that some approaches were successful in the past, where deep scientific insights have led to major breakthroughs in applied science as we see today in immuno-oncology for instance. In our research institutes, tens of thousands of Europe's leading researchers are committed to finding solutions for the most challenging issues of our time, both in health and agriculture. For public research institutes, the funding by the Framework Programmes is critical. We are convinced that the right choices will be made to re-balance the funding for more basic research".
Marta Agostinho, EU-LIFE Coordinator says: 'EU-LIFE is of the opinion that there are many instruments to drive innovation. Public funding is crucial at the more risky and unpredictable stage – the basic research stage – coupled to professional knowledge and technology transfer. This is what FP9 should focus on. '