Project ”Investment Plan for Europe”

To President EMPL Mr Thomas Händel
To President ITRE Mr Buzek
To President CULT Mrs Silvia Costa
To President DEVE Mrs Linda McAvan
To Commissioner Mr Carlos Moedas
Dear Sir / Dear Madam
the new European Commission decided to start its term by the project called ”Investment Plan for Europe”, which intends to inject some 16 billion euro into the European economy with the idea to revive it and the hope for a huge multiplication effect. The goal is noble but the question is where the money will be taken from. Unfortunately, according to the Commission intentions, the Horizon 2020 program should contribute 2.7 billion, and even two of its chapters considered as front drivers of excellent research in Europe, the European Research Council and the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Program are supposed to be taxed by 221 and 100 million, respectively. Other chapters should contribute also with one exception: following a strange administrative logic the chapter called “Access to Risk Finance” is left untouched.
Even if those sums are a relatively small part of the whole package, the effect would be significant. For instance, the ERC would in this way lose some 150 grants which amounts to roughly one half of a full call; note that the money is taken for the seven-year budget but the cuts will be concentrated to a much shorter period so they will hurt indeed. Aware of the implications, various European organizations raised their voices in protest to this decision, among others Academia Europaea, League of European Research Universities (LERU), or EuroScience, to name just a few. With this letter we intend to join these entities, sharing their concern about a further cut of money for research, an area which instead should be in any way supported in order to encourage progress and innovation.
Since the plan cannot take effect without being approved by the European Parliament, whose members are there to represent interests of their constituencies, we also ask that they will look at the matter with the greatest care and will avoid any further diminution of investments in a sector which is vital for the progress of science, the benefit of future generations and for job possibilities of young brilliant researchers.
Ciro Ciliberto
(President of the Unione Matematica Italiana)