The European Commission today proposed spending €100 billion on research from 2021 to 2027 under its next continent-wide science funding program. That is less than some research groups had hoped for. Still, they say it is a good—but not great—opening bid in what are expected to be lengthy negotiations with the European Parliament and the European Union’s member states on a final spending plan.
The €100 billion proposal, which the commission says represents a 50% increase compared with the previous period, includes €97.6 billion for Horizon Europe, the follow-on to the current Horizon 2020 multiyear spending initiative, and €2.4 billion for the nuclear research program Euratom. The total doesn’t include €6 billion for ITER, the international fusion project under construction near Cadarache in France, but it does include €3.5 billion under the InvestEU fund, which aims to help research projects secure loans or equity funds from other sources. Including funds for digital technologies, the commission is proposing to devote €114.8 billion to research and innovation.
The commission notes that its proposal marks the largest amount ever earmarked for EU research programs, which started in 1984. And it says that although other spending areas, such as agriculture and regional development, are being “moderately” squeezed, they’ve put a priority on protecting science. Research even got star billing as the first topic in the commission’s budget document.