The UK DRI has joined major European institutions in launching a petition that urges the EU to give greater emphasis to neuroscience research in its upcoming strategic and funding plan for Horizon Europe.
On the future of neuroscience research and especially research into brain diseases in Europe, Prof Bart De Strooper, UK DRI Director and Group Leader at VIB-KU Leuven, said:
‘Based on the draft strategic plan for Horizon Europe, outlining EU research priorities for the coming seven years, we feel this area of research is hugely undervalued and deserves far greater priority.’
The petition has already been undersigned by major institutions including German Center for Neurodegenerative Disease (DZNE), Sainsbury Wellcome Centre (SWC) and Strategic Research Area Neuroscience, Karolinska Institutet. The signatories cite current under-funding for brain research, lack of treatment availability, huge economic burden and significant knowledge gap with other research areas as reasons for the increased emphasis and prioritisation required for neuroscience research.
The European Commission is preparing the implementation of Horizon Europe, the next and most ambitious EU research and innovation programme (2021-2027) with a proposed budget of €100 billion, in an intensive co-design process. The process will help shape European research and innovation investments in the coming years. As part of the process, the Commission launched an online consultation which will collect input from across Europe and beyond. The inputs received will inform the work to prepare a ‘Strategic Plan’ for Horizon Europe, which will then guide the work programmes and calls for proposals for Horizon Europe’s first four years (2021-2024).
Carlos Moedas, Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, said:
“Our common future will to a large degree depend on how successfully we work together to create valuable research and innovation. I am pleased to see that we are practicing what we preach as we now kick off the consultation on Horizon Europe with a period of unprecedented co-design including all interested parties”
Although the UK’s role in Horizon Europe is uncertain following its decision to leave the EU, the internationally collaborative nature of science will no doubt mean impact of the programme will be felt worldwide.