The ECFA (European Committee for Future Accelerators) Early-Career Researcher Panel expresses its great concern about Horizon Europe’s budget for frontier research
Europe — December 14th, 2020
The ECFA Early-Career Researcher Panel was established on November 20th, 2020, following a mandate delivered by ECFA to discuss all aspects contributing to the future of research in particle physics. The program Horizon Europe is of critical importance to sustain the highest quality of research in particle physics in Europe. In particular, Pillar 1 of the program is vital to allow early-career researchers to pursue independent research with individual grants such as the European Research Council (ERC) grants or Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions (MSCA).
The ECFA Early-Career Researcher Panel expresses its highest concern about the recent cut of Horizon Europe's budget and its balance among the pillars. Since July, of the initial cut of € 13.5 billion announced at the European Summit, representing 15% of the initial budget, € 4 billion have been added back after protests from the scientific community all over Europe and thanks to the effort of negotiation within the European Parliament. However, there is still a massive cut of € 9.5 billion left, which will have a severe impact on the perspectives of early-career researchers all across Europe, at a critical moment when science and research are demonstrating their vital importance. The question is also open to how to divide the re-obtained funds between the Pillars of Horizon Europe. Following the proposal of the EU Council, Pillar 2 and European Innovation Council (part of Pillar 3) will receive some additional funding (€ 5 billion) from the Next Generation EU Fund. In view of this we are convinced that it is critical to ensure the € 4 billion under discussion is given entirely (or in significant part) back to Pillar 1 of Horizon Europe to restore the original balance in allocated funding between the different Pillars and to sustain excellence in frontier science.
The ECFA Early-Career Researcher Panel thus expresses its support for the “#RescueHorizonEurope” campaign, and calls on European leaders to:
- commit the re-allocated € 4 billion to Pillar 1 of Horizon Europe;
- reconsider the whole finance cut to offer a sustainable future for the next generation of scientific leaders, not only in particle physics, for which Europe is a stronghold of excellence, but also in all scientific fields.
Guaranteeing adequate financial resources is not only needed for EU researchers to continue maintaining a leadership role in all fields of science, including particle physics, but it is also a fundamental requirement to be prepared and able to face the future in a time of global challenges.