Commission to increase funding for research

Commission to increase funding for research

European commissioner for research announces 12% increase in spending for 2011.


7/19/10, 6:23 AM CET

Updated 4/12/14, 7:52 PM CET

The European Commission announced today (19 July) that it plans to spend a record amount of funding on research and development in 2011.

The Commission will allocate a total of €6.4 billion, a 12% increase compared to the €5.7 billion that it will allocate in 2010.

The Commission said that the money would stimulate Europe’s recovery from the economic crisis. It will tomorrow launch a call for applications for much of the money, so that it can be allocated next year.

“We are going to be putting that money where it can do most good for growth and jobs,” Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, the European commissioner for research, said.

Priority areas

The Commission’s priority areas for funding include information and communication technologies, which have been allocated €1.2 billion, health, which has been allocated €600 million, and the European Research Council, which supports basic research, and which will receive €1.3bn. The money comes from the EU’s multiannual framework programme for research, known as FP7.

“There is no more efficient investment in the future than research and innovation,”   Geoghegan-Quinn said. She added that FP7 funding “has never been needed more than now”.


Geoghegan-Quinn said that the Commission would tomorrow, separately from the call for applications, present plans for the funding of ITER, an experimental nuclear fusion reactor that is being developed in Cadarache, France.

The reactor is an international project between the EU, China, India, Japan, South Korea, Russia and the US, but the EU is covering 45% of the construction costs.

The project has been hit by repeated increases to its cost estimates, and the Commission is at loggerheads with national governments over how the EU should find the extra money it now needs to meet its obligations.

National governments want to tap the FP7 budget for 2012-13, an option that has so far not been accepted by the Commission, which would like member states to find fresh money.

Governments believe that the Commission may struggle to find enough quality projects to spend the FP7 budget, which is expected to rise again in 2012-13, meaning there is available funds to fund ITER. The EU has already allocated money to ITER from a separate research fund for nuclear activities.

Geoghegan-Quinn said that ITER could have “epoch-making benefits”, because of its potential to endow the world with a cheap, clean, limitless energy source. She said that she would not, however, prejudge what the Commission will propose tomorrow.

“The Commission has right of initiative on budgetary matters,” she said.

Jim Brunsden