The Society hosted the UK launch of Horizon 2020 (“H2020”) on 31 January in partnership with BIS and the Technology Strategy Board (TSB).
Playing to a packed lecture theatre, Paul Nurse led a stimulating day of speeches offering perspectives on Horizon 2020 from senior representatives in government, academia and industry, as well as keynote addresses from the European Commissioners for Research, Innovation and Science, and Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth. Horizon 2020 is the largest science and innovation programme in the world (just shy of €80bn), with science and innovation being the only areas in the Commission’s decreasing budget that have been substantially increased.
Recurrent themes throughout the day included research funding being the one area where the UK gets more back than it puts in; research excellence being critical and fundamental to the programme; the importance of raising industry participation; and the need to further simplify processes and procedures.
In his plenary address, David Willetts, UK Science Minister, referred to the Society’s “excellent publication” on open data, as an exemplar for its messaging on openness to diversity and ideas, “values that are embodied in Horizon 2020”. In his summary, Paul Nurse reiterated the Society’s core messages for Europe: the need for “absolute focus on excellence” and to ensure scientific evidence “plays its proper role” in Europe and its Parliament.
Media coverage on the day’s events included:
On the same day, and timed to celebrate the 30th anniversary of its research office (UKRO) in Brussels, Research Councils UK (RCUK) published its vision for engaging in Europe.