The European Commission has a communication problem. At least that’s what we claimed in our previous blog post and we think we do have a point: every year billions of Euros are invested in research and innovation and hardly anyone outside the academic world knows about it.
Additionally, European science funding is not a recent concept. It has been going on in its current form since 1984, when the first so-called Framework Programme (FP) was launched with a budget of 3.75 bn EUR for four years. European investment in research and innovation has since increased tremendously (see figure above). Under the current FP7 scheme, over 53 bn EUR are being invested and the eighth Framework Programme, termed Horizon 2020, has an allocated budget of over 87 bn EUR.
We’ll come back to how this money is actually being spent at a later point and leave it for now as it stands: with this graph and with a couple of quotes from official documents on Horizon 2020, the next Framework Programme:
"Europe's taxpayers have a right to know how their money is invested. Because research and innovation are vital to people's futures, it is important to bring the research and innovation activities funded through Horizon 2020 to the attention of the general public, showing in particular the added value of Union level action. This will generate better public understanding, engagement and debate. Information and communication measures will therefore be an integral part of Horizon 2020 implementation."
Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions, page 13 (see pdf).
"Activities to disseminate information and carry out communication activities shall be an integral task under all of the actions supported by Horizon 2020."
Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing Horizon 2020 - The Framework Programme for Research and Innovation, page 23 (see pdf).
We see what we can do.