On October 23rd, the Initiative for Science in Europe started an online petition for securing the EU research budget. Only two days later over 58 000 people have signed the call. This is an unprecedented response of scientists from all over Europe. Many are aware of what is at stake. Currently, the European Parliament debates the budget for the next framework program, determining funding lines from 2014 until 2020. 80 bn Euro are necessary to ensure continuous success of EU-science funding. The final decision will be made towards the end of November.
The strong response to this petition shows the important role research funding from the European Union plays in the European scientific landscape. Particularly now as many national governments are cutting research and technology expenses, EU-research funding plays a vital role in fostering and maintaining the high standard of research in Europe.
But where exactly does the EU money end up? About two thirds of it is invested in international collaborative research projects. Because successful science is not a fight lab against lab, but a collaborative effort where everyone benefits from synergistic effects. EU funds foster the creation of networks, the exchange of knowledge and technology and last but not least, the establishment and maintenance of an international research culture in a united Europe.
_Collaborations in Europe between 2005 and 2009. Source: http://olihb.com/2011/01/23/map-of-scientific-collaboration-between-researchers_
The graphical representation of collaborative publications between different research labs shown above probably illustrates best just how connected the research landscape in Europe already is. So - if you haven't done so yet - just sign the petition: No cuts on research!