Horizon Europe gets extra €4 billion

EU governments and the European Parliament on Tuesday afternoon announced an extra €4 billion will be added to the EU’s 2021-2027 research budget, following one-and-a-half days of intense negotiations in Brussels.

The deal, which still requires a final nod from parliament and member states, puts Brussels closer to implementing its gigantic €1.8 trillion budget and COVID-19 recovery package.

In all, a series of EU programmes gained an additional €15 billion. Among them, the student exchange programme Erasmus+ went up by €2.2 billion, health spending in EU4Health by €3.4 billion, and the InvestEU programme got an additional €1 billion.

“The European Parliament tripled the envelope of the health programme, secured the equivalent of an additional year of financing for Erasmus+ to support the young generation, and we ensured that research funding remains increasing in key areas, like digital, climate and health,” said Johan Van Overtveldt, a Belgian MEP who sits on the budget committee.

The challenge now for negotiators will be to figure out how to divide extra funds within Horizon Europe fairly, with officials attached to public-private partnerships, the European Research Council, the new research missions, and the European Innovation Council all baying for more cash.

Researchers will be happy to see more money for science, but there was also disappointment that MEPs didn’t get more.

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