The ACM European Policy committee, EUACM, has supported calls by the European Commission (EC) for scientists and researchers to lobby government decision-makers over research funding levels.

The EUACM attended the Horizon 2020 Conference in Brussels on 16 February 2016, where the EC’s Director General for Research and Innovation, Robert-Jan Smits, raised concerns about funding for research and encouraged the scientific community to talk to their MEPs and national governments about ways to protect Horizon 2020.

The call occurred during a session entitled, “The future of Horizon 2020: Budget, politics and survival strategies”, where various representatives from the EC and audience members discussed the low success rate among Horizon 2020 proposals so far. The meeting was told that despite an abundance of excellent proposals, too many are rejected for lack of available funding. Concerns were also raised that the Horizon 2020 research budget might be even lower in the near future, considering the serious challenges Europe is currently facing and the on-going review of H2020. Smit’s message was also supported by the German Member of the European Parliament, Christian Ehler.

EUACM Chair, Fabrizio Gagliardi, who was a panellist on an earlier session called, “Can science diplomacy work?”, said fundamental research is indispensable to Europe’s competitiveness and innovation. “Fundamental research is at the source of the virtuous circle,” he explained.

“Fundamental research fosters innovation which produces industrial spin-off. Industrial spin-off generates a tax return to the government, ultimately resulting in funds for the fundamental research in the first place. If funding for research is reduced, this will eventually dry out the entire virtuous circle and have a catastrophic impact on European competitiveness and interest of the entire society.”

The ACM Europe Council, chaired by Prof. Dame Wendy Hall, was created in 2009 by the ACM to support its European members and increase the ACM’s visibility across Europe.  Modelled on the successful experience of USACM in the USA, EUACM is a standing committee of the ACM Europe Council that seeks to build privileged two-way relations on computing-related policy issues with the European Commission, member states’ governmental bodies, and informatics and computer science communities. ACM Europe signed up to the EU Parliament Transparency Register in 2015. EUACM was invited to the Horizon 2020 Conference by the organizers, Science|Business.

In addition to Dr Gagliardi, the EUACM includes distinguished European representatives from academy and industry including: Michel Beaudouin-Lafon, Hervé Bourlard, Michel Yves Cosnard, Judith Gal-Ezer, Oliver Grau, Wendy Hall, Chris Hankin, Paola Inverardi, Joaquim Jorge, Gerhard Schimpf, Paul Spirakis, Alex Wolf, Robert Schnabel, (ACM CEO and Executive Director, ex officio), Renee Dopplick (ACM Director of Public Policy, ex officio) and Amalia Hafner (EUACM Research Assistant).

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