Opinion: Horizon 2020 means €80 billion extra science for Europe and jobs in the UK

If I say, “Europe gives us a wider horizon” you might think this was a general observation that uniting as a continent, doing things together, helps us see and reach further in the world.

It certainly does but I have in mind a specific horizon: the Horizon 2020 fund. This is €80 billion that the European Union has voted to allocate to scientific research in 2014-20.

A European fund like this means a big opportunity for the UK.  We have some of the best universities and other research institutions. They are well placed to apply for grants under this fund.  Already South East England universities attract around £1 billion of EU funds and I expect this to now increase. Oxford University is already encouraging its researchers to apply to bring these funds into the UK.

Science and research benefits people’s lives by creating skilled jobs and through the fruits of technology created or improved by these research projects: new medicine, better transport, and more efficient manufacture to name just a few. Horizon 2020 funds are likely to develop nanotechnology, robotics, the bio-economy, space, and environmental protection among many other areas.

Any team of researchers in Europe can bid in the open competitions for Horizon 2020 funds and nothing is earmarked for any member state – if someone can show they can make the best use of the funds, to benefit the public, they get it. This merit-based approach is exactly how the EU, and governance in general, should work.

If UKIP and Conservatives had their way and took us out of the EU we would lose access to apply for these funds. The UK would lose jobs and good researchers would relocate to other countries.

It has always been the Liberal Democrat view that Europe should do things where there is added value in pooling resources. Scientific research is a prime example and it is one reason #whyiamIN.

People who want Britain to be in and the EU to do more like Horizon 2020 should vote Liberal Democrat on 22 May 2014.

* Antony Hook was a Liberal Democrat MEP for South East England (2019) and has practised as a barrister since 2003. He is currently Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group on Kent County Council.

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  • This is absolutely correct. And it would be most useful if more politicians, of all parties, but especially those currently in government, spoke out against the terrible effect current immigration policy is having on universities and research institutes.

  • Yes, but we’re paying for all this and more through our net contribution.

    “If UKIP and Conservatives had their way and took us out of the EU we would lose access to apply for these funds. The UK would lose jobs and good researchers would relocate to other countries.”

    Shouldn’t we stop trying to pull the wool over people’s eyes, which won’t work. Everyone knows that we UK taxpayers are indirectly forking out our own money for this. We should emphasise the added value that European collaboration on big research projects can bring, rather than pretending there is a magic money fountain in Brussels. There isn’t.

  • “we’re paying for all this and more”

    So you’d rather the British government had it? Why, is there a middle eastern country they could pointlessly invade?

  • It doesn’t matter how many times this notion of ‘EU funding’ is wheeled out for inspection, because on closer inspection it’s self evident, that the EU actually has NO money to fund anything, other than the cash that individual countries are obliged to throw into the EU begging bowl.

  • jedibeeftrix 15th Jan '14 - 1:14pm

    @ -“So you’d rather the British government had it? Why, is there a middle eastern country they could pointlessly invade?”

    sorry, but I fail to see how this is a useful response to rc. elaborate…

  • @ George Potter
    There is no ‘joint pooling’ of funding from 28 countries. Some countries put in 1 Euro and get out 2 Euros. That would be better described as a either
    i) a 100% return on Capital, or
    ii) remote ‘welfare benefits’ from UK, France, & Germany
    Seriously folks, can LibDems not see that the jig is up, on this EU swindle? I have to admit, that as scams go, this ‘EU funding’ malarkey is a doozer, that would have had Bernie Madoff licking his lips.
    Here’s the deal ~ For every £1 you send me I will generously post you back 43 pence of ‘Funding’
    I wish I’d thought of it. And I can see why so many prospective MEP’s are so keen to get on that train to Brussels.

  • “John Dunn, presumably it is your view that counties that are net contributors to the UK, or wards who are net contributors to their local authority are victims of a swindle ?”
    No. It is my view that the EU is an extra layer of unnecessary bureaucracy, that is superfluous to requirements, and whose sole purpose is to suck the money the life, and the sovereignty out of the periphery. Worse even that, the EU is an extra layer of unnecessary bureaucracy who is eagerly positioning itself to become an EU Government, without any democratic mandate.
    O.K. let’s do some forensics on this ‘ EU Funding ‘ double-talk.
    About 7 years ago my home town ‘won a bid’, (you have to laugh at the language), for about £6 million in Regeneration funding, from the EU!. I think it came under the name of City Challenge.
    That £6 million regeneration budget, began life as about £13 million from UK taxpayers. It first went to Brussels, where they skimmed it to the tune of £7 million, and very graciously returned £6 million to regenerate our housing and local industry.
    Here’s the thing. Were it not for the extra layer of megalomaniac ‘would be Federalists’, it could have been double the regeneration budget that was actually spent. Had that full amount of money been spent on all of Northern towns back then, perhaps they would not be in the ghost town state that many are in today?
    That’s where the real swindle took place.

  • @jedibeeftrix

    My point, which I would have thought I made very obvious, is that the British government is not necessarily the best organisation to spend taxpayers money as it proved with a long list of wasteful and even deadly capers from IT disasters to wars on which it has spent many billions. It’s not use saying ‘we’ alot. ‘We’ are Europeans and speaking as a European I trust the EU to spend my money carefully a lot more than I trust the British government.

  • “I trust the EU to spend my money carefully a lot more than I trust the British government.”
    Really Chris ?
    The really disturbing thing to take from this video, is not the scandal of MEP’s, collecting expenses for doing nothing. It is this:
    1. It is the sheer hard faced, lack, of any shame, on the part of those MEP’s, who clearly believe it is their right to claim money for nothing.
    2. Those MEP’s in the video, are voting on issues that affect the UK, but the UK has no means of ridding itself of them.
    And you trust the EU to look after your money?

  • @John Dunn
    That response made my jaw drop. Did the whole duck house thing go right over your head? Do you really honestly think, or think you can persuade anyone else to think, that the UK MPs are any better than MEPs, or even that UK MPs, in general and with honourable exceptions, are not much worse than MEPs? You have a very strange view of the world.

  • @ Chris
    But we have at the very least, established that your money, and your trust in MEP’s using it carefully, is very much misplaced.

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