Sudip Parikh

Source: © Andy DelGiudice

Sudip Parikh sold journalists at the AAAS annual meeting that he wants the US and Europe to work together more closely on research

The chief executive of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is calling for the US to have tighter links with the EU’s funding programme Horizon Europe, which supports fundamental research and innovation across the continent.

‘I would like the US’s relationship with Horizon Europe to be closer,’ AAAS’s CEO Sudip Parikh stated during a press breakfast kicking off his organisation’s annual meeting in Washington, DC on 2 March. ‘I think that we have opportunities for not just funding in parallel, but rather co-funding,’ he said. The US isn’t technically associated with Horizon Europe, and generally Horizon Europe is open to participants from the US who come with their own funding.

Parikh envisions a scenario in which US scientists are eligible for Horizon Europe funding in the same way that they can apply to receive support from the US National Science Foundation (NSF), for example. ‘It is much more complicated when you try and mix different colours of money,’ he continued. ‘The scientists become administrators, as opposed to actual scientists – they spend so much more of their time thinking about which part of the funding can they use for this, and which part they use for that.’

If an entire NSF project can be funded in Europe, or supported by Horizon Europe in the US, ‘that makes a huge difference,’ Parikh said. He noted that Horizon Europe is currently building associate status with countries such as Japan, Australia and Canada, and he argued for a deeper association with the US that involves more coordination. There is ‘an incredible amount of overlap’ between Horizon Europe and the NSF in terms of their initiatives and priorities, Parikh said.

‘We should be building more together,’ he continued. ‘The scientists, they are from the same scientific ancestry – they descend from the same scientists at Oxford, and Cambridge, and Zurich, and MIT and Harvard – they are one community, and the separations are artificial and bureaucratic.’

Meanwhile in the UK, the Windsor Framework agreement reached between the UK and the EU last month could pave the way for full UK participation in European research programmes like Horizon Europe.