Cuts to fund investment scheme send message Europe ‘is not the place to do high level science’

UK business secretary Vince Cable has added his concerns over the European commission’s proposal to cut €2.7 billion (£2.1 billion) from the EU’s research funding programme, Horizon 2020 to those of a number of Nobel laureates. Cable’s comments follow a letter sent by 27 Nobel laureates to Jean-Claude Juncker, the European commission president, criticising the proposed budget cuts.

Under the plans, Juncker hopes to divert money taken from the Horizon budget into an economic stimulus plan, known as the European Fund for Strategic Investment, which would inject €21 billion into the European economy. If the proposal comes to fruition the European Institute of Innovation and Technology and the European Research Council will both see large funding cuts to help raise the €2.7 billion.

The response from the scientific community to the funding proposal has largely been negative. In the letter to Juncker seen by The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, signed by Andre Geim, John Sulston and 25 other Nobel laureates, the authors stated that such a funding cut will ‘send a message that Europe is not the place to do high level science’.

Cable has also aired his concerns in a statement. Cable said: ‘It is absolutely essential that the Juncker plan doesn’t proceed at the expense of investment in science and research.’ He went on to reiterate that the UK government will ‘continue to scrutinise the details of the investment plan’.