Horizon 2020 — the European Union's proposed research funding program beginning in 2014 — is expected to bring EU researchers a funding boost, says ScienceInsider's Gretchen Vogel. But those researchers shouldn't count their chickens just yet, says Christopher Hull, secretary general of the European Association of Research and Technology Organisations. At the Horizon 2020 and the Future of European Research meeting in Belgium last week, Hull told the audience that economic problems among several EU member states could reduced the program's proposed €80 billion budget to €60 billion or less, Vogel reports.
That's assuming the €80 billion proposal was even that big of a boost to begin with — the current funding program, called FP7, has a budget of €57 billion, but "its yearly outlays increased from just over €5 billion in 2006 to a slated €10 billion this year and next," Vogel adds. "That means that a flat EU research budget for the next 7 years would require at least €70 billion for Horizon 2020." The European Parliament, which is on record as promising €100 billion for Horizon 2020, is currently debating the program, but in the end, the EU's finance ministers will decide the final budget. "Their official position has been that Horizon 2020 should receive as much as FP7: roughly €57 billion," Vogel says. A final decision is expected at the end of 2013.