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Diverting Funds

Carlos Moedas, the new science and research commissioner, defended the European Commission president's plan to divert funds from the Horizon 2020 scheme to a new program aimed at boosting the European job market, reports ScienceInsider's Erik Stokstad.

President Jean-Claude Juncker's proposed European Fund for Strategic Investment plan would draw on €21 billion from various existing budgets — including the Horizon 2020 scheme — and invest those funds in projects that Juncker says can bring in additional funding from industry and national governments.

The plan has drawn criticism from the scientific community, Stokstad notes. In a letter to Juncker sent in December, Paul Nurse, the president of the UK Royal Society, urged him to reconsider the plan and how it would affect basic research and, down the road, applied research.

While in London, Moedas spoke with Nurse and others to try to assuage their concerns, according to Stokstad.

"We are doing more and not less," Moedas says he told Nurse. "I'm extremely glad to reassure Sir Paul that the idea of the Juncker Plan will be to increase the firepower of Horizon 2020."