The discussions at and around the next summit of the European Union heads of states and governments, which is scheduled for 22 and 23 November, will be decisive in determining the EU research budget for the next seven years. Several Member States are demanding severe cuts on the total EU budget and research will have to compete with other policy priorities.
This is a time when we, the scientific community, should act together and make our case to protect research funding, including that of the European Research Council (ERC), from cuts. Decisions will be prepared in discussions among politicians at the national level. All of us must look for opportunities to affect these decisions and send a strong signal to the Heads of State or Government.
An open letter signed by European Nobel laureates has been published in top European newspapers this week. The impact of this letter will be increased if it is followed by a mobilization of the national scientific communities.
You can consider supporting these initiatives, for example, in the following ways:
* speak at events we may be attending to make the case for the ERC and the budget for Horizon2020,
* use contacts that we or our colleagues may have in political parties or in the media to inform and mobilise our communities and others,
* ask the leaders of any professional society to which we belong to bring this call to action to the attention of the society's members.
An online petition has been launched to keep the momentum going: http://www.no-cuts-on-research.eu
We encourage you to sign it and to encourage your research group members and colleagues to do likewise. Note that in the past less than 30 000 scientists signed the largest petition for a scientific cause in Europe compared to the hundreds of thousands of signatures on petitions from other groups of society. We must do better than that.