Azara Blog: Framework Programme 7 budget approved by European Parliament

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Date published: 2006/11/30

The BBC says:

The European Parliament has approved a 54bn euro (£36bn) plan to boost science research in Europe.

Framework Programme 7 (FP7) is designed to support several priority areas of research.

Of the different research categories, information technology gets the biggest chunk of funding, with a 9.1bn euro (£6bn) budget.

But research into climate change and energy have received a comparatively small amount of funding in the plan.

The Parliament gave the go-ahead to the plan on Thursday at its second reading. FP7 is due to be formally adopted by the EU on 5 December. The programme is due to run from 2007 to 2013.

Of course no scientists are going to complain about more funding for science research. (Well, somehow the humanities have also managed to cream off some 610 million euros of this budget.) And the EU wastes so much money on agriculture that European citizens should be happy that at least some money is being spent on something else.

But there is a question whether increased science research funding should be done at European level (where the level of associated bureaucracy is large and the corruption is large) or at national level (where it is not nearly so bad in either regard, at least in the UK).

There is also the question of the targetted research areas. Information Technology (IT) does not really need much public-sector support, the private sector is happy to throw money at it, because plenty of money can be made in return. Government should only really be funding things that nobody else will fund. In particular, energy research should be getting much more funding, considering that energy is a much more pressing issue for the world than IT.

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