EurActiv - Letters to the Editor

Sir,

Regarding ‘Governments want research funding at heart of innovation plan‘:

European research ministers are right to insist upon research funding to drive the EU’s innovation policy, but there is an additional side-benefit worth mentioning: retention of research academics.

A recent survey of 1,800 EU academics completed at the Vienna University of Economics and Business revealed that the absence of research funding and related facilities was responsible for favourable decisions to move to non-European destinations, mainly US universities.

Since EU universities already perform higher shares of research than their US counterparts, increased research funding will yield multiple beneficial effects.

Prof. Edward Bergman

Vienna University of Economics and Business

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Comments

  1. But the question is. How many new global technological industries has our university systems created. I cannot think of one but Dr. Bergman may like to enlighten us on what they are and what contribution back into the EU they have given in terms of billions of EURO. i.e. what payback in other words in real terms (EUROs) has all this research provided. I would like to know not just in words and inflated possibles, but in hard cash. For if we invest billions into university research there has to be a financial payback. Otherwise we are not running our universities like businesses where they fail or succeed on wise investment. I believe it is called numbers crunching. Only where undisputed figures are provided that our universities have createc something with a payback can we really believe that they are an asset.
    The history of science and technology over the last quarter of a century has shown that EU university research has not provided life-changing inventions or high-tech products that can really be said to be global and adequate to support the people of Europe on a long-term basis. What do we really get back as a surplus is the question also other than take all the time. There are many and I mean many, pet research projects that a sheer drain on the pocket of Europeans. We have to get real and quick if we are to defend ourselves against the onslaught of the increasing might of SE Asia. And that is a fact.

    Dr David Hill
    Executive Director
    World Innovation Foundation Charity
    Bern, Switzerland

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