#ResearchMatters: Joint Letter to Strengthen Research and Innovation in Europe

In alignment with the recent ALLEA statement on the guiding principles for Framework Programme 10, which advocates for increased investment in Research and Innovation in the upcoming 10th European Union Framework Programme for Research and Innovation, ALLEA is proud to join the #ResearchMatters campaign.

Both ALLEA’s statement and the #ResearchMatters campaign call for a substantial boost in research and innovation funding, urging European leaders to allocate over 3% of GDP to R&I and to double the FP10 budget to 200 billion EUR. These measures are crucial for addressing Europe’s pressing environmental, societal, and technological challenges and for ensuring its competitiveness and future prosperity. We encourage you to read and share the open letter widely within your network.

Open letter (read the PDF here)

A call to strengthen research and innovation in Europe

In a world of major environmental, societal, and geopolitical crises, it is imperative that Europe invests in its future. Investing in our knowledge capital is the foundation for Europe’s competitiveness, wellbeing, and peace.

We need urgent solutions to address the complex challenges facing our societies: Climate change, AI, cybersecurity, environmental and energy crises, threats to democracy and security, pandemics, among others. Developing and enhancing excellent research and innovation with a long-term, multidisciplinary, and cross- sectoral perspective is key to our future.

In recent years, North America and Asia have massively ramped up their investments, leaving Europe behind. To remain competitive and advance the economic, ecological, and societal transitions, European countries and the EU must boost their research and innovation funding.

With the ResearchMatters campaign, leading research, and innovation (R&I) organisations urge Finance Ministers of European countries, and the European Council, Commission and Parliament, to act boldly and:

  • Push funding for research and innovation in Europe through the achievement of over 3% of the GDP within the European Union and all European countries.
  • Double the budget for the EU’s next research & innovation programme (FP10) to reach 200 billion
  • Protect the latter by ringfencing the budget.

Together, these measures are critical to provide Europe with strategies to cope with current and future geopolitical and societal challenges. By increasing investments in knowledge creation, research, and research- driven innovation, we are investing in the very future of Europe and its people. In this campaign, we urge the European institutions and all European countries, national and regional policymakers, the whole research and innovation community, society, and the media, to join our quest.

The time to act is now! Let’s get our act together and build a bright future for Europe. Read about the campaign and stories on the benefits of R&I on: research-matters.eu.


Signing organisations:

International organisations
Academia Europaea
ALLEA (All European Academies)
CESAER (Conference of European Schools for Advanced Engineering Education and Research)
Coimbra Group Universities
EARMA (European Association of Research Managers and Administrators)
ECIU (European Consortium of Innovative Universities)
EERA (European Energy Research Alliance
EOSC Association
EASSH (European Alliance for Social Sciences and Humanities)
EUA (European University Association)
EU-LIFE (Alliance of independent European research institutes in the life science)
EUPRIO (European Association of Communication Professionals in Higher Education)
EuroTech Universities Alliance
LERU (League of European Research Universities)
Science Europe
The Guild of European Research-Intensive Universities
ISE (Initiative for Science in Europe)
UnILiON (Universities Informal Liasion Offices Network)
YERUN (Young European Research Universities Network)
Young Academy of Europe

National organisations

Hanken School of Economics, Sweden
Eindhoven University of Technology
Politecnico di Torino, Italy
Vrije Universiteit Brussels

If you’re interested in signing this initiative, please send an e-mail at info@research-matters.eu.

ALLEA Welcomes Launch of European Research Area Policy Platform

Last week marked a significant step towards a more integrated European Research Area (ERA) with the official launch of the ERA Policy Platform by the European Commission.

This ‘one-stop-shop’ serves as a gateway to comprehensive information on current ERA policies, activities, and achievements. It reflects the joint ambition of EU Member States, the European Commission, associated countries, and Research and Innovation (R&I) stakeholders such as ALLEA for a unified, borderless market for research, innovation, and technology across Europe.

Following this goal enshrined in Article 179 of the Lisbon Treaty, the ERA Policy Platform is an integral part of the new ERA governance framework and the Pact for R&I in Europe. Its multifaceted role includes providing up-to-date information on the implementation of the ERA Policy Agenda, showcasing EU-wide activities contributing to ERA progress, and serving as a repository for key ERA-related documents.

As such, the ERA Policy Platform serves as a central space for communication among various stakeholders interested in advancing ERA objectives. EU Member States, countries associated with Horizon Europe, and R&I stakeholder organisations can actively contribute to the platform, fostering collaboration and supporting the ERA monitoring system by sharing relevant information, data, or documents at both national and EU levels. The platform also serves as a source of information for interested citizens, in line with the goal of fostering inclusivity through a borderless market that benefits individuals across Europe.

ALLEA is pleased to contribute valuable insights from the European academies to the platform through the active involvement of its working group on the ERA in the ERA forum. As an umbrella organisation of academies from across Europe, ALLEA’s involvement reflects the collaborative spirit of the ERA’s ambitious objectives.

For more information on the ERA Policy Platform and to explore its features, please visit the European Research Area Platform website: https://european-research-area.ec.europa.eu/.

ALLEA Outlines Its Vision for the Future of European Research and Innovation

Today, ALLEA published a statement on the guiding principles for the forthcoming 10th European Union Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (FP10), outlining a transformative vision for European Research and Innovation (R&I).

Emphasising the need for a robust FP10, which will run from 2028-2034, and a ring-fenced budget of €200 billion, ALLEA envisions a future where Europe stands at the forefront of global competitiveness and leadership in R&I. The statement advocates for heightened investment, reinforced basic research, Open Science, international collaboration, the nurturing of diverse talent, and streamlined processes to propel European R&I forward. It follows a position submitted to the European Research Area and Innovation Committee (ERAC) in September 2023, presenting key guiding principles and recommendations for the seven-year EU research programme.

“Investing in European Research and Innovation is not only a financial commitment, it is much more an investment in our common future. ALLEA envisions a transformative Framework Programme for R&I, which guarantees ambitious investments in science, open collaboration, and excellence across disciplines and borders. With a commitment to diversity, we also call for a more inclusive European Research Area, delivering knowledge for a better tomorrow.”

– Antonio Loprieno, ALLEA President

What’s next?

The budget for FP10 will be defined by the negotiations on the next Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) due in the summer of 2025, which will be preceded by an interim evaluation of the Horizon Europe Programme. Seeking expert advice for FP10, the European Commission recently established a high-level group, while Member States are working in parallel on their own report in the ERAC.

Building on the guiding principles outlined in this statement, the European academies stand ready to actively support and engage in these activities and further discussions to design a Framework Programme that will have a positive impact on future societies by fostering collaboration, excellence, and inclusivity.

The statement was drafted by the ALLEA Working Group on the European Research Area (ERA), incorporating insights from the ALLEA Permanent Working Group on Science and Ethics (PWGSE) and the ALLEA Open Science Task Force.

Read the statement


Framework Programme 10: ALLEA Advocates for Widening Scientific Cooperation and Freedom of Research

In a recent stakeholder consultation, ALLEA, through its Working Group on the European Research Area, submitted guiding principles to the European Commission for the development of the next EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (currently referred to as ‘Framework Programme 10’), the successor of Horizon Europe, which will begin in 2028. Its stance on Framework Programme 10 (FP10) underscores the importance of global thinking and action, widening participation, and promoting research capacities to address ongoing inequalities – within and beyond the EU.

A central theme in the submitted position is the protection of academic freedom and research integrity, which it views as essential for scientific progress and innovation. ALLEA especially calls for greater support for currently underrepresented researchers (including early- to mid-career researchers and researchers from EU15 countries,) and urges funding schemes to foster creativity and innovation.

The position highlights the significance of existing schemes for widening participation in EU research projects, which encourage collaboration and support less well-resourced institutions. It emphasises the need for excellence to be distributed fairly across the EU and neighbouring nations to advance research continuously and effectively, as well as reduce inequalities in the research ecosystem.

ALLEA further stresses the need for strengthening basic research, as well prioritising long-term institutional funding models over project-based financing, simplification of application and evaluation procedures, and the importance of multi-, inter-, and transdisciplinary research.

In conclusion, ALLEA’s position on FP10 emphasises global collaboration, widening participation, research freedom, and simplification, ultimately advocating for a more inclusive and diverse approach to European research funding.

The stakeholder consultation was conducted under the umbrella of the European Research and Innovation Area Committee (ERAC) Ad-hoc Task Force on “Guidance for the next Framework Programme for R&I”. This task force will write an opinion, which is due to be adopted by ERAC in June 2024, in order to provide the Commission with timely input for the next Framework Programme.

“Questions, Not Answers, Are Better Suited to Start a Reflection on Ethical Issues”

Technology has immense power to shape our world in a variety of spheres, from communication to education, work, health, transportation, climate, politics, and security. New and innovative technologies with such gross potential for wide socio-cultural and economic impact (often referred to as “emerging technologies”) are thus often fraught with ethical questions – which range from concerns about privacy breaches to manipulation, fairness, and the exacerbation of power gaps and exploitation. Because they could affect every aspect of our lives, it is important to acknowledge and address these ethical questions right at the outset – as early in the process of technological design and implementation.

In this relatively nascent field of emerging technologies and ethics, TechEthos (Ethics for Technologies with High Socio-Economic Impact), a Horizon 2020-funded project, published a report on the ethical issues that need to be considered for three technology families: Digital eXtended Reality, including the techniques of visually eXtended Reality (XR) and the techniques of Natural Language Processing (NLP), neurotechnologies, and climate engineering, including Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR) and Solar Radiation Management (SRM).

Dr Laurynas Adomaitis, Tech Ethicist, CEA

In this Digital Salon interview, we speak with the lead author of the report, Dr Laurynas Adomaitis, Tech Ethics Researcher at Commissariat à l’Énergie Atomique et aux Énergies Alternatives (CEA), on the ethical dilemmas inherent to emerging technologies, how researchers can effectively use the tools in the report, and the role for policymakers and funding organisations in promoting the integration of ethics into every stage of technology research.


Question: Are the core ethical dilemmas in emerging technologies fundamentally similar to ethical considerations inherent to all research? How are they different?

Laurynas Adomaitis: Emerging technologies are often based in research, so there definitely is overlap between the core dilemmas we discuss in research ethics. For example, while looking at climate engineering, we discovered that one point of contention was whether research into Solar Radiation Management (reflecting/refracting solar energy back into space) is ethically justified. One of the arguments against it is that researching such techniques presents the world with a “plan B”, which may distract from climate change mitigation efforts.

We also found a lot of issues with consent in XR (extended reality) and neurotech, which cuts across research ethics. For example, there are ethical concerns with so-called “deadbots” – chatbots constructed based on conversational data from deceased individuals. How is consent possible for an application that did not exist when the person was conscious? Likewise, in neurotech we must be aware of changing people’s mental states. For example, sometimes a treatment is required before consent can be given, but then can it be revoked by the patient? Or, if a BCI (brain-computer interface) changes a person’s mental states, can it also change how they feel about consent?


“Each technology family has many issues and at least one beastly challenge to conquer.”


Q: Which of the three technology families did you find particularly fraught with ethical issues? Why?

LA: The three technology families – XR, neurotech, and climate engineering – are at very different stages of development. Many applications in XR are already in production and available to the public; neurotech is starting in medical tests but is mainly based on future promise, whereas climate engineering is only beginning to be explored with huge issues on the horizon.

Each technology family has many issues and at least one beastly challenge to conquer. For climate engineering, it’s irreversibility – can we make irrevocable changes to the planet? For neurotech, it’s autonomy – how can we enhance cognitive abilities, while respecting independent and free thinking? For XR, it’s a set of particular issues, like nudging, manipulation, deep fakes, concerns about fairness, and others. I think it’s a wider array of issues for XR because it is already hitting the reality of implementation, where many practical problems arise. There are even skeptical researchers who think that virtual realities should not exist at all because of the moral corruption they may cause, especially with children. This fundamental issue still lingers spurring the need for empirical studies.


Q: What were some overarching ethical themes common to all three technology families?

LA: There are cross-cutting issues that relate to uncertainty, novelty, power, and justice. But the most important aspect that kept reappearing was the narratives about new technologies that are found in lay reactions to it.

We used a framework to elucidate this in the report that was developed in the DEEPEN (Deepening ethical engagement and participation in emerging Nanotechnologies) project over 10 years ago. It worked very well in the context of our ethical analysis. Many concerns were along the lines of five tropes of lay reactions to novelty: “Be careful what you wish for”, based on the motifs of exact desire and too big a success; “Messing with Nature”, based on the motifs of irreversibility and power; “Opening Pandora’s box”, based on the motifs of irreversibility and control; “Kept in the dark”, based on the motifs of alienation and powerlessness; and “The rich get richer, the poor get poorer”, based on the motifs of injustice and exploitation. Although these reactions are natural, and sometimes justified, we had to keep asking ourselves whether they are the most pressing ones. It’s still astonishing that the same narratives apply across times and technologies.


“There are cross-cutting issues that relate to uncertainty, novelty, power, and justice. But the most important aspect that kept reappearing was the narratives about new technologies that are found in lay reactions to it.”


Source: TechEthos Report on the Analysis of Ethical Issues


Q: How can the research community best implement the tools/findings in this report?

LA: The report is structured in a hierarchical way, starting with some core dilemmas that are the foundation of reasoning, then there are applications and, finally, values and principles. The value sections are the most important for researchers and practitioners. They cover the key considerations, and each value section ends with a set of questions. We wrote these questions with a researcher in mind. What should one consider when trying to explore, design, and implement the technology? What are the checks and balances with respect to the value in question? We intended these questions to be operationalisable so they offer the best value for implementation.


Q: How can policymakers better support the integration of “ethics by design” in emerging technologies?

LA: Technology research should be in step with ethical research on the technologies. The time difference between the development in tech and ethical or policy research creates a divide, where we have to work retroactively, and it’s very inefficient. Imagine if carbon-intensive technology and industry were developed alongside climate preservation from the very beginning. Of course, there have been philosophers and ethicists, like Hans Jonas, as early as the 1970s calling for ecological activism and responsibility for future generations. But they were mavericks and pioneers, working with passion but without support. We should try to open up these perspectives and take them seriously at the policy level when the technologies are emerging.


“Technology research should be in step with ethical research on the technologies. The time difference between the development in tech and ethical or policy research creates a divide, where we have to work retroactively, and it’s very inefficient.”


Q: What role can funding organisations play in centering ethics in emergent tech?

LA: It’s a difficult question to answer since causality is very uncertain in provoking ethical reflection. Ethical reflection is, as we like to call it, opaque. It’s not always transparent when it happens or why. What will actually cause people – researchers and industry alike – to stop and reflect? In our report, we avoided guidelines or directives that would offer “solutions”. Instead, we focused on questions that should be asked. Questions are better suited for starting a reflection on ethical issues. For example, if you’re building a language model, how will it deal with sensitive historical topics? How will it represent ideology? Will it have equal representation for different cultures and languages?

There is no “one way” to address these challenges, but the questions are important and researchers should at least be aware of them. If the standards for dealing with them are not clear yet, I would prefer to see each research project find their own way of tackling them. That will lead to more original approaches and, if a working consensus is found, standardisation. But the central role played by the funding bodies could be to guide the researchers into the relevant questions and start the reflection. We intended our report to provide some instruction on that.


You can read our summary of the TechEthos report by Dr Adomaitis on the analysis of ethical issues in Digital eXtended Reality, neurotechnologies, and climate engineering here, and the full report here. 

TechEthos is led by AIT Austrian Institute of Technology and will be carried out by a team of ten scientific institutions and six science engagement organisations from 13 European countries over a three-year period. ALLEA is a partner in the consortium of this project and will contribute to enhancing existing legal and ethical frameworks, ensuring that TechEthos outputs are in line with and may complement future updates to The European Code of Conduct for Research Integrity.

ALLEA Welcomes Council Conclusions on Research Assessment and Open Science

ALLEA welcomes the adoption of the Conclusions on Research Assessment and Implementation of Open Science by the Council of the European Union on 10 June. See ALLEA’s full response here.

The Conclusions are in agreement with points that ALLEA has made over the years, in particular on the necessity of appropriately implementing and rewarding open science practices and the development of research assessment criteria that follow principles of excellence, research integrity and trustworthy science.

At the same time, ALLEA continues to stress that it matters how we open knowledge, as the push for Open Access publishing has also paved the way for various unethical publishing practices. The inappropriate use of journal- and publication-based metrics in funding, hiring and promotion decisions has been one of the obstacles in the transition to a more open science, and furthermore fails to recognize and reward the diverse set of competencies, activities, and outputs needed for our research ecosystem to flourish.

ALLEA therefore welcomes the principles set out in the Conclusion for designing novel approaches to research assessment, with particular weight on recognizing (1) the critical role for peer review in research assessment and (2) the importance of integrity and ethics in developing criteria focused on quality and impact. 

ALLEA underscores that the described reforms are urgently needed and require concerted efforts from the international academic community, supported by infrastructures for exchanging best practices as well as the necessary financial resources to implement these. 

Read ALLEA’s full response

ALLEA Signs Open Letter Calling for Finalising UK Association to Horizon Europe

An open letter to the European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen signed by 25 European umbrella research and innovation organisations – including ALLEA – urges the European Commission and UK Government to work towards a successful UK association to Horizon Europe, “to safeguard this valuable and mutually beneficial R&I cooperation”.

The signatories call for moving forward the UK association to Horizon Europe “without further delay”:

“The EU knowledge community collectively welcomed the provision in Protocol I of the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement for the UK to associate to Horizon Europe. The subsequent Q&A document from the European Commission provided us with the reassurance that UK entities could apply with EU partners for the first multi-beneficiary calls.

Based on the Protocol and those reassurances, for the past 10 months our universities, businesses and research institutions have been working with UK partners with a shared vision and in good faith that the UK would soon be a full associate member.

But the absence of a clear timeline for finalising UK association is now causing increasing concern. This lingering uncertainty risks endangering current and future plans for collaboration.

We are rapidly approaching a crunch point. With the first Horizon Europe grant agreements approaching and new calls soon to be launched, UK association must be finalised without further delay.”

The joint letter brings together over 1,000 universities and universities of applied sciences, 56 academies of science, 38 research performing and funding organisations, 33 rectors’ conferences, as well as 120 regional organisations.

The signatories underline that the EU research programme Horizon Europe’s success will hinge on its commitment to excellence and global outlook. “The only way to move forward from the Covid-19 pandemic is as a global community working together to drive research and innovation through collaboration.”

Read the letter

ALLEA Participates in Workshop on the Future of ERA Governance

On 2 September, ALLEA participated in a workshop on the future governance of the European Research Area (ERA) organised by the Permanent Representation of Slovenia to the EU in Brussels. The event is part of the programme of the Slovenian Presidency of the Council of the European Union.

The workshop addressed the ongoing policy discussions on the future framework of the ERA, the flagship policy of the European Commission to create a “single, borderless market for research, innovation and technology across the EU”.

ALLEA was represented by its Board member Maarten Prak (Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, KNAW) and member of the Horizon Europe Working Group. The workshop was attended by a variety of stakeholders representing the Research and Innovation community.

The workshop addressed the options of an expanded policy framework of the ERA and the redesign of its multi-level governance, including in particular the reinforced involvement and dialogue of reasearch stakeholders with policymakers.


In 2020, the European Commission published a Communication to set up new priorities and to tackle new challenges for research in Europe. Its ambition is to revitalise the project and transform it to match generational changes and to draw on the lessons from the Covid-19 pandemic crisis.

The foundations for a new ERA are being laid with the Pact for Research and Innovation. On 16 July, the European Commission adopted its proposal for a Council Recommendation on “A Pact for Research and Innovation in Europe” to support the implementation of national European Research Area (ERA) policies.

ALLEA is contributing to these policy developments through its long-standing network of experts on research policy. In August 2020, ALLEA submitted a response to the European Commission’s public consultation on the future of the ERA. Our federation has supported and offered advice on the construction and shaping of the ERA since its beginnings.

ALLEA contributes to European Commission’s consultation on the European Research Area

ALLEA submitted a response to the European Commission’s public consultation on the future of the European Research Area (ERA). This initiative seeks to relaunch and revitalize the ERA and make it better able to address major challenges such as the green and digital transitions, or the COVID-19 crisis.

In its position, ALLEA supports continuous ambition “to broaden the ERA’s outreach and connectivity by promoting open science and research mobility within and beyond its borders, as well as access to research facilities and collections”.

“As innovation is not restricted to technological and economic growth but also concerns social and cultural adaption, it is critical to broaden the remit of the ERA and that Union programmes consider societal values, including fairness/equality, resilience/sustainability, diversity, openness, transparency and trustworthiness,” the contribution states.

The statement points out that “the core of the EU network remains mainly composed of EU-15 participants, with only a restricted number of institutions acting as hubs. Systematic efforts and specific mechanisms are required to encourage researchers across the career cycle and participants from EU-13 and Associated countries to actively shape the EU-wide networks across the ERA.”

The consultation was closed on 3 August and all stakeholder contributions are available here.

Read ALLEA’s contribution.