Skip to main content Skip to primary navigation

Nobel laureates and business leaders unite to urge for investment in EU research and innovation

ERT press release

Brussels, 3 December 2018 – More than 20 Nobel Prize laureates and other international award winners have joined with over 40 leaders of Europe’s largest companies to urge political leaders across the EU to support an ambitious European research and innovation programme in the forthcoming EU budget cycle.

At the December European Council, the EU Heads of State and Government will have a first substantive discussion on the next Multiannual Financial Framework, which is to run from 2021 to 2027.

In a joint letter to Heads of State and Government ahead of the Summit, some of Europe’s business leaders and most celebrated scientists have called for the EU to prioritise research and innovation investment – through the Horizon Europe programme.

A 2017 report by the High-Level Group set up by the European Commission to look at research funding, and chaired by former EU Commissioner Pascal Lamy, called for a doubling of the EU’s investment in research and innovation, with a minimum of €120 billion required to maintain current levels of momentum.

Without such levels of investment commitment, the letter makes clear, Europe’s place as a global leader in innovation will be put at risk, and the ability of European firms to stay globally competitive will be undermined.

In addition to the Nobel and other award-winning researchers, the letter has also been signed by Members of the European Round Table of Industrialists, a forum of major multinational companies in the industrial and technological sectors.

Nobel laureate Ben Feringa said:
“The innovative research funded by the EU, notably via the European Research Council, is critical - now more than ever - to deliver scientific breakthroughs and technological advances that improve people's quality of life and helps Europe face the ever-increasing global competition. It also ensures that our universities attract the best and brightest from around the world. We are convinced that the next generation of Nobel Prize winners and life-changing advances in research won't come unless leaders across Europe commit to the investment needed over the coming years.”

Carl-Henric Svanberg, Chairman of ERT said:
“European firms are at their best and most competitive when our continent’s higher education and research institutions are at their most innovative. That is why the leaders of Europe’s biggest employers are clear that an ambitious programme of funding must be a priority for the EU budget as it seeks to deliver broad-based growth, innovation and technological progress for the benefit of all European citizens.” 


Note to Editors:
About ERT

The European Round Table of Industrialists (ERT) is a forum bringing together around 55 Chief Executives and Chairmen of major multinational companies of European parentage covering a wide range of industrial and technological sectors.
ERT strives for a strong, open and competitive Europe, with the EU, including its Single Market, as a driver for inclusive growth and sustainable prosperity.
Companies of ERT Members are widely situated across Europe, with combined revenues exceeding €2,250 billion, sustaining around 6.8 million jobs in the region. They invest more than €50 billion annually in R&D, largely in Europe.

For media queries contact:

Sabine Pirone
Tel: +44 207 250 1446 - Email: