Is European R&D underfunded? And if so, can private sector innovators help redress the balance?
Beyond the Horizon
Horizon 2020, a flagship EU funding programme, has poured 79 billion Euros into research and development over the past six years. The programme has spurred progress across a range of industries and helped to keep European companies at the cutting edge of life sciences, engineering and information technology. Now that we’ve reached the year 2020, what comes next? Horizon Europe is a new programme set to pick up the funding baton from 2021 to 2027. The proposed budget for this next six year phase is 94.1 billion Euros. Most of us would agree that’s a lot of money. Is it enough?
A new report from corporate lobby group BusinessEurope suggests that it’s nowhere near enough. The report sets a figure of 120 billion Euros as the minimum investment Europe needs to avoid falling dangerously far behind China. It also calls for European countries to invest three per cent of their gross domestic product in national R&D programmes. China’s forward momentum is undeniable. As well as vast government outlay on innovative new research, the Chinese private sector is spending more on R&D than major European governments. And it’s not only China we need to consider. Japan spends twice as much per person as the EU on research; over 3% of GDP. South Korea goes even further, committing over 4%. Yes, 94.1 billion Euros is a lot of money. But that seven year budget is less than South Korea spends on research and development in one year.
There is of course cause for optimism. Everywhere we look, there are focused professionals driving our key industries forward. To take just one example, Tailored Clinical Research Solutions (TCRS), a UK-based clinical development service, is approaching clinical support from a fresh perspective. Drawing on years of senior level experience in healthcare, TCRS offers beginning to end support for clinical research projects, and also offers expert guidance for individual aspects of the process. Clients can take what they need, confident in the knowledge that their needs will be met by industry experts who’ve honed their skills managing trials in the private sector, in academia and in the NHS.
Conversis Sales Director Debbie Pell welcomes the innovative thinking TCRS brings to the sector, and the value the company adds:
If there’s one thing I’ve learned as a support partner in clinical trials it’s that each situation, each trial and each patient should be treated distinctively. TCRS lives up to its name, tailoring services to each client’s precise requirements, delivering expert guidance on regulatory matters and designing trial protocols that marry legislative compliance with close attention to patient needs.
There’s no doubt that increased R&D funding will deliver better results for British and European business. Whatever investment levels we can expect for the 2020s, we take pride in the excellent work that’s already being done. You can’t put a price on truly innovative thinking.
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