Major European Intergovernmental Research Organisations Urge EU to Sustain Investment in Science

Open Letter sent by Directors General of EIROforum to President of the European Commission

22 November 2012

The Directors General of eight of Europe’s largest intergovernmental scientific research organisations — the EIROforum, of which ESO is a member — have urged the institutions and Member States of the European Union to continue to support science strongly in their budgets, in an open letter sent to José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, among others.

The letter reads:

Sustaining science funding in Europe: an open letter from the Directors General of Europe's eight largest research infrastructures

Open Letter, 20 November 2012

Professor Rolf Heuer (CERN), Professor Francesco Romanelli (EFDA-JET), Professor Iain Mattaj  (EMBL), Professor Alvaro Gimenez Caňete (ESA),  Professor Tim de Zeeuw (ESO), Professor Francesco Sette (ESRF), Professor Massimo Alterelli (EU.XFEL), and Professor Andrew Harrison (ILL)

We, the Directors-General and senior representatives of Europe’s eight world-leading European intergovernmental research organisations (EIROs), urge the institutions and member states of the EU to ensure that the budget for science remains strong. At a time when a return to growth is the most pressing policy priority across Europe, it is absolutely vital that investment in our scientific resources (both human and technical) is sustained.

Research and innovation – the creation and exploitation of new scientific knowledge – must be at the heart of Europe’s strategy to build a strong and sustainable economy that benefits all citizens. The world research infrastructures that we lead support frontier research across diverse fields – from the origins of the universe to life beyond the Milky Way; from understanding the molecules that govern human biology to developing the materials that will provide tomorrow’s technologies for cleaner energy and faster computers.

At last week’s General Assembly of EIROforum, the partnership of the EIROs, we discussed the future of funding for science in Europe and the impact it will have on European innovation, productivity and competitiveness. The EIROforum Council noted the pressure on the EU budget but also the focus of the European Commission and the Member States on measures to promote economic growth.

In this context, it is important to recognise the clear evidence of the positive effects on long-term growth that arise from public investment in scientific education, training, research and development. Science also underpins the creation of the technically skilled workforce that is essential for the future sustainability of Europe’s economic health and social wellbeing.

We call on the heads of state or government of the Member States and the Presidents of the European Council and the European Commission to reconfirm their collective support for science so that it can continue to make a significant contribution to Europe’s economic recovery and beyond.


More Information

The eight EIROforum members are: CERN, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research; EFDA JET, the European Fusion Development Agreement; EMBL, the European Molecular Biology Laboratory; ESA, the European Space Agency; ESO, the European Southern Observatory; ESRF, the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility; European XFEL, the European XFEL Free-Electron Laser Facility; and ILL, the Institut Laue-Langevin.

The eight EIROforum organisations have extensive expertise in the areas of basic research and the management of large, international infrastructures, facilities and research programmes. It is the mission of EIROforum to combine the resources, facilities and expertise of its member organisations to support European science in reaching its full potential. EIROforum simplifies and facilitates interactions with the European Commission and other organs of the European Union, national governments, industry, science teachers, students and journalists

By combining international facilities and human resources, EIROforum exceeds the research potential of the individual organisations, achieving world-class scientific and technological excellence in interdisciplinary fields. EIROforum works closely with industry to foster innovation and to stimulate the transfer of technology. By cooperating on large-scale outreach activities, EIROforum communicates the importance and fascination of science to a wide audience. By promoting inspiring science teaching, EIROforum motivates and encourages young people to explore scientific subjects, and shows them that science is a rewarding career.

EIROforum operates on a rotational Presidency starting on 1 July each year. In the period July 2012–June 2013 the EIROforum Chair is Prof. Andrew Harrison, Director General of ILL.



Rowena L Sirey
Head of External Relations
ESO, Garching, Germany
Tel:  +49 89 3200 6843

About the Announcement



EIROforum General Assembly 2012
EIROforum General Assembly 2012