EPSO welcomes in a first reaction the provisional agreement on Horizon Europe. It fully supports further strengthening the successful European Research Council (ERC) programmes as well as the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) which have achieved major successes.

EPSO urges to give more balanced consideration to basic research in relation to the other components (applied research, demonstration and innovation actions) of the research and innovation cycle in the global challenges programme.

Most importantly it calls upon the European Commission to develop in its work towards implementation measures enabling and encouraging actions across clusters of the global challenge programme and as appropriate even across pillars to better address the UN Sustainable Development Goals. One example being the ever-increasing importance of not only Food, but as well Nutritional Security, which will need activities bridging the ‘health’ and the ‘food and natural resources’ cluster.

EPSO offers to collaborate with the European Commission and the Member States on such ideas and their implementation.

Last not least, EPSO urges policy makers to provide critical mass resources for Europe to address societal challenges and to be competitive globally in terms of research and innovation by substantially increasing the budget from Horizon 2020 to Horizon Europe – at minimum following the European Parliament proposal of 120 billion Euro.

See as well EPSO Position on FP9 from 19.9.2017

Alan Schulman, EPSO President

Karin Metzlaff, EPSO Executive Director

See full First Reaction

Forests are vital for our survival. They act to clean filter the air we breath and the water we drink and help provide the food we eat. They are also used for medicine and fuel by more than a billion people worldwide. Green spaces, including forests, are beneificial for the health and wellbeing of humans and other species. Forests are also one of the most cost-effective and efficient sources of natural protection against climate change, partly due to the fact that they act as natural carbon sinks. Halting and reversing tropical deforestation could generate up to 30% of the global climate solution. However, this can not be achieved without significantly greater investment and policy changes. Moreover, forests alone cannot protect us from climate change in the face of continued high levels of green house gas emissions and environmental pollutution. For example, a new study published this month highlights the importance yet limit of young forests as carbon sinks: “The amount of CO2 that can be taken up by forests is a finite amount: ultimately reforestation programmes will only be effective if we simultaneously work to reduce our emissions.” - Dr Pugh.

Plant scientists are working hard across the global to find new innovative ways to tackle climate change, protect the environment and move towards carbon neutral, environmentally sustainable economies, but progressive policy change is urgently needed to accelerate this process. EPSO will continue to push for investment in and legislation for the protection of forests and other forms of climate action.

The EU institutions - the Council of the EU, the European Parliament and the European Commission - have reached a provisional political agreement, subject to formal approval by the European Parliament and Council, on Horizon Europe.  Budgetary aspects are subject to the agreement on the EU’s Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF).
The agreement enables the European Commission to start the preparing Horizon Europe’s implementation.

Horizon Europe will build on the achievements and success of Horizon 2020. It will continue to drive scientific excellence through the European Research Council (ERC) and the Marie Sklodowska-Curie fellowships and exchanges.

It confirms the establishment of the European Innovation Council (EIC) as well as the novel mission driven approach by defining five mission areas (adapting to climate change, cancer, healthy oceans and waters, climate neutral cities, soil health).

Link to EC Press Release, 20.3.2019 http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-19-1676_en.htm

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In response to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) notification No. 2019-023, EPSO nominated on 15.3.2019 two experts to the Ad Hoc Technical Expert Group on Synthetic Biology: Frank Hartung and Thorben Sprink, from the EPSO Agricultural Technologies Working Group. Completion of submission was confirmed by the CBD secretariat on 18.3.2019.

Background: The Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) extended the mandate of the ad hoc technical expert group (AHTEG) on synthetic biology with renewed membership, as established in decision XII/24, and new terms of reference, and also extended the Open-ended Online Forum to support the work of the AHTEG.

Accordingly, the secretariat of the CBD invited Parties, other Governments, indigenous peoples and local communities, and relevant organizations to nominate experts to the AHTEG. Nominees were required to complete the interest disclosure form. (www.cbd.int/doc/forms/conflict-interest-form-en.pdf). The list of 2017-2018 AHTEG members is available at https://bch.cbd.int/synbio/AHTEG/listparticipants.shtml. Thematic area: Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety. Ref.: SCBD/CPU/KG/MA/MW/87944; Notification No. 2019-023.

The AHTEG’s face-to-face meeting is scheduled to take place from 4 to 7 June 2019 in Montreal, Canada. The Executive Secretary, in consultation with the Bureau of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice, will select experts from the nominations submitted.