Towards a better Europe:
The European Commission’s president Jean-Claude Juncker addressed his annual State of the European Union speech, #SOTEU2016, last 14th September 2016 in front of the European Parliament.
During the speech, he highlighted the need for investment in European youth, in order to “help to boost jobs and support local and global growth in Europe”. The proposal of free wireless for every European village and city by 2020 and a fair payment for publishers and authors were other highlights of his speech.
The President also addressed questions to the audience, such as: “Will Europe still be able to conclude trade deals and shape economic, social and environmental standards for the world? Will Europe still be a world leader when it comes to the fight for human rights and fundamental values?”
Education and Higher Education Institutions play a critical role in building this sustainable and better Europe. The RRI approach, defined by the European Commission, when applied in teaching and science education, promotes critical thinking, empowers citizens and trains future scientists in sharing responsibility with all actors to contribute to social progress and wellbeing, acting locally while having a global perspective.
EC-Funds and Horizon2020:
Although the European University Association (EUA) criticized President Juncker for “hardly featur[ing]… research, innovation and higher education”, the President also explained that: “We are not taking extra money from the Horizon 2020 budget. In fact, on 14th September, the Commission announced that (…) Horizon 2020 will receive an additional 400m.”
Regarding to the economic funds that enable the integration of RRI through different stakeholders, Horizon2020 is the programme that supports projects like HEIRRI, as well as the Nucleous Project, Foster Open Science and FotRRIs, amongst others. Horizon2020 is the biggest EU Research and Innovation programme, with nearly €80 billion of funding available over 7 years (2014 to 2020).