“Europe, save science!,” yells Gazeta Wyborcza, following the publication of an unprecedented open letterto European leaders signed by 42 Nobel Prize winners and five Fields Medal laureates (a mathematics prize comparable to the Nobel). The signatories urge heads of state and government to protect research and innovation spending in the 2014-2020 EU budget. The European Commission’s official budget proposal for R&D is nearly €80 billion, but there have been fears that the sum could be slashed by as much as €10-15 billion at the upcoming EU summit on 22-23 November. According to the scientists, this would cause irretrievable damage —
Knowledge knows no boundaries. The global market for outstanding talent is highly competitive. Europe can ill afford to lose its best researchers and teachers, and would gain greatly by attracting foreign talent.
The scientists argue that science is the only means of ensuring long-term prosperity in Europe, and warn that funding cuts would put Europe in a position of weakness with regard to competition from North America and Asia. Europe is already spending much less per head on research than the US, Japan or South Korea, laments Professor Tomasz Dietl at the European Research Council.