EU policy emphasises the important role of universities of applied sciences - they are the link to the regions, SMEs and society and thus stand for an EU that is close to its citizens

The coming months are of crucial importance for the EU's research policy. Strategic planning and design will begin for the EU's largest and most important research funding programme, Horizon Europe. This is an ideal time for the universities of applied sciences to make a clear statement to EU policy-makers and draw attention to important aspects for the future direction of the programme. More than 250 participants gathered in Brussels on 2 April to discuss the role of universities of applied sciences in the EU's future research funding programmes.
The event was attended by high-calibre speakers: Bavaria's Minister of State for Science and the Arts, Bernd Sibler, as well as representatives of the European Commission and the European Parliament discussed the future of applied research in the future research framework programme "Horizon Europe". The conference was organised by the European UAS network UAS4EUROPE in cooperation with the Bavarian Research Alliance (BayFOR). The conference was hosted by the Representation of the Free State of Bavaria to the EU.
The aim of the second major UAS4EUROPE conference in Brussels was to once again inform universities of applied sciences about current and future EU funding opportunities for innovative research projects, to offer them an international networking platform and to encourage new research projects and collaborations. Jean-David Malo, Director in the Directorate-General for Research and Innovation (Open Science and Open Innovation / European Innovation Council), presented the European Innovation Council (EIC) and highlighted funding opportunities for universities of applied sciences through the EIC. UAS representatives also had the opportunity to present their work and specific project ideas themselves. A large part of the conference was dedicated exclusively to networking at European level. "Blind Braindates" provided the opportunity to make as many new contacts as possible and identify common research interests. The presentation of posters and best practice examples of EU research projects complemented the optimal exchange of experiences. The conference also addressed the challenges that universities of applied sciences face when planning and implementing European research and innovation projects and highlighted possible solutions.
The networking conference in the afternoon was followed by a political evening on the topic of "The future of applied sciences in Europe", including with regard to the future research framework programme "Horizon Europe". Representatives of the European Commission from the Directorate-General for Research and Innovation and the Directorate-General for Regional Policy, Members of the European Parliament and members of UAS4EUROPE discussed concrete political steps to create better framework conditions for the participation of universities of applied sciences in future EU funding programmes.
Bavaria's Science Minister Bernd Sibler emphasised the importance of shared values in a united Europe and called on those present to work together on a Europe of the future for generations to come. "With their expertise and know-how, the universities of applied sciences are helping to answer the questions of the future, such as digitalisation and sustainability. They are an important pillar of research and development in Europe when it comes to tackling the major challenges facing society."
The representatives of the European Commission once again made it clear that there will also be very interesting funding opportunities for universities of applied sciences in the upcoming "Horizon Europe" research framework programme. Furthermore, as partners of regional economic players, universities of applied sciences could also benefit from synergy effects when combining various EU funding programmes.

The representatives of the European Parliament added to this statement and declared their willingness to advocate an increase in the budget for "Horizon Europe" to EUR 120 billion in the new legislative period.

Raimund Ribitsch, President of the Austrian University of Applied Sciences Conference (FHK) and member of UAS4EUROPE, is delighted with the positive and motivating words from European political representatives in the direction of universities of applied sciences. "Universities of applied sciences and EU policy are pursuing common overarching goals. The global challenges in the areas of health, social affairs, digitalisation, energy, the environment, etc. are covered by the research profile of universities of applied sciences. The task now is to design well-balanced European research funding programmes that actually reach the regions, society and the economy, especially SMEs and ultimately individual EU citizens. Universities of applied sciences have a key role to play in accomplishing this task. Suitable instruments must therefore be developed now to ensure that more excellent research projects from universities of applied sciences and applied research in general are funded in the future. We are therefore very pleased that the FHK will take over the chairmanship of UAS4EUROPE from June 2019 and that we can continue to promote this issue at European level together with our partners."
Referring to the national framework conditions for universities of applied sciences in Austria, Ribitsch concludes: "In order to be successful in the European funding programmes, universities of applied sciences need sustainable funding at national level to ensure their high quality in teaching and research. We will therefore never tire of emphasising the need for an increase in our national funding rates and sustainable research funding."


UAS4EUROPE is a joint initiative of UASnet, EURASHE, swissuniversities, Hochschule Bayern e.V. and the FHK and is committed to a strong position and increased visibility of universities of applied sciences in the European research landscape. UAS4EUROPE represents 2.2 million students, more than 600 universities of applied sciences and 60,000 researchers.

For more information on the activities of UAS4EUROPE, please visit the website: and on Twitter UAS4EUROPE(@UAS4EUROPE.

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