Proposed cuts for researchers in the EU budget 2021-2027: MCAA deeply concerned

by Tomislav Stojanov


With the initiative of the MCAA Policy Working Group, the MCAA Board issued the press release on the proposed substantial cuts in the EU budget from 2021 to 2027 for European research and innovation:



The Marie Curie Alumni Association (MCAA), a global network representing over 16,500 members at all career stages and in all areas of research, expresses deep concerns over the cuts (from €94.4 billion to €80.9 billion) to the Research and Innovation budget in the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) proposed by the heads of state and governments in the European Council on 21 July 2020. 


In agreement with the ERC Scientific Council’s statement,the European Parliament’s conclusions, the Initiative for Science in Europe’s statement and petition, the press release of the European Association of Research and Technology Organisations (EARTO), the European University Association’s announcement, and Science Europe’s reaction, this open letter urges the European Parliament not to ratify the proposed budget until significant improvements to the budget of Horizon Europe have been negotiated. 


The European Commission has presented Horizon Europe as “the most ambitious research and innovation programme ever that will keep the EU at the forefront of global research and innovation”. Unfortunately, the proposed Horizon Europe budget does not reflect this commendable ambition.


The Marie Curie Alumni Association is deeply concerned as this budget is insufficient to support researchers and innovators to adequately address the current and forthcoming environmental, public health and societal challenges, to drive recovery and to build resilience in Europe. The consequences of a reduced budget for Horizon Europe will inevitably lead to a restriction of research programmes, including Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions (MSCA), which has made a central contribution to the development of the European Research Area. Thus, we call on the European Parliament to ensure that research programmes are supported adequately to face the current crisis and strengthen Europe's future.


We want to draw your attention and to request your further support in fostering the next generation of researchers and innovators, as a cornerstone of meeting the immense challenges ahead. The Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions are the only programme in Horizon Europe specifically focused on the training and career development of researchers at all career stages. MSCA is a programme that delivers excellent research and develops highly-skilled researchers, who through their experience of international, intersectoral and interdisciplinary research mobility pursue successful careers and create impact in academia, innovation, industry, and society. The MSCA are extremely attractive to researchers and research institutions, as shown by increasing demand and decreasing success rates in MSCA calls. Many research projects that achieve the quality needed to receive the Seal of Excellence, have not been funded in previous years, indicating considerable underfunding of MSCA in Horizon 2020 and a missed opportunity to support many excellent researchers - researchers whom Europe desperately needs to achieve its research and innovation ambitions. 


Signed by the MCAA Board on September 3rd 2020.

This statement was prepared with input from the MCAA Policy Working Group and is released under a CC BY license. Contact:



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Photo copyright under the licence CC-BY-4.0. Source: European Union 2019.