Wednesday, 10 February 2021

Questions (592)

Neale Richmond

Question:

592. Deputy Neale Richmond asked the Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science the status of his latest engagement with EU research ministers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7005/21]

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Written answers (Question to Further and Higher Education)

I have had several opportunities to engage virtually with European Research Ministers since my appointment. This is a very important time for the European research and innovation agenda as we begin the implementation of the new framework for European research and innovation policy and roll out our new EU investment programme. One of the few positives of the pandemic is that it has demonstrated the importance of working together to find solutions to the very significant global challenges we face.

I am working with my European counterparts to ensure that we have the policy tools in place to realise the full potential of the contribution that research and innovation can make to addressing wider economic, social and environmental challenges over the next decade. At our most recent meeting, we discussed what we need to do to promote attractive research careers across Europe. Researchers are at the heart of a country’s research and innovation performance and we need to ensure that Europe is best placed to develop, attract and retain the best researchers.

I also recently participated in the launch of the new EU investment programme for research and innovation. Horizon Europe, which has a budget of €95.5 billion, will have a critically important role to play in enabling our best researchers and innovators to find solutions to the meet the challenges ahead from climate change to digitalisation to health.

Regrettably to date, engagement with my European counterparts has been virtual. But I look forward to meeting them in person when circumstances allow.