The research that is prioritised and funded today will have a decisive impact on the future of our societies and our planet. Our societies face immense environmental, social and economic challenges, as exemplified by the ambitious Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2030 agenda.
It is certainly no time for “business as usual”, and radical change is needed for the European Union to address these challenges, such as climate change, food security, antimicrobial resistance, decent jobs for all, rising inequalities, and to mainstream the SDGs into the research agenda of the EU.
We have also entered an era of political instability. With Brexit and the rise of nationalism in Europe, citizens are increasingly questioning the “raison d’être” of the EU, the legitimacy of governments and mainstream politics, and the ability of governance structures to respond to society’s most pressing challenges.
Public research can enable the development of policies relevant to citizens and the planet. As civil society organisations, we urge a reassertion of our core values, such as peace, democracy, participation, equality, social justice, accountability, solidarity and sustainability, at the heart of the European project. The ever-increasing EU research budget represents a good regional opportunity to try and address sustainability and peace.