G7 plans joint research funding

The G7 countries have agreed to explore ways of cooperating to fund research and innovation activities.

Representatives of the science ministries of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the United States, together with the research commissioner Carlos Moedas, met in Turin, Italy, on 27 and 28 September to discuss cooperation on research and innovation challenges.

The group proposed setting up a G7 working group on financing science for inclusive growth, according to a communiqué published after the meeting. In its first year, this group would review EU and G7 national research and innovation policies “with the objective of looking for potential synergies in financing mechanisms for research”, the communiqué said.

In the following year, the working group would “analyse a set of financial instruments and mechanisms that could be explored on a transnational cooperation basis”. The group would explore funding mechanisms to support “disruptive” innovation and the potential of science-based social innovation and entrepreneurship.

“The overarching ambition is to explore effective financial instruments and knowledge-transfer policies common to the G7, by means of which we can celebrate the crucial value of science and research for the prosperity of society,” the communiqué said. This would combine public and private resources.

Representatives also agreed to encourage philanthropic organisations to dedicate “an ever-increasing portion” of their funding to basic science. This would be an effective way of complementing public investment and involving the public, private institutions and corporations in large-scale basic research projects addressing societal challenges, the communiqué said.

The participants agreed that international cooperation could speed up the transition towards open science—in which the public is involved in planning and conducting research, and research outputs are made openly available. All researchers should be able to openly share and analyse data “at the global scale” using developments in ICT, they said.

“Research has never been as important and relevant as it is now,” the communiqué said. “We are at a unique moment in time where many different technologies—from artificial intelligence, nanotechnologies, new materials and genetics to life sciences and various branches of ICT, including big data and data science—are converging in a way that will transform production and society as a whole.”

Story published on Research Europe, October 4 2017

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