Goals for the upcoming EU election period

Talent, skills and multidisciplinary research bring about new knowledge, technology and innovation. These are necessary for Finland’s and the EU’s global competitiveness and economic growth and for the economic, social and ecological resilience of our societies.

A stronger European knowledge base must therefore be a strategic focus for future EU policy-making and the financial framework for implementing EU policies. Finland must lead the way.
Research and higher education policy goals for the upcoming EU election period

Five messages from the University of Helsinki for the election of the European Parliament and the upcoming parliamentary term to enhance the knowledge base 

1. Double the investments in R&I and education and modernise the multiannual financial framework 

  • Significantly increasing the budget of the EU’s research and innovation framework programme. Investment should be particularly increased in Europe’s scientific excellence and talent as well as research infrastructures. Framework programme funding should remain based on open competition and the highest quality of actions. 
  • Doubling the budget of the Erasmus+ programme to €50 billion and boosting long-term investments in the operations of the European Universities alliances initiative, the internationalisation of higher education institutions and mobility 
  • Adjusting the focus of the financial framework as a whole to support the strengthening of the European knowledge base. 

2. Strengthen the link between European higher education, research and innovation 

  • Strengthening the link between the European Research Area (ERA), the European Education Area (EEA) and the European Innovation Agenda. An emphasis should be placed on quality, impact and a strong link between education and research by increasingly effectively coordinating European strategies and policies for education, research and innovation. By 2030, a genuine European Knowledge Area should be established, based on a world-class knowledge base infrastructure and the free movement of talent. 
  • Supporting research and teaching as a whole. Among other things, there is a need for an EU funding instrument that would support the utilisation of research in the development of education. In the EU’s funding programmes, universities will be identified as key innovation operators, increasing their capacity for innovation. 

3. Streamline and support international cooperation 

  • Continuing to support and encourage international cooperation through all funding programmes in the EU. Even though the current geopolitical context is challenging, restricting international cooperation will, in the worst case, undermine Europe’s RDI assets and, consequently, its competitiveness. Cross-border cooperation in research, innovation and education is also vital in ensuring the strategic autonomy of the EU. 
  • Continuing to base the international cooperation of universities on the foundation of the institutional autonomy and academic freedom of universities, as well as on ethical, reliable and high-quality actions. 
  • Dismantling barriers to international cooperation, especially in terms of cross-border education collaboration, without compromising quality. European Universities alliances can then fully concentrate on creating new opportunities for international cooperation in research and education. 
  • Promoting the development of common standards and practices in the EU to facilitate international cooperation, mobility and the attraction of talent, for example, by laying down minimum standards for the visa and work permit practices of students and recent graduates from outside the EU. 

4. Ensure that EU legislation is favourable to research, innovation and education 

  • Ensuring that new legislation does not needlessly hinder education, research or innovation. An impact assessment for universities should be introduced before changes to EU legislation to assess the impact of legislation on universities and their operations (e.g., in commerce, immigration, the digital transition, the rule of law or strategic autonomy). 
  • Ensuring that the regulation of universities will facilitate, instead of hindering, advanced international cooperation both within and outside European Universities alliances. 
  • Ensuring that obstacles to the free movement of knowledge and skills are removed at the EU level, for example, in the areas of intellectual property and education. 

5. Finland leading the way in Europe: Make Finnish education and research the best in the world 

  • As a member state, highlighting the role of education, research and innovation in increasing Europe’s competitiveness and welfare 
  • Demanding increasing investments to strengthen the knowledge base, emphasising the high quality of research and teaching 
  • Adhering to Finland’s goal of increasing the share of RDI funding to 4% of gross domestic product by 2030 and promoting the commitment of other member states to corresponding goals 
  • Aiming to achieve the EU’s goal of increasing the investment in higher education to 2% of gross domestic product by 2030