EU boosts research, IT budgets

The European Union's head office is proposing $7 billion in spending on research and information technology in fiscal 2006 under a new budget submitted this week.

Spending would rise to $5 billion for research and to $2 billion for "information society and media," according to an EU press release. The research budget would rise by 4.7 percent and the IT budget by 3.7 percent, in comparison to fiscal 2005 levels.

EU officials stressed new research investments to bolster the economy. "Europe is at a crossroads," said EU Budget Commissioner Dalia Grybauskaite in the news release. "Either we invest in a knowledge-based economy that puts the European economy back on track, or we take a step back and let our competitors take the lead."

The EU's total budget is set to rise to $146 billion, a 6 percent increase, with most of the funding going for agriculture and rural development, regional policies and social policies. The budget will go before member states and the European Parliament for approval this summer.

Research spending is expected to rise more dramatically in coming years under a proposed Framework Programme, adopted by the European Commission April 6. From 2007 to 2013, the commission proposes to double the research budget to $88 billion.

"As a part of this proposal, the new Information and Communication Techonologies Priority in fiscal 2007 will receive $2.3 billion [euro 1.8 billion] annually, compared to $1.3 billion [euro1 billion] in the current fiscal 2006," the EU said in a press release.

Budgets would rise for technology related to health, food, biotechnology, IT, nanotechnologies, energy, environment, transportation, social sciences and space sciences from 2007 to 2013.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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