We call on the EU to seriously invest in knowledge and innovation for a prosperous European future!


The European Union is getting back on its feet after the biggest economic crisis in its history. The EU27 leaders committed to a stronger, prosperous and social European Union in the Rome Declaration of March 2017. Thus, it is time to define Europe’s future ambitions. These ambitions must be based on Europe’s excellent knowledge base and infrastructure. To ensure we exploit all of Europe’s potential, the signatories of this declaration call for a coherent and ambitious European knowledge policy.

To realise Europe’s ambitions, investment in research, innovation and education should be at the heart of the next Multi-annual Financial Framework (MFF), as the knowledge-based economy is at the heart of Europe’s future. In the same fashion, Europe’s excellent knowledge base will be at the heart of mission-driven research while solving our big societal challenges, and Europe’s innovation potential can help us become the most competitive region in the world.

The next MFF should reflect these ambitions and anticipate growth opportunities. Public investments in research and innovation have proven to create economic growth. Therefore, we call for a modern European budget, which is focused on knowledge and growth and in which the budget increase of the previous knowledge programmes is continued. Programmes such as Horizon 2020 and Erasmus+ create high European added value, contribute to growth and jobs and help closing the investment gap left behind by the financial and economic crisis. A coherent European knowledge policy will enhance their impact.

In light of implementing an effective and coherent knowledge policy, we welcome the suggestion by the European Parliament and the Lamy group for a budget of at least € 120 billion for a next framework programme for civil research and innovation. We call on the European Commission and Member States to show similar ambitions. We call on all the European institutions to show equal enthusiasm in the budget for the successor of Erasmus+. We call on Europe to prioritise knowledge and innovation in all European programmes, including the European Structural and Investment Funds and the Common Agricultural Policy, and to be serious about possible synergies and complementarity between different European programmes.

Let’s invest in a hopeful future which was at the heart of the Rome Declaration. Let’s not only turn money into knowledge, but also knowledge into money. Let’s recognise knowledge and innovation as a core priority for inclusive and sustainable prosperity for all Europeans and let’s invest in a coherent European Research and Innovation Policy.


This declaration is supported by

Full names of the supporting organisations: - Netherlands House for Education and Research - European Association of Distance Teaching Universities - Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research - Lifelong Learning Platform - European Regions Research and Innovation Network - Slovenian Business and Research Association - Flemish Interuniversity Council - Netherlands Association of Universities of Applied Sciences - European Energy Research Alliance - Netherlands Federation of University Medical Centres - Romanian Office for Science and Technology - Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research - University of Applied Sciences for Europe - Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences - Young European Research Universities Network - University of Applied Sciences network - Netherlands Organisation for the internationalisation of education - Luxcor - Dutch National Student Union - Association of Universities in the Netherlands - Union of Vocational Students - Research Foundation Flanders - Hochschule Bayern - European Consortium of Innovative Universities - Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development - Flemish Council of Universities of Applied Sciences and Arts - Netherlands Association of Vocational Education Colleges - Conseil des Recteurs - Dutch National Student Association - European Association of Institutions in Higher Education - Association of Latvian Young Scientists - Flemish Institute for Technological Research - The European Network of Freshwater Research Organisations - Interuniversitair Micro-Elektronica Centrum - Vlaams Instituut voor Biotechnologie - Institute of Tropical Medicine Antwerp - European Council of Doctoral Candidates and Junior Researchers - Flemish Institute for Technological Research - Flanders Make - Deltares - Agència de Gestió d'Ajuts Universitaris i de Recerca