Opinion of the Board of the French Academy of Sciences - Paris, July 23, 2021
The European Commission has set up a "Conference on the Future of Europe" which has just been launched in the form of a vast citizen consultation on nine priority themes: https://futureu.europa.eu/?locale=fr
The Board of the French Academy of Sciences welcomes this initiative and does not doubt the importance of the chosen themes, but it is surprised and alarmed that research and innovation do not appear explicitly as one of the major issues for the coming years.
Whether we are talking about climate, energy, food or health issues, research and innovation are essential today (and will be even more so tomorrow) if we hope to meet the challenges facing Europe. Recognition of this need goes hand in hand with the need to share with society as a whole in order to envisage future scientific and technological developments in a confident and enlightened manner.
While it is understandable that research and innovation are implicitly present in most of the identified themes, not recognizing them as a theme in their own right dilutes their visibility and damagingly diminishes their importance. Rather than relying solely on the "Other Ideas" theme attached to the nine priority themes to express its views, the Board of the French Academy of Sciences calls for the creation of a channel specifically dedicated to research and innovation, reaffirming the fundamental importance that the Commission must accord to it.