Authors : Alonso Rodríguez-Navarro, Ricardo Brito
Numerous EU documents praise the excellence of EU research without empirical evidence and against academic studies. We investigated research performance in two fields of high socioeconomic importance, advanced technology and basic medical research, in two sets of European countries, Germany, France, Italy, and Spain (GFIS), and the UK, the Netherlands, and Switzerland (UKNCH). Despite historical and geographical proximity, research performance in GFIS is much lower than in UKNCH, and well below the world average.
Funding from the European Research Council (ERC) greatly improves performance both in GFIS and UKNCH, but ERC-GFIS publications are less cited than ERC-UKNCH publications.
We conclude that research performance in GFIS and in other EU countries is intrinsically low even when it is generously funded. The technological and economic future of the EU depends on improving research, which requires structural changes in research policy within the EU, and in most EU countries.