Advocacy campaign warns against science budget cuts

07 December 2020
In November, Matter PR spearheaded an advocacy campaign for Photonics21 to warn against proposed European science budget cuts that would seriously compromise economic growth and jobs.

As the European Commission indicated its intention to drastically cut the Horizon Europe photonics funding by 30%, our campaign argued that jobs, economic growth, and lifesaving healthcare would be placed at risk.

The campaign focused on promoting a warning from Nobel laureates Gérard Mourou, Stefan Hell and Theodore Hänsch, who wrote an open letter to the European Commission highlighting how cuts to photonics would be disastrous for Europe’s technological goals and could even damage its competitiveness.

As a call to action among the science and research community, the campaign engaged with key decision-makers, senior leaders and policy influencers and generated coverage in prominent media outlets including Physics WorldScience BusinessEuractiv and New Electronics.

In just one week, we generated 22 pieces of coverage in news and general science media, and an audience of 2.5 million unique monthly visitors, the campaign highlighted the inconsistencies among budgets for a key digital technology PPPs: while the proposed figure for a new Photonics PPP is in the range of €500 million throughout 2014-2020, the allocated budget for the Microelectronics PPP was €2.5 billion during Horizon 2020.

Sam Young, Head of Content and Media at Matter PR said:

“Matter PR’s campaign helped to show that photonics technologies are not only essential to economic growth, and lifesaving healthcare but will also support and advance four over-arching European Union objectives: the digital transformation of European industry; achieving the European Green deal and a sustainable EU future; the establishment of a future sovereign and resilient European digital infrastructure and, strengthening strategic value chains across key sectors. Matter PR has a strong track record of helping our clients create support for a policy or proposal. We devise innovative ideas that engage the public or policymakers in issues or debates that are crucial to them.”

The Nobel Prize winners in Physics and Chemistry said:

“There can be no Europe fit for a Digital Age, no full digital sovereignty and no ultra-secure sovereign quantum computing enabled cybersecurity without photonics technologies.”

The current Photonics PPP was funded to the sum of €700 million over seven years –already one of the smallest budgets for a key digital technology PPP over the period 2014-2020.

The recent European Commission industry strategy “A New Industrial Strategy for Europe” clearly recognized Photonics technologies as a key enabling technology for the digital transformation of European industry stating, “The EU will support the development of key enabling technologies that are strategically important for Europe’s industrial future…including Photonics“.

The European Investment Bank in a separate communication identified Photonics as one of the two key digital deep technologies that will provide the secure, sovereign and resilient digital infrastructure necessary for Europe.

The signatories are:

Professor Gérard Albert Mourou, a Physics Nobel Prize winner for the invention of ‘chirped pulse amplification’ a technique used to create ultrashort-pulse, very high-intensity petawatt laser pulses.

Professor Stefan W. Hell who developed a method in which one light pulse causes fluorescent molecules to glow, while another causes all molecules except those in a very narrow area to become dark.

Professor Theodor W. Hansch, whose work on the ‘optical frequency comb’ technique won him, along with John L. Hall and Roy J. Glauber, a joint Nobel Prize.

From Public Outreach to Stakeholder Engagement, Matter PR specialises in helping organisations translate complex scientific projects into compelling stories which help communicate the importance and potential impact of their work.

Established in 2013, Matter PR is one of the only communications agencies specialising solely in engineering, science and technology.

Contact us today to see how we can help you with your communications activities.