The EU wants to bring R&D spending up to 3% of national income compared with today’s 1.9% level in a bid to compete head to head with the United States and Japan – which both spend much more on research. But Busquin admits most of the extra money must come from the private sector if it is to meet this target.The EIB loan to CERN will allow the Swiss-based research labs to build a ‘large Hadron collider’ for use by nuclear scientists.Busquin, himself a physicist, said the collider was a scientific tool “with no other worldwide equivalent” that would enable the EU “to remain at the forefront of particle physics”. He said it would have spin-offs that would enable massive quantities of data to be processed over telecoms and computer networks. Speaking at the signing of a €300 million loan deal between the EU’s in-house European Investment Bank and the European physics laboratory CERN, Busquin stressed that closer ties were the only way to help boost research and development (R&D) to target levels. “We need to have these two worlds speaking together,” said the Belgian commissioner. “Besides the traditional grants, I am convinced that loans financing, guarantees and venture capital all have a role to play in stimulating research investments.“They widen and increase the source of R&D funding. They accelerate investment, research, innovation and economic growth,” he added.