A committee of AMs has heard that Welsh universities are falling behind English universities when it comes to funding from the EU.
The Enterprise and Business Committee were taking evidence on their inquiry into Horizon 2020 on 14 June 2012.
Horizon 2020 proposals
were first published by the European Commission in November 2011.
Horizon 2020 will run from 2014 to 2020 and hopes to provide 80 billion of funding for research and innovation as a part of the drive to create new growth and jobs in Europe.
Vice Chancellor of Swansea University, Professor Richard B Davies, told the committee Welsh universities were "underperforming" on European funding compared to UK averages.
He told AMs: "Welsh universities are not ideally positioned to rise to the challenge of creating a modern, vibrant, knowledge economy.
"That is what Horizon 2020 is about...and we are not well placed, we are starting in a position we are not comfortable with."
Professor Davies went on to say Welsh universities had suffered "chronic underfunding" for years and that 50 per cent of the underperformance in bidding for EU money was due to having less science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) programmes per head of population than elsewhere in the UK.
Chief Executive of the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (Hefcw), Professor Philip Gummett, provided some figures to the committee about funding disparities within the UK.
Professor Gummett told AMs the amount of funding provided by Hefcw to Welsh universities for research is up to £75m a year, compared to Manchester University alone which receives £80m a year from the English Higher Education Funding Council.
He added: "There's more money going into Manchester University than to the whole of Wales, that is what we are up against it."
The committee also heard evidence from Christina Miller, Deputy Director of the UK Research Office.
Ms Miller provided a briefing to AMs on the potential impact on Wales of Horizon 2020 and was asked why more funding was not granted to humanities projects in Wales.
Liberal Democrat AM Eluned Parrott asked why so much of the wording of the documents referred to "science" and asked how more applications for funding for humanities projects could be encouraged.
Christina Miller told AMs it was one of the areas she felt quite strongly about: "The word science is used a lot of the time in European research policy.
"Something that we always stress within the office is to use the word research more often because it means the whole breadth of opportunities for anything that is covered under the treaty."
Ms Miller went on to say she wanted to encourage more applications from arts and humanities researchers in Wales.