Horizon Europe is well underway, but the world of European R&D policy goes well beyond the confines of the €95.5 billion R&D programme. EU climate, digital, agriculture and regional policies all have significant research and innovation components. National governments often come up with new R&D policies, decide to fund new research avenues, and set up international cooperation deals. This blog aims to keep you informed on all of that and more.
If you have any tips, please email them at [email protected].
You can read the full archive of this blog here.
The European Commission has waived Ukraine’s €20 million contribution to Horizon Europe and Euratom for 2021 and 2022, as the association agreement entered into force last week.
Ukrainian researchers and innovators can now fully participate in these programmes on equal terms with colleagues in EU member states. The Commission has also announced it has waived Ukraine’s financial contribution to the programme for 2021 and 2022.
“The EU’s strong commitment to nurturing Ukraine’s research and innovation talent is vital both for building broader collaboration under our association agreement as well as for the post-war reconstruction of Ukraine,” said EU research commissioner Mariya Gabriel.
The waiver complements other forms of financial help announced by the EU since the Russian invasion started. The Commission has rolled out ERA4Ukraine, Horizon4Ukraine and ERC4Ukraine initiatives, as well as MSCA4Ukraine, a dedicated fellowship scheme of €25 million under the Marie Skłodowska Curie Actions (MSCA) for displaced researchers of Ukraine
Ukrainian start-ups and deep tech SMEs will benefit from a targeted €20 million action led by the European Innovation Council (EIC).
Applicants are invited to conduct experiments in the three locations of the Extreme Light Infrastructure (ELI), the world’s most advanced laser-based research infrastructure.
The three locations are in Hungary, Czech Republic and Romania. They provide access to high-power, high-repetition rate laser systems and secondary sources to enable research.
The Romanian facility, ELI Nuclear Physics in Măgurele, is yet to become an official member of the ELI-ERIC consortium due to unresolved diplomatic issues. The three facilities are able to work together under this call thanks to a Horizon 2020 grant.
The National Research Council’s (CSIC) fist-ever ranking lists 5000 Spanish and Spain-based researchers, in a bid to bring awareness to their work.
The scientists are ranked according to their ratings on the Google Scholar search engine.
CSIC employs 633 of the women ranked on the list, followed by the Complutense University of Madrid with 292, and the University of Barcelona with 218. A total of 162 listed researchers are affiliated with institutions abroad.
“This work aims to increase the visibility of the work carried out by the researchers and is part of the policies of equality and diversity of the CSIC. It is a commitment to transparency and an effort to discover the contribution of our researchers,” said Isidro F. Aguillo, editor of this classification at CSIC.
Horizon Europe’s budget for next year should round off to €12.3 billion for Horizon Europe, which will be topped up by an extra €1.8 billion in grants from the EU recovery fund, NextGenerationEU, according to European Commission’s latest proposal.
Under the proposal, around €2.1 billion would be invested in frontier research through the European Research Council, another €1.6 billion would go to start-ups and innovators funded by the European Innovation Council, and big collaborative projects in health, digital and climate clusters would have a budget of around €1 billion each.
In addition, the defence research fund, EDF, would get a budget of €626 million under the proposal. For learning and education mobility under Erasmus+ the Commission proposed a budget of €3.5 billion.
The budget proposal will now land in the hands of the member states and the European Parliament, which will negotiate the final numbers by the end of year.
Researchers are not aware of the Horizon Europe research missions, a new type of programme aiming to mobilise action to tackle pressing societal challenges, such as saving oceans and curing cancer, an event taking stock of the oceans mission heard today.
Responding to a short survey carried out by the European Commission to see how well researchers funded under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) mobility programme and working on ocean and water science know the EU missions and other EU policies in this area, more than 70% of said they had little knowledge of the initiatives.
“It turns out above 70% of those researchers said they were very little or not at all familiar with the mission on missions and water,” said Viviane Hoffmann, the Commission’s director general for education, youth, sport and culture. “On the other hand, almost the same number of researchers said the work is related to one or more of the mission objectives.”
The Commission-led event looked into how MSCA can contribute to the mission aiming to save Europe's waters as well as took stock of what needs to be achieved, the latest policy developments and how research results can feed into policy design.
The research mission aiming to help EU adapt to climate change will involve 118 regions and local authorities, which will sign up to take part in the effort at the mission’s first forum today.
The regions will come up with strategies for climate adaptation with the help of tailor-made guidance, climate data and methodologies for risk assessment, delivered through a mission implementation platform, due to be up and running in early 2023.
The aim is to help 150 regions understand, prepare for and manage climate risks, such as heatwaves, droughts, wildfires, and coastal erosion. More regions and communities are expected to join the mission at a later stage.
The current budget for the mission is €370 million but it is expected to increase after 2023, following an evaluation of the five Horizon Europe missions, ranging from climate adaptation to beating cancer.
“Change will only happen if it happens bottom up,” said European Commission vice presidency Frans Timmermans. The selected regions will be “true trailblazers, showing millions of Europeans that a green, clean, and healthy future is possible for everyone.”
The award will go to 20 cities and municipalities whose policies stand out in their commitment to fostering research and innovation.
Cities in Spain can share experience and collaborate on defining local policies through a specialised forum that currently brings together 83 cities. The network actively promotes public procurement of innovation, support for innovative SME and other policies. The awarded cities are all members of the association.
City innovation has recently entered centre stage in the EU research programme Horizon Europe through a dedicated ‘mission’ aiming to help 112 selected cities around Europe to move towards climate neutrality by 2030. The mission picked up steam last month when the Commission named the 112 that will receive support to achieve their net zero goals.
The companies will receive grants and equity investments worth up to €17.5 million from the European Innovation Council’s Accelerator, the EU’s €7 billion start-up fund.
The companies were selected from over 1000 applicants following the 23 March cut-off date for the call. They cover 18 countries, with 12% coming from countries that tend to underperform in the Horizon Europe research programme, in which the EIC is rooted.
Of the 71 companies, 61 have chosen part of the funding to come in the form of equity investments, a new type of funding introduced in 2018 that has been halted in recent months due to ongoing deliberations over the management of the EIC’s equity fund. The EIC has promised the issue will be resolved soon. “In most cases, the companies will receive the grant financing within the next two to three months, while the finalisation of the equity investment is expected during the autumn,” according to the press release.
The European Parliament is working on a report looking into governance issues plaguing the EIC.
Entrepreneurs, IT and other experts are now able to move to Finland in two weeks or less on a new type of permit, the D visa.
The processing of applications for a residence permit will take no longer than two weeks, following which the applicants can immediately come to Finland.
Earlier this year, the country also introduced easier entry requirements for foreign students.
“The fast track service is an important signal of the Finnish society’s willingness to welcome international experts,” said Elina Immonen, acting director general at the Finnish Immigration Service.
The European Union, plus including the United States, Brazil, Argentina, South Africa and Cabo Verde will next month create an All-Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance, set up to advance maritime scientific collaboration.
This week, ocean scientists are convening in Brasilia to hammer out objectives and activities for the alliance, before ministers officially sign up to a declaration in mid-July in an event held in Washington DC.
“The signing of the declaration will reinvigorate collaboration between existing initiatives and prompt discussion about the best path forward,” according to the alliance.