HORIZON BLOG: European R&D policy newsbytes

23 Nov 2022 | Live Blog

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 Coimbra Group of universities has signed the agreement on reforming research assessment and will join the Coalition for Advancing Research Assessment (CoARA).

The decision was approved unanimously by Coimbra's executive board on Wednesday.

By signing the agreement, Coimbra will join another 400 signatories, including universities, research centres and funders, as well as national and regional authorities from Europe and beyond.

Coimbra universities will be able to carry out pilot projects and experiments, develop new assessment criteria and methods, and exchange best practices.

 

The European Commission has announced it will soon open calls for proposals under Horizon Europe Cluster 6, dedicated to food, bioeconomy, natural resources, agriculture and environment.

Ahead of the open date, the Commission is planning info sessions with funding experts and researchers on 13 and 14 December.

The event aims to provide applicants with information on the calls that will be available next year under the bioeconomy cluster in Horizon, and suggestions on how to prepare project proposals.

More information is available here

 

The German Research Foundation (DFG) has announced €166 million in funding for 13 new collaborative research centres, aiming to strengthen top-level research at universities.

These centres will focus on semiconductors, microbial networks, and quantum systems.

The funding will be awarded for four years, starting from 1 January 2023. The total financing includes a 22% fee for indirect costs linked to the projects.

In the meantime, the DFG has also agreed to renew funding for a further four years to 13 other collaborative research centres focused on microplastics, software systems and particle physics, among other subjects.
 

The European Commission today unveiled Europe's latest supercomputer, named LEONARDO, which is located at the Bologna Technopole in Italy.

It is the second European pre-exascale supercomputer in operation after LUMI in Finland and is now considered the fourth most powerful supercomputer in the world.

LEONARDO is a joint investment project worth €120 million, half of which comes from the Commission with the rest coming from the CINECA consortium – made up of Italian universities, national institutions and the Italian Ministry of Universities and Research – as well as the  European Joint Undertaking in high performance computing (EuroHPC JU).

The new supercomputer will enable further research into cancer and drug discovery, the functioning of the human brain, clean energy technologies, precise climate modelling, predicting and monitoring natural disasters and pandemics and more.

This latest project is part of a Europe-wide initiative to invest in supercomputers.

A third pre-exscale supercomputer called MareNostrum 5 is currently being set up in Spain while a petascale supercomputer named Deucalion is under installation in Portugal.

More new sites for supercomputers were announced by the EuroHPC JU back in June this year, with one of them set to be Europe’s first exascale supercomputer, which is called JUPITER and will be hosted at the Jülich Supercomputing Centre in Germany.

A second call for European exascale supercomputers is expected in 2023.

French pharmaceutical company MedinCell has agreed a new €40 million loan agreement with the European Investment Bank to help it continue to develop its innovative technology, including its long-acting injectable technology, called BEPO.

BEPO is aimed at offering a new and more efficient therapeutic option to patients with schizophrenia, contraception issues, malaria, severe pain, etc.

The new loan is backed by the European Fund for Strategic Investments and follows a €20 million loan, also backed by the fund, that was granted to MedinCell in 2018.

European Commissioner for the Economy, Paolo Gentiloni, said: “We are determined to improve the quality of life for people in the EU by investing in healthcare innovation. This investment…showcases this and contributes to boosting Europe's position at the cutting edge of healthcare research and development.”

Leading venture capital firm OTB Ventures has launched a new fund, the OTB Fund II, which is expected to raise €150 million to support technology companies in the sectors of AI automation, space, fintech, cybersecurity and climate.

The European Investment Fund, which is part of the European Investment Bank Group with the aim of supporting Europe’s SMEs, has committed €45 million to the new OTB fund.

This agreement is also supported by the InvestEU programme, which uses public money to leverage private investments for innovation projects.

Adam Niewinski, co-founder and managing partner of OTB Ventures, said that the €45 million in funding is a “tremendous recognition” of the firm’s work.

“We believe that deeptech is the new frontier of global competition where Europe can actually play a leading role,” he said.

Alain Godard, European Investment Fund Chief Executive, said that the investment shows Europe’s readiness to strengthen its competitiveness in innovation and boost jobs and growth.

“OTB Ventures has built a strong position in deeptech and InvestEU support will allow for further dynamic development of this sector,” he said.

The European Commission today opened a €4.2 billion call to deliver the 2023 edition of its Erasmus+ education mobility and inclusion programme.  

Next year’s funding includes targeted support for students and teachers fleeing the war in Ukraine, in addition to regular financing for education mobility, inclusion, support for youth and upskilling.  

The seven-year programme has a total budget of €26.2 billion.  

 

The European Commission today launched the Innovation Sounding Board and the Start for Future Summit, two initiatives set to further develop and implement the EU’s new plan for boosting its innovation capacity.   

The two initiatives aim to bring together industry, regulators and universities to come up with recommendations for delivering on the plans, as well as promote collaboration.  

 

The European Research Council (ERC) has awarded €636 million in starting grants. The money will go to younger scientists with a PhD degree and two to seven years of experience who want to launch their own projects and form their teams.

The winners will carry out their projects at universities and research centres scattered across 26 countries in Europe. Of the entire pool of projects, 81 will be rolled out in Germany, 40 in the Netherlands and 39 in France.

The ERC has also announced 70 winning projects that are based in the UK, however the applicants can make use of the grant only if Horizon Europe association talks between London in Brussels are finalised before the grant agreements are signed. Winners also have the option to transfer their project to an eligible country, an EU member state or a country associated in Horizon Europe.

More details about the grants are available here.

 

The European Commission has appointed today Salla Saastamoinen as deputy director-general of its science and knowledge service, the Joint Research Centre (JRC).

The JRC employs scientists to carry out research and provide independent scientific advice and support to EU policymaking.

Salla Saastamoinen has had a 25-year career in the Commission, including 21 years in the directorate-general for justice and consumers, DG JUST. Before joining the Commission in 1996, she was a partner in a business law firm, a researcher in law and author of several books on environmental law and EU law.

 

Subscribe to Live Blog Entries