HORIZON BLOG: European R&D policy newsbytes

11 Jul 2024 | 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.

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You can read the full archive of this blog here.

The European Association of Innovation Consultants (EAIC) has published a paper with recommendations for the EU’s upcoming framework programme for research and innovation, FP10. 

“EAIC’s position paper offers a roadmap for enhancing the next EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation. By addressing these key areas, we can ensure that researchers, innovators, and organisations across Europe have the support they need to drive meaningful advancements and tackle major societal challenges,” said Virginie Robin, EAIC Executive Board Member in charge of advocacy. 

The paper is available here.  

 

In a paper released this week, the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), the country’s main research organisation, is backing calls for a budget of €200 billion for the EU’s research and innovation programme.  

According to the paper, FP10 should help guarantee the the political, economic and technological sovereignties, as well as the competitiveness of the EU and its member states. 

The CNRS wishlist for FP10: 

  • Keep excellence as the main criterion for funding 
  • Consider fundamental research as an empowerment of ideas and creativity as well as the vital breeding ground for innovations  
  • European Research Infrastructures (RI’s) should be a top priority 
  • Back projects for which intra-European collaborations clearly provide added value  
  • Collaborative projects, harnessing the EU added value across the whole TRL scale, should transcend the whole FP.  
  • Boost the mobility of doctoral students by enhancing Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA)  
  • Foster international scientific collaborations to make Europe more attractive for scientific talents worldwide.  
  • Boost collaborations with the African Union.  
  • Develop and promote open access in research. Develop new indicators to redefine the societal/economic impact of research  
  • An eco-bonus that would reward projects promoting the reuse of already existing or shared equipment, deterring as much as possible systematic spending for new cutting-edge equipment.  

The paper is available here.  

 

The European Research Council (ERC) announced three of its upcoming grant competitions will be open to researchers based in Switzerland.

The Commission’s decision comes in the context of the ongoing negotiations between the EU and Switzerland, which includes discussions on the country’s association to Horizon Europe.

Switzerland has been excluded from Horizon Europe since 2021 but has continued technical discussions, leading in December to a Common Understanding with the EU as a basis for formal negotiations.

Currently, the ERC has an open call for advanced grants which accepts Swiss applications. Advanced grants may be awarded up to € 2.5 million for a period of 5 years, and the deadline to apply is August 29. However, grant agreements can only be signed with successful applicants if the association agreement with Switzerland applies at that time.

More details are available here.

 

On Friday, the Commission announced it started to scout members for its new Technology Council for Advanced Materials, aimed at coordinating efforts to meet future needs for advanced materials in Europe.

The Technology Council will include representatives from Member States' research and industry ministries, senior figures from academia, research and technology organisations, industry, and the European Commission.

"The Technology Council for Advanced Materials is part of our strategy to work together with the Member States, research organisations and industries to identity and address common needs for European leadership in advanced materials," said research commissioner Iliana Ivanova.

Interested candidates have time until September 9 to apply via this online form.

Read the full announcement here.

 

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has announced on Thursday it will introduce a new open licence giving free access to its data, publications and analyses.

The OECD began granting greater access to its data in 2014 with the launch of its data portal and platform integration, making publications freely available to read online.

“The adoption of an open-access information model is a significant milestone with all OECD data, publications, and analysis becoming freely accessible to everyone, under an open licence,” OECD Secretary-General Mathias Cormann said.

“These developments reaffirm the OECD’s commitment to strengthening our global relevance and impact, by ensuring accessibility of evidence-based data, analysis and best practice policy recommendations to help policy makers deliver better policies and find effective multilateral solutions to the shared global challenges of our time.”

The redesigned website will also allow free access to nearly 30,000 archived items.

Read the full announcement here.

 

CESAER, a body representing more than 50 of Europe’s leading science and technology universities, published a position paper providing recommendations to shape the future of European Universities Alliances.  

Among them, the group urges the Commission to eliminate barriers to participation and engage universities from non-‘Erasmus partner countries’ as full consortium partners. “Adopting such a strategy is crucial for the development of globally relevant Alliances,” CESAER says.

"European University Alliances are crucial for advancing excellence in education, research, and innovation across Europe,” said Roberto Zanino, director of CESAER and senior advisor for international university networks at Politecnico di Torino.

Read the full position here.

 

The Chips Joint Undertaking (Chips JU) has launched calls for proposals worth €325 million to support semiconductor research and innovation in photonics, competence centres, and a cloud-based design platform.

The funding will aid the establishment of a pilot line for photonic integrated circuits, enhancing high-performance computing, communications, and data centres, while also supporting the creation of 'chips competence centres' to provide technical expertise and experimentation for companies, especially SMEs.

Applicants for the photonics pilot line, the competence centres, and the design platform have time until respectively 17 September, 2 October, and 10 October to submit their proposals. Chips JU will hold an information session on July 11 and 12.

More details here.

 

On Wednesday, the European Commission approved a €10.82 billion French State aid measure to support renewable offshore wind energy and foster the transition towards a net-zero economy.

The scheme will help the construction and operation of two bottom-fixed offshore wind farms.

The support will come as monthly variable premium and it will run for 20 years.

“With this €10.82 billion scheme, France can deploy offshore wind capacities faster, in line with the EU Strategy on Offshore Renewable Energy,” said Margrethe Vestager, executive vice-president in charge of competition policy.

“It will also help France reduce its dependence on Russian fossil fuels, while ensuring that any potential competition distortions are kept to the minimum.”

Read the full announcement here.

 

The next EU framework programme for research and innovation, FP10, should improve access to finance and business acceleration services and support European SMEs in accessing global markets.

Eureka, a network for international cooperation in R&D, bringing together 47 national governments to support international collaborative business-led innovation, published a position paper contributing to the design of FP10, which is due to start in 2028.

According to the paper, the EU should continue and strengthen the European Partnership on Innovative SMEs programme, a 7-year co-founded initiative supporting two funding programmes for innovative SMEs, in the next framework programme.

“Eureka should have a clear role and function for international research, development and innovation cooperation in FP10 through the continuation of the European Partnership on Innovative SMEs,” reads the document.

Read the Eureka position paper here.

 

The European Council has adopted the Strategic Agenda for 2024-2029, confirming EU competitiveness and economic security as key priorities for the upcoming mandate.

EU leaders are pledging to reduce dependencies and build capacity in key technologies such as defence, space, artificial intelligence, semiconductors, health, biotech, and net-zero technologies. “Promoting innovation and research, as well as leveraging tools such as public procurement, is crucial in this endeavour,” the document states.

To unlock private funding, there are plans to further implement the Capital Markets Union, and continue efforts from the last mandate to reduce regulatory and bureaucratic burden on businesses, while taking the needs of start-ups and SMEs in to account.

Scaling up the European defence industry is another priority. The strategic agenda references joint procurement, flagship projects by member states, and improved access to public and private finance, which are all subject to ongoing initiatives.

 

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