HORIZON BLOG: European R&D policy newsbytes

22 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.

If you have any tips, please email them at [email protected].

You can read the full archive of this blog here.

The EU and Serbia have signed a memorandum of understanding to form a partnership in sustainable raw materials, battery value chains and electric vehicles.

The aim is to develop local industries, create high-quality jobs and ensure environmental and social standards, while fostering public-private collaboration.

There will be five areas of cooperation:

  • developing raw material, battery, and EV value chains;
  • collaborating on research and innovation;
  • applying environmental, social and governance standards;
  • mobilising financial and investment instruments;
  • developing skills for high quality jobs in the raw materials and battery sectors.

Collaboration in these key sectors, will “unlock immense potential for sustainable growth and innovation,” said Maroš Šefčovič, executive vice president for the European Green Deal. At the same time it will enhance Serbia’s integration with the EU’s single market  “further boosting its economic, social and environmental convergence with the EU,” he said.

More details here.

 

The European Institution of Innovation and Technology (EIT) announced three new investors as shareholders, topping up its successful 140 million private placement.

The three new investors which will join the 35 other existing shareholders representing the industrial, financial, training and digital sectors are:

  • Austrian-based OMV, a chemicals, fuels and energy company;
  • Romanian energy company OMV Petrom;
  • Netherlands-based investment company ACB Participaties B.V.

“The inclusion of these three shareholders is yet another demonstration of trust in InnoEnergy’s ability to fast-track the sustainable energy transition and reach Europe’s reindustrialisation goals,” said Diego Pavia, CEO of EIT InnoEnergy.

More details are available here.

 

The EU has made progress establishing a renewable hydrogen market, but it is unlikely it will be able to meet its 2030 targets for production and import as significant challenges persist, according to a new report by the European Court of Auditors (ECA).

“The EU’s industrial policy on renewable hydrogen needs a reality check,” said Stef Blok, the ECA Member in charge of the audit. “The EU should decide on the strategic way forward towards decarbonisation without impairing the competitive situation of key EU industries or creating new strategic dependencies.”

More details here.

 

The European Commission has updated the organisational chart of the directorate general for research and innovation (DG RTD).

The directorate for international cooperation has been officially dissolved, while corresponding units have been restructured. The two units will work on international cooperation, including association to Horizon Europe, under the direct supervision of deputy director-general Signe Ratso.

One unit will deal with countries in Europe and the Americas, while the other with countries in Asia, Pacific, Adrica and the Middle East.

In addition, the former for internal support services and communication has been rebranded but it retains its original structure.

Earlier this year, RTD had appointed Pauline Rouch to lead the work of its Common Policy Centre directorate.

The new organigramme is available here.

 

The EU’s next framework programme for research and innovation should fund dual use projects, but only at low levels of technology readiness (TRL), according to a position paper by Forwit, the Austrian Council for Science, Technology and Innovation.

According Forwit, the EU should come up with separate funding schemes for advanced defence R&D projects.

“Within FP10, research projects with high TRL should continue to be exclusively funded for civilian applications, while separate instruments should be established or expanded for defence research, which must then also include necessary security regulations,” the paper says.

The full position paper is available here.

 

On Monday, 68 deep-tech start-ups were chosen by the European Innovation Council (EIC) as recipients of the EIC Accelerator programme. The companies will receive €411 million in funding that includes up to €165 million in grants and approximately €245 million in equity investments.

The selection process involved 969 full proposals submitted by applicants and 347 interviews conducted by experienced investors and entrepreneurs.

The 68 winners come from 17 countries, but only five are based in a Widening country, a term typically used for EU member states with low-performing innovation systems.

Also, 21% of the winning companies are led by women, highlighting the EIC's commitment to diversity and inclusion.

More details here.

 

The Italian Agency for the Promotion of European Research (APRE) wants the EU to reflect on the right balance between a top-down and bottom-up approaches to funding research and innovation in FP10.

According to a paper published by APRE, the EU should strike a a better balance between funding projects that stem from political objectives, and funding bottom-up ideas and rewarding the creativity of esearchers and innovators.

APRE’s position paper – the first produced by an Italian organisation – is the result of the work of an Italian Expert Group and of a wide consultation of 162 APRE members, including universities, research organisations, companies, trade associations, regional agencies, broadly representative of the Italian research and innovation community.

The document lists 54 proposals on the future Framework Programme, gathered in two sections: "Vision and Strategy" and "Tools and Implementation."

Read the APRE paper here.

 

The next EU framework programme for research and innovation, FP10, should attract more participants from industry, according to a paper by the private members of the Chips Joint Undertaking: AENEAS, the European Technology Platform on Smart System Integration (EPoSS), and INSIDE

“Given that large companies account for half of total R&D expenditure in the EU, FP10 cannot simply ignore them. Indeed, the fact that under-investment by industry is the main reason why the EU fails to meet its target of spending 3 per cent of GDP on R&D, underlines the need for FP10 to incentivise also large companies to increase their research budgets,” the paper says.

Read the joint position paper 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.  

 

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