HORIZON BLOG: European R&D policy newsbytes

27 Jun 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.

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You can read the full archive of this blog here.

 

EuroHPC, the €7 billion EU supercomputing partnership, has announced it will fund five new supercomputers in Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland and Poland.  

The German site at the Jülich Supercomputing Centre will host Europe’s first exascale supercomputer, JUPITER, capable of making of over a billion billion calculations per second. 

Four other supercomputers will have petascale or pre-exascale capabilities to power the development of novel scientific and industrial applications in medicine, engineering, materials and climate science.  

On Monday, EuroHPC launched its first pre-exascale supercomputer in Kaani, Finland, currently third-fastest in the world.  

 

The EU’s new start-up funding has invested the first €15 million of direct equity in a French start-up SiPearl, marking the end of a months-long wait for the funds to start flowing.  

With the help of a €2.5 million grant and a €15 million equity investment from the European Innovation Council’s (EIC) Accelerator programme, the company is aiming to bring to the market a high-performance, low-power European  microprocessor for exascale supercomputing, 

The EIC’s equity investments are a new type of funding under the Horizon Europe research programme. Last year, the fund got caught up in internal fights in the European Commission over how it should be managed, which caused delays to the funding promised to 92 companies in 2021.  

The EIC says the rest of the investments will be delivered once the restructuring of the EIC fund is completed in the coming weeks. “With these new arrangements in place, the time for implementing the grants and investment support for companies selected by the EIC Accelerator will be progressively reduced in order to meet the needs of fast-moving technology start-ups,” according to the press release. 

 

UK-based winners of European Research Council grants are to get three more weeks to decide whether to move to the EU to keep their grant, or stay in the UK with a domestic alternative. 

London and Brussels have still not signed off on UK association to Horizon Europe, the programme under which ERC grants are administered, due to wider Brexit disputes. Unless they do, UK grantees cannot receive the money, so the ERC has told them to either find new host institutions or forgo the award. 

Originally, the deadline for them to make this decision was 8 June. But the ERC has now confirmed this has been shifted back until 29th June. 

The ERC has confirmed that so far, two UK grantees have said they are definitely staying in the UK, and so giving up the award. Another 16 have expressed interest in leaving for the EU or other associated countries. 

 

The European Commission has awarded 18 projects showcasing promising examples of the New European Bauhaus movement, which aims to give a cultural spin to the European Green Deal.  

This is the second edition of the prize that recognizes promising green and inclusive projects around Europe. This year’s winners were awarded across four categories: reconnecting with nature, regaining a sense of belonging, prioritization of places and people most in need, and public vote.  

The New European Bauhaus was started by the European Commission in 2020 in an attempt to put a human face to Europe’s net zero ambitions and spur innovations across the bloc. Five €5 million demonstrator projects for the initiative are funded under the EU’s research programme, Horizon Europe. 

 

The European Institute of Innovation and Technology’s (EIT) governing board, which steers the strategic direction of the EU innovation agency, has seven new members.  

The new members include Mark Boris Andrijanič, Slovenia's first minister for digital transformation; Pia Sandvik, CEO of Research Institutes of Sweden (RISE); and Silvia Lenaerts, vice-rector for valorisation and development at the University of Antwerp.  

Each one of the 12 governing board members serves a four-year term to guide and steer the EIT

Full list of new members can be found here

 

EuroHPC, the EU’s €7 billion supercomputing partnership, today launched LUMI, the third-fastest supercomputer in the world and most energy-efficient in Europe, located in Kajaani, Finland.  

LUMI is EuroHPC’s first pre-exascale supercomputer at an expected peak performance of 550 petaflops. It’s also fully powered by renewable energy, and its waste heat will be used for district heating in Kajaani.  

The supercomputer will be open to users from September 2022, enabling research into new medicines and climate change, among many other topics. 

EuroHPC has already set up supercomputers in Bulgaria, Luxembourg, Slovenia and Czechia. Another three will be set up in Italy, Portugal and Spain.  

 

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.

 

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