HORIZON BLOG: European R&D policy newsbytes

18 Jun 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.

On Women’s Day, the Commission set a new goal to achieve minimal gender balance in R&I by adding 200,000 women to the field of energy transition by 2050.  

According to the EC report released last week, women in the renewable energy sector represent 22 percent of the workforce and are subject to gender pay gaps and discrimination. 

The document suggests significant cultural, societal, and policy changes to promote STEM careers for women and increase their representation in the EU energy sector. 

Read the full report here

 

The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and the French Ministry of Higher Education and Research (MESR) announced a joint call for proposals to fund innovative hydrogen R&D projects. 

The two countries will provide a budget of between 1.5 and 2.5 million euros that will be earmarked for a three-year collaboration between applicants from at least one German and one French research institute. 

Projects must be submitted by May 6, 2024. 

More details are available here

 

The European Commission has announced recommendations for industry-academia co-creation and citizen engagement to maximise the transformation of R&I results into solutions that benefit society. 

The Commission wants to encourage researchers and innovators to build strong partnerships between, and to build up links between research organisations and societal actors. 

“These codes of practice, developed with stakeholders, will be a valuable tool for bridging the gap between the lab and the market and for boosting knowledge valorisation," said Iliana Ivanova, EU commissioner for research and innovation. 

Read the full announcement here

 

Germany’s largest research organisation is putting its weight behind a call by MEPs for a €200 billion budget for FP10, the EU’s next Framework Programme for Research and Innovation. 

In a position paper released last week, Helmholtz says increased investment is crucial to ensure the success of FP10.   

Bigger funds would help the EU solve big challenges such as digital transformation, energy transition, climate change, the depletion of natural resources and the degradation of ecosystems. 

“To meet all these enormous challenges, an increased, very ambitious research budget is key to promoting future innovative and creative solutions – and a sustainable future for Europe,” the paper says. 

In an interview with Science|Business in January, Helmholtz president Otmar Wiestler said FP10 should include EU-wide efforts to take industrial leadership in new technologies. 

 

While 2024 is the election year for around 64 countries and the European Union, for the European Research Council (ERC) it is the chance to evaluate the outcomes of the projects it funded on democracy.

The ERC published a report that explores the outcomes of its €368 million funded projects in voting behavior, digital campaigns, and disinformation, among others.

The report is not putting forward any policy suggestions,  however, it seeks to present decision-makers with scientific evidence for addressing challenges to democratic systems worldwide.

More details are available here.

 

The European Commission has launched preparations for its new Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda (SRIA) on climate and health, after collecting large amounts of input from experts at a conference on the health impact of climate change.

At an event held in Brussels last month, the Commission brought together nearly 500 researchers, decision-makers and funders to discuss critical challenges and priorities in climate change and health research.

Experts raised pressing issues, including the slow translation of research into policies, funding disparities for climate and health research in the Global South, and inequalities in data availability across regions. They called for more qualitative research to represent diverse perspectives and facilitate inclusive climate adaptation and mitigation strategies to safeguard public health.

More details here.

 

Making the EU economy climate-neutral requires a new and improved research and innovation agenda, according to a new report by the European Commission.

The EU is planning to become the first climate neutral continent by 2050, but the lofty goal might not be achievable without increased investments and improved strategies for research and innovation.

"The EU must intensify its efforts and revisit its approach to R&I to ensure it is fit for purpose and well equipped to support the next wave of breakthrough innovations that will be required to achieve climate neutrality in the EU and globally,” the report says.

The full report is available here.  

 

EU-LIFE, an alliance of 15 European life sciences research institutes has set out its vision for Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions under the next EU R&I framework programme, FP10, due to begin in 2028.  

The alliance sets out two versions of how it sees the MSCA programme, one realistic and the other ambitious. In both, it calls for increased investment into the scheme. The ambitious version also calls for a new scheme to better connect the MSCA to the European Research Council and another to help MSCA grant winners commercialise their research.  

The MSCA grants are the EU’s main funding scheme for post-doctoral researchers. EU-LIFE’s set of more than 50 recommendations for the scheme comes in the context of the European Commission’s consultation on the future of the programme.  

Read the full statement here.  

 

EU wind power companies have signed a memorandum of understanding with Azerbaijan's Renewable Energy Agency to tap the potential wind power of the Caspian Sea.  

The agreement was signed during a visit by energy commissioner Kadri Simson to Baku last week.  

“We see now a growing interest from EU renewable companies to work with Azerbaijan and in your country,” she said in a speech last week.  

“The signature of the memorandum of understanding with EU wind companies in the margins of this Ministerial is a very important step”.  

Simson also hailed a 46% increase in gas supplies to Europe between 2021 and 2023. 

 

Brainport Eindhoven has been designated by NATO as an accelerator as part of the Defence Innovation Accelerator for the North Atlantic (DIANA) programme, which helps start-ups to develop dual-use technologies.

It becomes the first Dutch region to be granted the status. Other DIANA accelerator sites are located in cities including Tallinn, Copenhagen, Turin, Seattle and Boston.

The announcement was made during a ceremony celebrating the first anniversary of the Brainport Innovation & Technology for Security ecosystem on Wednesday 28 February.

 

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