HORIZON BLOG: European R&D policy newsbytes

11 Apr 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.

RTOs are the missing puzzle piece bridging the gap between basic science and the market, according to a paper released last week by the European Association of Research and Technology Organisations (EARTO).

“Research and Technology Organisations (RTOs) are key players in this process, acting as intermediaries between the scientific community and industry with their diverse expertise, infrastructures, and networks: RTOs play a vital role in transforming raw knowledge into tangible products, services, and processes with/for the industry,” reads the paper.

Read the full paper here.

 

A Call for applicants for a scheme to bring scientists and researchers to Poland is now open. The Ulam NAWA programme, run by the Polish National Agency for Academic Exchange, supports foreign students in carrying out research or completing a postdoctoral internship in Poland for a period of between six to 24 months.

The call for applicants runs until 5 May. This is the sixth edition of the programme that has so far supported 303 scientists from around the world.

The programme offers a monthly scholarship of PLN 7,500 (around €1,600), plus a lump sum of PLN 4,000 (around €930) for accommodation costs, as well as extra for travel costs and childcare and disability support.

Find out more here.

 

The European Commission has updated its funding and tenders portal where researchers and entrepreneurs can find the latest calls for proposals under EU programmes.  

The new design separates the funding and procurement sections, the homepage has been upgraded to make it easier to use. Elsewhere, the search functionality has been improved to make it easier to find calls for proposals, tenders or partners.  

The portal will also offer recommendations for new funding opportunities based on the users’ preferences.  

 

The Commission has revealed an additional funding injection of €19 million from the European Investment Bank (EIB) for advisory services designated for cities awarded with the EU Mission Label. This agreement is set to be enacted in the forthcoming amendment of the Horizon Europe Work Programme 2024. 

The EU Mission Label was awarded today to 23 cities part of the EU Mission for Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities under Horizon Europe.  

Read the full announcement here.

 

The European Commission has unveiled its plan to support biotechnology and biomanufacturing in the EU, and to make the sector more competitive internationally.

It aims to address three key challenges facing the industry: difficulties moving from research to the market; access to finance; and regulatory complexity and long approval times.

The proposal includes plans to launch a study on how biotech legislation could be streamlined, and to establish an EU Biotech Hub by the end of this year to help companies to navigate the regulatory framework.

“With the potential to solve some of our most pressing problems, biotechnology also largely supports Europe’s economy and it provides high-quality jobs,” said Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice-President of the Commission.

 

The European Research Council (ERC) is drafting a report on the impact of the research projects it funded under the EU’s 7th Framework Programme from 2007 to 2013. 

According to an ERC preview of the report, 58% of the funded projects contributed to significant advances, and another 20% achieved crucial scientific breakthroughs. 

“As we examine the findings of these ex-post evaluations, we gain invaluable insights not only into the impact of the ERC’s pioneering years but also into the trajectory of future frontier research,” said Jesper Svejstrup, vice president of the ERC Scientific Council.

Read the preview report here and the full announcement here.

 

The 2023 EIC Fund investments in deep tech enterprises - totalling around €1.2 billion - are leveraging over €3.5 from the private sector for each euro invested, says the Impact Report 2023 released by the European Innovation Council (EIC) today.

“The European Innovation Council (EIC) has emerged as a game-changer in supporting deep tech innovation in Europe. This Impact Report shows how the EIC supports the growth of high potential startups while at the same time building a European community of deep tech investors. This is crucial to ensuring the future of our companies and strengthening EU leadership in critical technologies,” said Iliana Ivanova, Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth.

Read the full announcement here.

 

European leaders have offered Cairo talks on associating to Horizon Europe, as part of a €7.4 billion investment deal seen as a way of inducing Egypt to stem the flow of migrants to the EU.  

According to a statement by Commission president Ursula von der Leyen and several EU leaders on 17 March, “Egypt can now negotiate its accession to other EU programmes such as Creative Europe and Horizon Europe”.  

In 2022, Tunisia associated to Horizon Europe, despite human rights concerns from some MEPs following an effective coup by the country’s president.  

The European Research Council has confirmed that researchers based in Switzerland can now apply to calls as if the country were associated to Horizon Europe, meaning they can take up grants without having to leave Switzerland. 

Bern’s long-running exclusion from Horizon Europe has meant ERC grantees cannot be based in Switzerland – Swiss winners have had to decamp to an EU or associated country. 

But now that wider political talks between Switzerland and the EU have made progress, transition measures mean that Swiss researchers can apply to the ERC as normal.  

An association agreement is still yet to be agreed, and will be necessary before Swiss researchers can actually receive ERC grants. 

EU-LIFE, an alliance of 15 European life sciences research institutes, has set out its vision for the European Innovation Council (EIC) in the next EU R&I framework programme, FP10, after undertaking a similar exercise for the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions.

It calls for strengthening the role of the EIC and for rebalancing funding, so that public funds focus on higher-risk low technology readiness levels (TRLs), while promoting private investments at higher TRLs. It argues the Pathfinder and Transition instruments should solely be supported by public funding with the Accelerator relying on private investment.

It goes on to state that “overly complex parts of Horizon Europe such as Pillar 2, and programmes with questionable impact such as the EIT should be restructured and/or deprioritized to provide more funds to the EIC.”

Read the full statement here.

 

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