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.

Fraunhofer, the largest organisation for applied research in Europe, calls for a ring-fenced FP10 budget of €200 billion .

On Monday, the German-based organisation released a position paper presenting recommendations for advancing Europe as a leading hub for research and innovation by boosting Europe’s industrial competitiveness and stressing the pivotal role of R&I in driving the green and digital transformation. 

Fraunhofer’s document proposes five key improvements for FP10, including a new coordinating governance structure that prioritises green and digital transformation; increasing the FP's attractiveness for all R&I actors; enabling transfer from basic research to innovative products; and simplifying the mechanisms for researchers and research support staff to access FP10.

Read the full position paper here.

 

With one month left ahead of the start of Europe’s largest science conference, ESOF organisers have published the agenda for this years' edition in Katowice, Poland. The conference programme is available here.  

This year’s ESOF may be the last edition in this format, as EuroScience – the association behind it – has gone bankrupt after failing to secure funding for the 2026 event. 

This year’s edition will go on as planned in Katowice, Poland, but uncertainty looms over the future after the European Commission, a co-funder of the conference, changed the way it allocates money for the biennial event, prompting other supporters to pull out. 

 

The Baltic country has started preparations for its position paper on FP10, according to Tadas Tumenas, head of LINO, Lithuania’s office for research, development and innovation in Brussels.  

The talks started on Wednesday and focused on the goals and structure of FP10, its budget, the future of the Widening programme, the role of FP10 in bolstering the European Research Area. 

More details here.  

 

In a paper published today, the League of European Research Universities (LERU) has urged the European Commission to make better use of research universities’ expertise and insights when devising its upcoming industrial policy.

The recommendation is part of a policy paper where the group representing 24 research-intensive universities from 12 European countries has outlined 16 key research and innovation policy objectives for the next European Parliament and Commission.

Other than a greater involvement of universities in EU’s industrial policies, LERU’s paper outlines other key points, including developing a future-proof multiannual financial framework to provide solid and stable financial backing and building a real European Research Area (ERA) by eliminating European and national obstacles to the free circulation of knowledge.

The group also stressed the need for EU institutions to develop clear and specific pathways between programmes, to avoid funding gaps, loss of talent and innovation leakage.

“In an increasingly competitive global landscape, our universities stand as beacons of progress, driving innovation, and pushing the boundaries of human understanding” said Linda Doyle, Chair of LERU. “Universities not only address pressing societal challenges but also lay the groundwork for future breakthroughs and discoveries that will benefit generations to come.”

Read the LERU paper here.

 

The European Research Council (ERC) released its annual report highlighting activities and achievements of the organisation in 2023.

During the year the ERC reached the milestone of awarding the 15,000 grant since its formation in 2007. In total, it awarded €2.36 billion of the €16 billion budget it has over the seven years of the Horizon Europe research programme. There were 6,655 applications for funding. 

“I know that the competition for Horizon Europe, and for ERC grants more specifically, is tough. Still, I encourage curious minds to apply so we can benefit from the wide European talent pool,” said research commissioner Iliana Ivanova.

“I invite you to dive into this report and see what amazing discoveries our researchers have made.”

Read the full report here.

 

A consortium of European scientific organizations has launched a survey to gather the views on research and innovation from candidate parties running for the European Parliament in June.

This initiative, led by the Initiative for Science in Europe (ISE) and other prominent groups, aims to inform the electorate about the positions of political parties on crucial research and innovation policies.

The survey consists of ten questions and is available in all European languages, distributed through the EU-Survey system to candidate lists across the EU-27 countries.

Responses will be made public on ISE's website, providing transparency and insight for both the academic community and interested citizens regarding the importance of research and innovation in shaping Europe's future.

Link to the survey and more details on the initiative here.

 

The European Commission announced an increase of the EURIZON Fellowship Programme’s budget to €4.5 million under Horizon Europe to support Ukrainian research amidst challenges posed by Russia's invasion.

The Fellowship Programme aims to restart projects, facilitate cutting-edge research, establish international partnerships, and enhance research dissemination, benefiting 324 Ukrainian scientists across 65 projects.

“Excellent research infrastructures are at the basis of every scientific breakthrough. As the EURIZON Fellowship Programme received an incredible number of applicants, we will not remain silent to the needs of the research and innovation community in Ukraine,” said EU research commissioner Iliana Ivanova.

Read the full announcement here.

 

The European Investment Bank is financing an innovative geothermal heating project in Bavaria, contributing nearly €45 million supported by the European InvestEU-programme and a €91.6 million grant from the EU Innovation Fund.

Implemented by Eavor, the project will offer low-carbon heating to the region by drilling deep wells and laying horizontal laterals to create an extensive underground heating system.

“Once again, we see how valuable the work of the Innovation Fund is through the funding it provides for cutting edge projects that lower emissions,” said commissioner for climate action Wopke Hoekstra. “This project will provide low-carbon heating to thousands of households and businesses. It is an example of the role the geothermal industry will play on the road to net-zero.”

More details here.

 

On Tuesday, the European Commission allocated €720 million to seven renewable hydrogen projects in Europe through the European Hydrogen Bank, EU’s financing instrument to accelerate the establishment of a full hydrogen value chain in Europe.

The aim of the call is to produce renewable hydrogen in Europe, bridging the cost gap between production expenses and current market prices dominated by non-renewable sources. By supporting cleaner fuels, the Bank contributes to decarbonizing European industries like steel, chemicals, maritime transport, and fertilizers.

The selected projects plan to collectively produce 1.58 million tonnes of renewable hydrogen over a decade, averting over 10 million tonnes of CO2 emissions and receiving subsidies ranging from €8 million to €245 million.

“There is a strong project pipeline in Europe and a competitive industry,” said Maroš Šefčovič, Executive Vice-President for European Green Deal, Interinstitutional Relations and Foresight.

“These are encouraging signs for the future of this important net-zero technology.”

More details here.

 

During a summit held in Washington D.C. last Thursday, the U.S. Departments of Justice and Commerce launched the Disruptive Technology Protection Network with Japan and the Republic of Korea (ROK), a partnership aimed at expanding collaboration on technology protection measures.

At the event, the three countries affirmed the importance of combating illicit technology transfer due to its threat to national security, leading to the signing of two Memoranda of Intent for enhanced cooperation.

“Preventing sensitive technologies from being acquired by authoritarian regimes and hostile nation-states is not only a critical endeavor, but a shared one,” said Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Export Enforcement Matthew S. Axelrod.  “Yesterday’s Summit formally launched our work with our partners in South Korea and Japan, as we join together to prevent our countries’ most sensitive items from getting into the world’s most dangerous hands.”

More details here.

 

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