HORIZON BLOG: Research and innovation in the new seven-year budget

On 2 February, the European Commission announced the official launch of Horizon Europe, the EU’s next R&D programme.

But, before any of the €95.5 billion budget can start flowing, there remain many administrative and legal steps still to complete by April, when the Commission aims to launch the first formal call for grant applications.

This blog will keep you apprised of all the details as they unfold.

Tips are welcome at [email protected].

You can read the full archive of this blog here.

 

The European Commission today launched a free service advising SMEs how to manage and valorise intellectual property (IP) in collaborative research and innovation projects.

The new service, Horizon IP Scan, will provide assessments of each SME’s intangible assets, teach companies how to protect their existing IP when starting a research project with other entities and assist in developing IP management strategies.

Horizon IP Scan is available to SMEs taking part in projects under one of the EU’s research programmes, Horizon 2020 or Horizon Europe, given they apply right before or up to six months after signing the grant agreement.

The launch comes just a few days after the EU start-up fund, the European Innovation Council, announced its 2021 calls for proposals.

 

Europe needs a societal debate on the science, regulation and global governance of genome editing, according to the European Group on Ethics in Science and New Technologies, an independent body of experts advising the European Commission.

The debate should lead to joint learning and monitoring of the latest regulatory, scientific and governance developments in the field of genome editing, the advisers said.

Today, genome editing in the EU is restricted, and the pressure to lift the restrictions is mounting as scientists, policymakers and civil society organisations demand the EU to review its legislation on genetically modified organisms. The advisers’ call is the latest development in the scientific community’s discussion on the ethics and regulation of genome editing.

 

R&D spending in Europe is increasing, largely driven by Germany, but growth remains slower than in China and the USan early analysis by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) shows.

The incomplete analysis of 2020 business and government spending on research and development suggests R&D budgets in the OECD have increased by 6.2% in the last year, continuing the trend of strong growth in research funding since 2017. The sharp increase in investment could be a result of enhanced emergency funding for health-related research in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the OECD noted.

Overall, the United States remains the top investor in research, with China in second place, reaching 80% of US spending, up from 26% in 2005.

 

The EU’s ‎€8 billion public-private partnership for high-performance computing (EuroHPC) should be accessible, transparent and simple, according to a new report revealed by the European Parliament today.

“All the procedures should be clear and simple, designed to encourage participation and to reduce the administrative burden,” said MEP Maria da Graça Carvalho, the Parliament’s rapporteur for the partnership, who drafted the report.

To ensure infrastructures funded by the partnership are open and accessible to all interested users, the Parliament proposes creating a ‘User Forum’, which would involve industry and SMEs, which will utilise the supercomputers, in conversations with the EuroHPC’s governing and advisory bodies.

The partnership between the European Commission and member states, launched in 2018, has already funded the acquisition of eight supercomputers in Europe. This year, once EU policymakers greenlight the plans, EuroHPC’s budget is set to double, with €8 billion allocated for the next seven years. The next step, Carvalho argued, is to ensure that the full potential of its network will be reached.

 

The European Commission today opened applications for the 2021 edition of the EU Prize for Women Innovators which celebrates inspiring female entrepreneurs.

Women male innovators from around the EU that have founded or co-founded a currently active innovative company are invited to apply up to 30 June 2021.

Three winning innovators will be selected and awarded €100,000 in the main category as well as one ‘Rising Innovator’ under 30,  who will receive a €50,000 prize.

 

The European Invesment Fund (EIF) today announced it is backing BSocial Impact Fund, a new venture capital fund for Spanish start-ups tackling major societal challenges, which has already raised €38 million.

Aiming to raise a total of €45 million for impact start-ups, the new fund will be the largest impact venture fund for early-stage social SMEs in Spain, focusing on addressing three challenges: enhancing the quality of life for vulnerable people, fighting climate change and improving access to education.

The fund is also backed by Ship2B Ventures, a Barcelona-based venture capital management firm, and Banco Sabadell, one of Spain‘s biggest banking groups.

 

The Council today adopted its position on the new research programme, Horizon Europe, taking the EU to the final step of launching the €95.5 billion (in current prices) fund for research.

Following today’s decision by the member states, the European Parliament will vote on the final deal in the plenary in April to formally adopt the new programme.

“Today’s adoption of the Council’s position brings us only one step away from the final adoption of the most ambitious EU research and innovation programme so far,” said Manuel Heitor, Portugal’s minister for science, technology and higher education.

After the formal adoption, the Commission is expected to publish the final work programmes setting out how the research money will be spent over the next few years. 

 

A more recent Horizon Europe work programme for the health cluster, dated March, is now available on the Science|Business Horizon Papers page.

The updated work programme lists the calls for health research that will be launched under the EU research programme, Horizon Europe, in the next two years. The updated document now includes almost €7 billion for the Horizon Europe missions, including the cancer mission striving to save 3 million lives by 2030, and €120 million to be allocated to projects without a call for proposals in case of public health emergencies.

The latest draft is still subject to change until the Commission publishes the final version of the document alongside the rest of the Horizon Europe work programmes in April.

 

Germany’s ministry of education and research is looking to €15 million in social sciences and humanities research on the social consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The ministry will fund projects that last up to three years and seek to understand the impact of the pandemic on family relations, employment, education, democracy, and health and health systems. The deadline for project proposals is May 31, 2021.

 

Morocco held “exploratory talks” with EU officials Tuesday about becoming an associated member of the bloc’s Horizon Europe research programme.

The North African country is the latest in a queue of non-EU states inquiring into association membership of the EU’s seven-year research programme, which will get underway in the next few months. Other countries weighing up a deeper research relationship with the EU include Canada and Japan.

The video call was attended by the European Commission’s Signe Ratso, deputy director-general in the research directorate, and chief negotiator for Horizon Europe association. On the Moroccan side was Anass Bennani, director of cooperation and partnership in the government’s Ministry of National Education.

Morocco was not an association partner on the EU’s previous research programme, Horizon 2020, but its science ties with the bloc have grown in recent years, in particular through the Partnership for Research and Innovation in the Mediterranean Area, or PRIMA – a broad research project that covers sustainable water and food systems in the Mediterranean.

 

Subscribe to Live Blog Entries