Category / EU

Welcome to the EU section of the blog! Emily Cieciura (BU’s Research Facilitator – EU and International), Jo Garrad (Funding Development Manager) and Dianne Goodman (Funding Development Co-ordinator) together try to take the pain out of finding and applying for EU funding by horizon scanning many sources and placing the most important information on this page.

We blog as often as possible on everything from calls for proposals and partner searches, to networking event opportunities, all the latest on Horizon 2020 and international funding. We also use the blog to disseminate information on EUADS (BU’s EU academic training initiative), how to write brilliant proposals, how to find partners and other top tips!

Initial draft proposal for Horizon 2020

Draft proposals for Horizon 2020 have been released. These are in no way the finalised documents so please bear that in mind when you’re reviewing this information! The latest proposals suggest that objectives will be focused on three areas:

1. Tackling Societal Challenges: focusing on health, demographic changes and wellbeing; food security and bio-based economy; secure, clean and efficient energy; smart, green and integrated transport; resource efficiency and climate; and inclusive, innovative and secure societies.

2. Creating Industrial Leadership & Competitive Frameworks: focusing on  leadership in enabling and industrial technologies (ICT, nanotechnology, materials and production, biotechnology, and space); innovation in SMEs; and access to risk finance.

3. Raising Excellence in the Science Base:  European Research Council (ERC); Future and Emerging Technologies (FET); Marie Curie; and European research infrastructures.

There are likely to be a range of funding schemes, used across the whole of the programme, including:

  • Research and innovation grants covering all sizes and types of projects)
  • Training and mobility grants
  • Programme co-funding grants
  • Support grants  
  • Prizes
  • Grants to public procurement of innovation
  • Procurements
  • Debt finance and equity investments

When I have further updates on the possible structure of FP7 I will add to the blog.

Partner Search from University of Lincoln for the project ‘ Precarity in Europe’

The University of Lincoln is seeking partners to participate in a project regarding precarity in Europe. The project they are proposing builds on research that they are already conducting on multiple exclusion homelessness in England, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council. They have traced the life histories of 104 homeless people in the city of Stoke-on-Trent, and are now wanting to extend and develop this approach across at least seven European countries.

Precarity together with the relationships people have within the family are key themes in practically all of the life histories that they have explored but, apart from this common factor, they have found an extraordinary diversity of stories and experiences. The University of Lincoln would like to find out if this diversity continues to increase as they move beyond the UK to consider the experience of those living precariously in other countries, and to see if, in spite of this, common themes can be identified that cut across national boundaries.
As part of their work they have begun to explore the transitions people make within the family and the meaning these have for people. They would also like to explore whether and how different kinds of families across various national boundaries cope with changes within the family.

If you’re interested, contact Peter Somerville – 01522 886267/ psomerville@lincoln.ac.uk

Tenders released for mortality monitoring, transport statistics and SME internationalisation

Real-Time Excess Mortality Monitoring in the EU/EEA Region: The aim is to produce a report for European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control exploring all-causes of mortality patterns in EU/EEA countries between September 2011 and January 2012. Deadline 06.09.11

EUROSTAT Statistical Services in the Field of Transport: The tender is divided into three lots, covering regional transport statistics, road freight statistics, and support for the implementation of transport safety statistics respectively. Funding is worth a maximum of €70,000 for lot one, €120,000 for lot two, and €60,000 for lot three. Each project should last for 12 months. Deadline 16.09.11

SME Internationalisation through Clusters: The purpose of this funding is to support the preparation and organisation of five events in 2012–2013, offering matchmaking opportunities for European cluster organisations and their member SMEs with international partners outside Europe. The proposals shall prepare the ground for practical cluster co-operation across borders, and make a more strategic use of transnational cluster co-operation in markets outside Europe, in areas of strategic interest such as renewable energy and clean-tech, creative industries and tourism. Deadline 14.10.11

Horizon 2020: Will it take us from basic research to innovation?

Horizon 2020 signals a range of big changes to the way research is funded in Europe. The biggest change is the increased focus on the full innovation cycle – from research to market uptake.

The EU wants to annihilate USA and Japan in the research innovation stakes and wants to ensure Brazil, Russia, India and China stay behind them.
By removing barriers between the former programmes for Cohesion, Competition, and Innovation and Research the EC hope to improve the innovation pathway by covering all areas.

Naturally we’re all concerned that the balance of funding between research and innovation is appropriate, and wonder what influence and impact the concept of full-cycle funding will have across the new programme. This does of course also raise concerns for the social sciences, where ‘products’ to sell to market aren’t often produced. Rise is a European group of higher-education institutions formed to act as an independent voice for the social sciences, conscious of the need to look beyond the traditional view that innovation is about technology.

All developments on what the future Horizon 2020 will look like will be posted on the blog.

Funding released: social solidarity and also materials research

EC Pilot project on social solidarity for social integration: This call is for proposals which will support the constitution of a network for mutual learning and exchange of best practices on minimum income, including members of national, regional and local administrations, trade unions and associations, including non-governmental organizations. Funding is worth up to €1 million over 24 months and the closing date is 30.09.11

NSF Materials World Network: cooperative activity in materials research between US investigators and their counterparts abroad: This proposal will include joint activities between NSF and funding organizations in Africa, Asia, and Europe. Proposals must have clear relevance to research supported by the NSF division of materials research. The anticipated total funding amount is from $2.5 million to $4m in fiscal year 2012 and the deadline is 10.11.11

SME involvement in Horizon 2020: new report from EC

The EC has published a report of two recent workshops on Innovation in Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) within Horizon 2020. The workshops were held to gather ideas and feedback on how Horizon 2020 could benefit and be accessible to the widest range of SMEs in their efforts to innovate and be competitive. The first workshop looked at which type of support SMEs need from the EU and the second on options for implementing an SME strategy which would facilitate their involvement Horizon 2020.  Key messages from the workshops are below:
  • Overwhelming support exists for SMEs as important players within Horizon 2020
  • All innovative SMEs should be able to benefit from support at EU level
  • Adequate SME involvement should be ensured  through dedicated actions corresponding to SME needs (including all forms of innovation and the entire innovation cycle from idea to market)
  • This innovation capacity of SMEs should be strengthened 
  • Strong support for a bottom-up approach of the SME specific measures exists
  • Support  exists for more demonstration and market replication activities and links to financial instruments which close the gap to the market
  • For SME’s, simple rules and administrative procedures (e.g. open calls) and a short time-to-grant corresponding to the short innovation cycles of smaller companies should be in place
  • It is important to ensure a clear delimitation and definition of EU action based on European added-value
  • Proliferation and overlaps of programmes should be avoided; but cooperation and pooling of resources needs to be continued and reinforced

Funding available for the assessment of EU climate policies and for healthy ageing

Funding is available for an evaluation of the performance of EU climate policy, in particular phase II of the EU’s Emission Trading Scheme in relation to the implementation of the Renewable Electricity Directive. This will include the assessment of: implementation problems; the interaction between the Trading Scheme and the Directive (and interactions with other policies as far as relevant); their effectiveness in terms of reducing greenhouse gas emissions; and their costs. The deadline is 26.09.11

Funding is also available for innovative policies to support healthy, active and dignified ageing and raise the effectiveness and efficiency of spending on social, health and long-term care services and benefits. Proposals should promote the sustainability and quality of health and long-term care provision for the elderly through healthy and active ageing, with a focus on different stages of policy development. The budget for this call is €2 million and grants are expected to fall between €100,000 and €500,000. The deadline is 26.09.11 

Smart, Green & Integrated Transport: Report from Horizon 2020 Stakeholder Workshop

The EU’s proposed Horizon 2020 Framework Programme for Research and Innovation will run from 2014-2020, replacing FP7. Over the coming months, the EC is preparing the proposals for the Programme and as part of this, holding stakeholder workshops on the proposed ‘societal challenges’ of Horizon 2020.  The workshops took place in order to gather input from more than 100 stakeholders on what they would like from the next Transport programme; the first meeting was for stakeholders from all sectors including industry and academia and the second event was for national representatives, in order to get the view of Member States. Delegates were happy with Transport having its own ‘societal challenge’, but recognition is needed that it still contributes to excellence in the science base and to innovation and competitiveness. The next Programme should create effective transfer paths from research to industry, and act as an ‘integrator’, enabling technological development in other fields like ICT, energy and materials. Stakeholders agreed with the proposal of having the transport challenge built around ‘solution paths’: ‘Green transport’; ‘Integrated transport’; and ‘Competitive transport’. Delegates were also happy with the challenge focusing more on ‘research for industry’ and on electric vehicles but also stressed that the next Programme should still keep options open for other technological developments like hydrogen and fuel cells.

Call for Expressions of Interest to join EU Institutional Human Resources Strategy Group

The ‘Institutional Human Resources Strategy Group’ was launched in 2009 to support the take-up of Charter and Code principles by employers and funders of researchers in Europe. The aim of the group is to provide a platform for the exchange of experiences and mutual support in the implementation of the ‘HR Strategy for Researchers incorporating the Charter and Code.’   So far, two cohorts incorporating 95 organisations has participated in the group. The Commission is now drawing up a list of candidates for the third cohort. It will have its first meeting in January 2012. This is expected to be followed by two more meetings in 2013.  
The HR Strategy comprises five steps:  

  • An internal gap analysis by the individual organisation involving key stakeholders and in particular researchers;
  • The development and publication of an institutional HR strategy for researchers and an action plan detailing how the institution will respond to the gaps identified;
  • Acknowledgement of progress by the Commission
  • Self-assessment of progress after at most two years;
  • External analysis after at most four years.  

If you are  interested in joining the group, contact the Commission giving contact details and a short paragraph explaining the motivation for joining the group by September 29th.

Inclusive, Innovative & Secure Societies: Report from Horizon 2020 Stakeholder Workshop

Horizon 2020 will replace FP7 in 2014. Stakeholder workshops on the proposed ‘societal challenges’ have been held, including one on Inclusive, Innovative and Secure Societies. The workshops confirmed that the strand will encompass research currently funded under the Socio-economic Sciences and Humanities (SSH) and Security themes of the FP7 Co-operation programme, as well as the Science in Society and Coherent Policy Development strands of FP7 Capacities and the ICT for society aspects of the ICT theme. 

The overarching conclusion from the two workshops was that although most of these areas could work together together to make a cohesive social sciences theme, the security element was a less comfortable fit (felt by both the security and the social sciences and humanities community). A new challenge entitled ‘Protecting the freedom of Europe and its citizens’ was suggested.

Resource Efficiency & Climate Action and Raw Materials Challenges: Report from Horizon 2020 Stakeholder Workshop

The EU’s proposed Horizon 2020 Framework Programme for Research and Innovation will run from 2014-2020, replacing FP7. The EC is preparing the proposals for the Programme by holding stakeholder workshops. Two workshops with 50 representatives from the scientific community and government representatives were held on the Resource Efficiency and Climate Action Challenge. Key points that emerged from the discussions are:

  • More clarity is needed on how the transition from FP7 to Horizon 2020 will work; it will be important to identify new and emerging needs as the situation will change up to 2020.
  • Innovation which promotes societal change should be supported as it should be driven by technology and regulations as well as stakeholders and policy makers. There should be co-operation with non-EU countries to address common concerns.
  • Cultural heritage; urban environment; natural hazards; earth observation systems; air quality; and land use and landscape were areas all missing from the proposals but which should be included.
  • A balance between covering a comprehensive range of themes and focussing on a reduced number of priorities needs to be implemented. Stakeholder involvement and the indirect/intangible impacts should also be part of the peer review criteria.

Marie Curie Actions: Report from Horizon 2020 Stakeholder Workshop

Horizon 2020 will replace FP7 in 2014. Stakeholder workshops on the proposed ‘societal challenges’ of Horizon 2020 have been held, including one on Marie Curie Actions. The new structure will comprise of four strands:

  • Initial Training of Researchers
  • Career Development of Experienced Researchers
  • Research and Innovation Staff Exchanges
  • Co-funding of Regional, National and International Programmes.

The majority of participants welcomed the streamlining of the programme down to four actions, and supported the proposed extension of co-funding across the three other programmes. They also emphasised the importance of simplification and consistency of rules.

Secure, Clean and Efficient Energy Challenge: Report from Horizon 2020 Stakeholder Workshop

The EU’s proposed Horizon 2020 Framework Programme for Research and Innovation will run from 2014-2020, replacing FP7. Over the coming months, the EC is preparing the proposals for the Programme and as part of this, holding stakeholder workshops on the proposed ‘societal challenges’ of Horizon 2020.  The discussion focused around these questions:

Are there new and emerging  areas in addition to those identified in the EU’s Strategic Energy Technology Plan that should be supported? It was agreed that a systematic approach will be used when analysing the future development of energy technologies, taking into account EU energy and climate policies and ways to enhance Europe’s global competitiveness. The Challenge should cover the whole innovation cycle (basic research, applied research, demonstration and market introduction) and more support is needed for energy storage, renewable heating and cooling, marine energy, geothermal energy and materials. 

How can research, demonstration and innovation targeting energy efficiency be reinforced and how can ICT contribute most effectively? It was agreed that better coverage of the energy efficiency deployment chain, work on risk management and research combining technology, market and social aspects of energy systems were seen as important. ICT is important to support smart grids, energy efficient buildings and neighbourhoods. European research can be made more attractive to industry through measures related to ‘technology push’ and ‘demand pull’. Having a stable environment in Europe, in terms of policy objectives, regulation and support, was seen as important. European Innovation Partnerships (EIPs) could be a possible way forward. The need to optimise the interaction between EU and national programmes was also emphasised, for example through Joint Programming.

 A summary report of the stakeholder workshop on the ‘Secure, Clean and Efficient Energy Challenge’ has been published.

EU Blog Special: next week dedicated to Horizon 2020 future funding directions

Horizon 2020 will be the next major Framework Programme of funding from the EC when FP7 ends in 2013. Horizon 2020 will be shaped around several major themes and the EC have held Stakeholder consultation meetings over the last few months to discuss these further and help shape the direction of funding. Everyday next week I’ll post the salient points of the meetings and links for further info.

  • Monday will feature ‘Secure, Clean and Efficient Energy’
  • Tuesday will feature ‘Marie Curie Actions’
  • Wednesday will feature ‘Resource Efficiency & Climate Action and Raw Materials’
  • Thursday will feature ‘Inclusive, Innovative & Secure Societies’ (which includes Humanities and Social Sciences)
  • Friday will feature ‘Smart, Green & Integrated Transport’

Just a reminder that all of the FP7 Work Programmes for this year which feature Calls for Proposals have been summarised for you to take a look at and can be found on our EU webpages

Hot off the press this week – 4 new EU calls for proposals and tenders!

Calls for Proposals
Information, Training & Assistance Centres in Latin America: Proposals should ensure the visibility of European satellite navigation activities, monitor local satellite navigation initiatives and support the EU satellite navigation industry through support of information, training and assistance centres and activities, in Latin America. Deadline 15.09.11

Youth Support Systems: This call for proposals aims at supporting partnerships with regions, municipalities, civil society actors and bodies active in corporate social responsibility in order to develop over the long-term projects which combine various measures of the ‘Youth in Action’ programme. This mechanism aims at encouraging synergies and cooperation between the European Commission — via the Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency — and the different actors working in the field of youth by pooling resources and practices with a view to maximising the impact of the programme and to reaching out to a higher number of beneficiaries. Deadline 03.11.11

Calls for Tenders
Stimulating Innovation for EU Enterprises through ICT: The objective of this action is to assess the policy context, concept, implementation, results and economic impact of the EU policy initiative eBSN (eBusiness support network for SMEs), focusing in particular on the initiative on ‘Stimulating innovation for European enterprises through smart use of ICT’, encompassing a series of industry-specific demonstration actions to stimulate innovation among European SMEs through smart use of ICTs. Deadline 06.10.11

Guidance for Active Age Management – Supporting Longer Working Lives of Older Workers: The aim of this Europe-wide study is to investigate how lifelong guidance is embedded in the European Union and national policies and strategies on active ageing as well as in employer’s age management strategies supporting older workers’ (55+) lifelong learning and skills development, and within this context to what extent various guidance services available to this target group in real terms address the issue of staying longer in employment (instead of making an early exit from working life). Deadline 26.09.11

New EU research finds video games can be good for you

It appears that blasting aliens to smithereens, rescuing the princess for the 256th time or pretending you’re Lara Croft  may not be so bad after all. New research led by scientists at the University of Essex  in cooperation with colleagues in Germany and the United States, looked at why people find video games fun.

The study investigated the idea that many people enjoy playing videogames because it gives them the chance to ‘try on’ characteristics which they would like to have as their ideal self. ‘A game can be more fun when you get the chance to act and be like your ideal self,’ explains Dr Andy Przybylski, who led the study. ‘The attraction to playing videogames and what makes them fun is that it gives people the chance to think about a role they would ideally like to take and then get a chance to play that role.’

The research found that giving players the chance to adopt a new identity during a game and acting through that new identity – be it a different gender, hero, villain – made them feel better about themselves and less negative. In fact, the enjoyment element of the videogames seemed to be greater when there was the least overlap between someone’s actual self and their ideal self. The study involved hundreds of casual game players in the laboratory and studied nearly a thousand dedicated gamers who played everything from ‘The Sims’ and ‘Call of Duty’ to ‘World of Warcraft’. Players were asked how they felt after playing in relation to the attributes or characteristics of the persona they would ideally like to be.