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!

Proposals set for a Supersized Erasmus Programme

The EC has proposed **Supersized** version of the Erasmus Prorgramme with a whopping 70% increase in funding and more wide ranging for education funding 2014-2020 called ‘Erasmus for All’ (totaling €19-billion).

Erasmus for All would merge the 7 existing programmes, such as the Lifelong Learning or Youth in Action programmes, under one single banner to increase efficiency, make it easier to apply for funding, reduce fragmentaton and duplication.

Erasmus for All aims to enable education systems to ‘deliver the knowledge and skills needed in an increasingly globalised labour market’, according to the EC. Several programme names, such as Leonardo or Comenius, will disappear and be branded as Erasmus actions. “In setting up an integrated single programme, it makes sense to avoid multiple names and to capitalise on the popularity and awareness of the Erasmus brand” the EC said.

The programme would include three “key actions”: learning mobility (66% of the budget), including funding for student and staff mobility; cooperation for innovation (26%), to increase links between education and business, as well as between Europe and other regions; and policy reform (5%), including the modernisation of higher education and Bologna reform. The remaining 3 % of the programme’s budget would fund operating costs in national agencies.

The proposal will now be discussed by the European Parliament and Member States through the Council of the EU. It is expected that there might be some modifications to the proposal during the co-decision process, which is expected to be completed by the end of 2013 to allow the new programme to start on 1 January 2014.

Applying to the EC for funding? Simples!

One of the major criticisms of EC funding is the complication of funding, rules and paperwork. Horizon 2020 seems a huge merger of activities which have been funded in FP7 under several different programmes, and generic rules are being developed in order to create substantial simplification for participants.

Horizon 2020 will address the call from participants around Europe for a pragmatic shift towards administrative and financial simplification and states that the management of European research funding should be more trust-based and risk-tolerant towards participants.

Simple  funding rules should reduce the administrative costs for participation and will contribute to a reduction of financial errors so good news all round!

Phew – Marie Curie here to stay til 2020!

I am delighted to announce that Marie Curie Actions (which normally sit in the People Programme of FP7) looks like it is here to stay!

The goal of Marie Curie in Horizon 2020 is to ensure optimum development and dynamic use of Europe’s  intellectual capital in order to generate new skills and innovation and, thus, to realise its  full potential across all sectors and regions. The EC sees well-trained, dynamic and creative researchers as the vital raw material for the best science and the most productive research-based innovation.

THE EC feels that Europe hosts a large and diversified pool of skilled academics and l this needs to be constantly replenished, improved and adapted to the rapidly evolving needs of the labour market; particularly as a disproportionate number of researchers will hit retirement over the next few years and the research intensity of the EU economy is increasing.  

The goal is, by leveraging additional funds, to increase the numerical and structural impact of this scheme and to foster excellence at national level in researchers training, mobility and career development. Additional goals are to monitor progress, identify gaps and to increase their impact. Indicators shall be developed and data related to researchers‘ mobility, skills and careers analysed, seeking synergies and close coordination with the policy support actions on researchers, their employers and funders carried out under the ” Inclusive, innovative and secure societies” challenge.

The EC will target early career researchers – either doctoral or postdoc – and call for EU to develop state-of-the-art, innovative training schemes, consistent with the highly competitive and increasingly inter-disciplinary requirements of research and innovation. Strong involvement of businesses, including SMEs and other socio-economic actors, will be needed to equip researchers with the innovation skills demanded by the jobs of tomorrow. It will also be important to enhance the mobility of these researchers, as it currently remains at too modest a level: in 2008, only 7 % of European doctoral candidates were trained in another Member State, whereas the target is 20 % by 2030. Mid-career mobility will also be targeted not only between countries, but also between the public and private sectors as this creates a strong stimulus for learning and developing new skills and is a key factor in cooperation between academics, research centres and industry across countries.

Former Marie Curie schemes have fostered some excellent results and this will continue with future Marie Curie Actions which will encourage new, creative and innovative types of training such as industrial doctorates, involving education, research and innovation players who will have to compete globally for a reputation of excellence. By providing Union funding for the best research and training programmes following the Principles for Innovative Doctoral Training in Europe, they will also promote wider dissemination and take-up, moving towards more structured doctoral training. Marie Curie grants will also be extended to the temporary mobility of experienced researchers and engineers from public institutions to the private sector or vice versa, thereby encouraging and supporting universities, research centres and businesses to cooperate with one another on a European and international scale.

Funding will most likely be around the following 4 areas:

  1. Fostering new skills by means of excellent initial training of researchers: The goal is to train a new generation of creative and innovative researchers, able to convert knowledge and ideas into products and services for economic and social benefit in the Union. Key activities shall be to provide excellent and innovative training to early-stage researchers at post-graduate level via interdisciplinary projects or doctoral programmes involving universities, research institutions, businesses, SMEs and other socio-economic groups from different countries. This will improve career prospects for young post-graduate researchers in both the public and private sectors.
  2. Nurturing excellence by means of cross-border and cross-sector mobility: The goal is to enhance the creative and innovative potential of experienced researchers at all career levels by creating opportunities for cross-border and cross-sector mobility. Key activities shall be to encourage experienced researchers to broaden or deepen their skills by means of mobility by opening attractive career opportunities in universities, research institutions, businesses, SMEs and other socio-economic groups all over Europe and beyond. Opportunities to restart a research career after a break shall also be supported.
  3. Stimulating innovation by means of cross-fertilisation of knowledge:  Key activities shall be to support short-term exchanges of research and innovation staff among a partnership of universities, research institutions, businesses, SMEs and other socio-economic groups, both within Europe and worldwide. This will include fostering cooperation with third countries.
  4. Increasing the structural impact by co-funding the activities:  Key activities shall be, with the aid of a co-funding mechanism, to encourage regional, national and international organisations to create new programmes and to open existing ones to international and intersectoral training, mobility and career development. This will increase the quality of research training in Europe at all career stages, including at doctoral level, will foster free circulation of researchers and scientific knowledge in Europe, will promote attractive research careers by offering open recruitment and attractive working conditions and will support research and innovation cooperation between universities, research institutions and enterprises and cooperation with third countries and international organisations.

Tackling Europe’s Societal Challenges

Yesterday’s blog post highlighted that a draft document we have obtained from the European Commission on Horizon 2020 has indicated that a major area of focus for research funding will be on Societal Challenges. This theme will incorporate EU policy and will focus on bringing together a critical mass of resources and knowledge across different fields, technologies and scientific disciplines. Societal Challenges will be addressed through activities which cover the full cycle from research to market, with a focus on innovation-related activities, such as piloting, demonstration, test-beds, support for public procurement, social innovation and market take-up of innovations.



 Six thematic areas are included:

  1. Health, demographic change and well-being;
  2. Food security, sustainable agriculture and the bio-economy;
  3. Secure, clean and efficient energy;
  4. Smart, green and integrated transport;
  5. Climate action, resource efficiency and raw materials;
  6. Inclusive, innovative and secure societies

I have summarised information contained in the draft Horizon 2020 document for you on each of these areas. Information includes the focus of the thematic area, the rationale behind it and likely areas and activities to be funded. This is a draft document so nothing is set in stone as yet, but it is definitely worth preparing for this now so you and your partners are ready for calls being released in 2013/14.

 This information is highly confidential and not to be circulated outside of BU and can therefore be found on the I Drive:  I:\CRKT\Public\Horizon 2020

So 3 really is the magic number for the EC: The objectives of Horizon 2020

As highlighted in yesterday’s blogpost, funding for Horizon 2020 will now be structured around three priority areas. Below outlines in more detail the areas included in this:

I. Societal Challenges

This will be in response to EU policy and will focus on 6 areas:


  1. Health, demographic change and well-being;
  2. Food security, sustainable agriculture and the bio-economy;
  3. Secure, clean and efficient energy;
  4. Smart, green and integrated transport;
  5. Climate action, resource efficiency and raw materials;
  6. Inclusive, innovative and secure societies.

 The emphasis will be on bringing together a critical mass of resources and knowledge across different fields, technologies and scientific disciplines in order to address challenges and activities will cover the full cycle from research to market, with a focus on innovation-related activities, such as piloting, demonstration, test-beds, support for public procurement, social innovation and market take-up of innovations. Finally, social sciences and humanities shall be an integral part of the activities to address all the challenges.



II. Excellent Science

This will reinforce and extend the excellence of the EUs science base in order to make the EU research and innovation system more competitive on a global scale. This will be funded under 4 programmes:


  • Marie Curie actions will provide excellent and innovative research training plus attractive career and knowledge-exchange opportunities through cross-border and cross-sector mobility of researchers to best prepare them to face current and future societal challenges.
  • European Research Council (ERC) will provide attractive and flexible funding to enable talented and creative individual researchers and their teams to pursue the most promising avenues at the frontier of science;
  • Future and Emerging Technologies will support collaborative research in order to extend Europe‘s capacity for advanced and paradigm-changing innovation. They foster scientific collaboration across disciplines on radically new, high-risk ideas and accelerate development of the most promising emerging areas of science and technology as well as the EU-wide structuring of the corresponding scientific communities.
  • Research Infrastructures will develop European research infrastructure for 2020 and beyond, foster their innovation potential and human capital, and add the related European Union policy and international cooperation.

These activities are focused on building skills in the long term and on the next generation of science, technology, researchers and innovations and providing support for emerging talent from across the whole of the European Union and associated countries, as well as worldwide.


III. Industrial Leadership

This aims to speed up development of the technologies and innovations that will underpin future businesses and help innovative SMEs to grow into world-leading companies. It consists of three specific objectives:

  1. Leadership in enabling and industrial technologies which will provide dedicated support for research, development and demonstration on ICT, nanotechnology, advanced materials, biotechnology, advanced manufacturing and processing and space. Emphasis will be placed on interactions and convergence across and between the different technologies.
  2. Access to risk finance in order to overcome deficits in the availability of debt and equity finance for innovative companies and projects at all stages of development  (including supporting the development of Union-level venture capital)
  3. Innovation in SMEs which will stimulate all forms of innovation in SMEs, targeting those with the potential to grow and internationalise across the single market and beyond.

Horizon 2020 will take an integrated approach to the participation of SMEs, which could lead to around 15% of the total combined budgets for all specific objectives on societal challenges and the specific objective on ‘Leadership in enabling and industrial technologies’ being devoted to SMEs.


The ‘Societal Challenges ‘ theme and Marie Curie Actions found in the ‘Excellent Science’ theme are most relevant to BU staff and therefore Wednesday and Thursday’s blog posts will focus on these respectively.


Reminder of 2 great BU EU funds!

Just a reminder to you all about our fantastic two EU funding opportunities which were launched last week and already generated much interest.

The BU EU Academic Development Scheme (EUADS) is for all newbie’s in EU research, comprising of an amazing training and mentorship programme and a personal budget to help you create a proposal. The deadline for this scheme is 13.01.12

The BU EU Networking Fund (EUNF) is for anyone who wants to travel to network with potential partners. There isn’t a deadline for this but the funds are limited so be quick and don’t miss out!

More details on both schemes as well as application forms can be found in my previous blogpost.

The focus of FP7s replacement, Horizon 2020

This week I will be bringing you a summary of the most important information contained in the draft Horizon 2020 proposal (FP7s replacement).  Today focuses on the background to Horizon 2020 and its overall objectives and aims, which will help you to understand the rationale behind the new funding structures which will be detailed throughout this week on the blog.

Horizon 2020 has an arching overall primary objective to generate excellent science in order to strengthen the EU’s world-class excellence in science whilst fostering industrial leadership to support business and tackling societal challenges, in order to respond directly to the challenges identified in the Europe 2020 strategy by supporting activities covering the entire spectrum from research to market.

Funding will complement these three primary aims, but each will incorporate at least one of the more specific aims outlined in Horizon 2020. These are to:

  • tackle the major societal challenges identified in Europe 2020 and its flagship initiatives
  • create industrial leadership in Europe increase excellence in the science base
  • achieve a European research area in which researchers, scientific knowledge and  technology circulate freely, and encouraging the Union to become more competitive (including in its industry)
  • ensure  the conditions necessary for the competitiveness of the Union’s industry exist by fostering better exploitation of the industrial potential of policies of innovation, research and technological development
  • contribute to the role of research and innovation as key drivers of social and economic prosperity and of environmental sustainability (to achieve the goal of increasing spending on R&D to reach 3 % of GDP by 2020)
  • support all stages in the innovation chain, especially activities closer to the market including innovative financial instruments
  • satisfy the research needs of a broad spectrum of EU policies by placing emphasis on the widest possible use and dissemination of knowledge generated by the supported activities up to its commercial exploitation
  • develop closer synergies with national and regional programmes that support  research and innovation as well as other Union programmes
  • address the  underlying causes of gender imbalance in science and research by integrating the gender dimension into the content of  projects
  • contribute to the attractiveness of the research profession in the EU
  • favour an informed  engagement of citizens and civil society on research and innovation matters by  promoting science education, by making scientific knowledge more accessible, by  developing responsible research and innovation agendas that meet citizens’ and civil  society’s concerns and expectations and by facilitating their participation in Horizon  2020 activities
  • have strong participation of SMEs
  • promote cooperation with third countries
  • develop a new approach to control and risk management in research  funding; readdressing the balance between trust and control and between risk-taking and risk avoidance
  • promote dissemination of information and as an integral task of research


Tomorrow’s blog post will detail the areas of funding proposed within Horizon 2020….

Exclusive! Week long special on Horizon 2020

Horizon 2020 is the replacement of FP7 – Europe’s largest funding programme, managed by the European Commission (EC). In 2014, FP7 will end and Horizon 2020 will be the primary mechanism through which to seek EC funding.

A confidential draft paper was released this week which details the proposed direction of Horizon 2020. Every day next week I will post important summaries of sections of the document most relevant to you so you can get a head start on preparing for Horizon 2020:


    • Monday covers the rationale behind Horizon 2020
    • Tuesday will detail the 3 funding priority areas of Horizon 2020
    • Wednesday will outline funding proposed in the most relevant funding area for BU staff; ‘Societal Challenges’
    • Thursday details proposals for the Marie Curie Programme throughout Horizon 2020
    • Friday outlines the proposals for simplification of the rules and regulations of EC funding
    BU is the only University in the UK who has summarised this document and will disseminate it to their staff, so make sure you take full advantage of this information!

FP7 Security Theme Call Partner Sought

A project based at Cardiff University is seeking partners for the FP7 Security Call SEC-2012.4.4-2 ‘Means of decontamination of large groups, urban/wide areas and large, complex and/or sensitive object’.

In particular they are seeking partners who can take the lead in determining the feasibility of establishing a Europe wide bio-decontamination capability which would be based in part of the technology solutions developed during this study and would offer the potential to respond to a chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear event. A key part of this package would be the ability to access input from first responders such as fire fighters and civil disaster planners. Any solution proposed should be cheaper than the current military options.

Please contact Professor Les Baillie at the Welsh School of Pharmacy, University of Cardiff, for further information:

New EU Health Research Search Engine Launched

The ‘HealthCompetence‘ search engine will provide an invaluable but simple tool for all those interested in health research. This is a free and really simple website to use where you can search by researcher, organisation, project title, thematic areas, keywords, countries, dates and many more fields.

You can also generate reports on the data, for instance if you would like to know a particular organisations participation in EU funded health research, or a thematic area in FP6 or FP7, or even to view the cooperation between two organisations in EU funded health research. This will be a very useful tool in helping you identify potential partners.

Finally, HealthCompetence has a list of upcoming events which you may be interested in, which will provide a great opportunity to network with potential collaborators.

EU and Brazil to launch a whopping €10m ICT research programme!

The EU and Brazil have just signed a deal to launch a joint €10-million call for research proposals in Information and Communication Technologies.

The scheme will fund cooperative research in areas including cloud computing for science, technologies for smart cities, and hybrid broadcast-broadband TV services. I will keep you posted on calls when they are available on this blog.

Looking for EU partners? Try this improved Partner Search!

The ECs website CORDIS has launched a ‘more user-friendly and intuitive’ Partners service.

The new service provides interactive web technologies, tools and solutions to help you find project partners, offer your expertise, create groups, expand networks… and a wide variety of other possibilities to make the most of opportunities in innovation, research and development.

As further improvements can still be made, you have the chance to give feedback on its functionality through this survey which takes less than 5 mins to answer.

If you haven’t yet explored the partner search functionality – now’s the perfect time to do so!

SciTech Europe 2011: Advancing Research, Innovation & Collaboration

There are a limited number of last minute complimentary places available to attend SciTech Europe 2011 on 24 November at The Square, Meeting Centre, Brussels.

Confirmed to Speak

Dr. Anneli Pauli
Deputy Director-General on Innovation and ERA (European Research Area), Directorate-General Research, European Commission

Professor Enric Banda
President, Euroscience

Professor Maria Leptin
Member of the Management Committee, Initiative for Science in Europe and Director of EMBO

Iztok Lesjak
President, International Association of Science Parks, European Division

Dr. Katrien Maes
Chief Policy Officer, League of European Research Universities

Dr. John Smith
Deputy Secretary General, European University Association (EUA)

Dr. Ayoade MJ Oduola
Coordinator, Stewardship for Infectious Diseases of poverty (STE),

Professor Joanna Chataway
Director, Innovation and Technology Policy, RAND Europe

Professor Anthony J Ryan OBE
Board member, STFC Science Council; Pro-Vice Chancellor, Faculty of Science, Sheffield University

View Full Programme

To register your complimentary place at this event please use our Online Registration System using discount code STEUCOMP at the final stage of the registration process.  Book Online

CONFIDENTIAL! FP7 Food, Agriculture, Fisheries & Biotechnology likely future calls for proposals are here!

Exciting news if you’re interested in applying to the FP7 Food, Agriculture, Fisheries & Biotechnology theme next year – I’ve managed to obtain confidential documents which hint at calls to be released next July.

The documents are long and very dull and I’ve saved you the pain of reading these by summarising them for you with bookmarks to allow you to jump straight to the area which interests you.As these document are highly confidential I have placed the summary on our I drive; it is strictly forbidden to circulate this outside of BU! I:\R&KEO\Public\Draft Work Programmes for 2012. The final Work Programmes which feature the calls for proposals aren’t officially released until July 2012 so reading this gives you a fantastic head start to preparing a submission.

Whenever I can obtain other documents indicating future calls for FP7 I will summarise these for you and place on the blog (I’ve already done this for the Health theme) so keep checking the EU blog to make sure you don’t miss out!

TOP SECRET! I have a draft of the next calls to be released in Health under FP7…

top secretI’ve managed to get my grubby mitts on a draft version of the FP7 Health Work Programme which features the calls for proposals to be released in 2012. This is just a draft and therefore subject to change but it gives you a great idea as to what the European Commission are looking to fund.
The Work Programme is a tedious read so I’ve summarised the info on funding in there for you; the aim of the call, the eligibility criteria, etc. I have bookmarked the document so you can jump straight to the call that interests you.

As this document is highly confidential I have placed it on our I drive; it is strictly forbidden to circulate this outside of BU! I:\R&KEO\Public\Draft Work Programmes for 2012
The final official version of the Work Programmes aren’t released until July 2012 so this gives you a fantastic head start to preparing a submission.

I will summarise the other themes as soon as I get the drafts through so keep your eyes peeled on this blog for them!

MEDIA 2007 Call for Proposals: Promotion and Access to Markets

The EC has launched a call for proposals for the promotion and access to markets under the Media 2007 Programme.

The objectives include:

  • facilitating and encouraging the promotion and movement of European audiovisual and cinema works at trade shows, fairs and audiovisual festivals in Europe and around the globe, insofar as such events may play an important role in the promotion of European works and the networking of professionals, and
  • encouraging the networking of European operators, by supporting joint activities on the European and international markets by national public or private promotion bodies.

The deadline for sending in applications is: 22 December 2011 for activities starting between 1 June 2012 and up to 31 December 2012. The guidelines of the call for proposals, as well as the application forms, are available from the European Commission’s website.

EU Active and Healthy Ageing Innovation Partnership announce focus of research areas

The Active & Healthy Ageing EU Innovation Partnership was established earlier this year with a pilot aim to increase the average healthy lifespan in Europe by two years by 2020. Its steering group (33 members from Europe including member states and regional authorities, organisations representing groups of patients, doctors, academics, and businesses) announced this week that it will focus on 5 research and policy areas:

  1. improving medicines compliance
  2. preventing falls
  3. fighting frailty and malnutrition
  4. developing new care models
  5. boosting the uptake of ICT solutions for independent living

The strategy includes in particular actions at the regional level, for example to spread remote monitoring care models for older patients suffering from chronic diseases. Other actions will be added later to these first five priorities, including improving health literacy and the diagnosis of cognitive decline.