Category / pre-award

Horizon Europe Update – January 2023

Welcome to the first Horizon Europe news of 2023. This is a summary based on articles published by UKRO and Research Professional early this year.

Horizon Europe association

The EU and New Zealand have concluded the official negotiations on the non-EU country’s association to Horizon Europe; the signing of the Association Agreement is expected to take place in early 2023. This will allow researchers and organisations from New Zealand to participate as beneficiaries receiving EU funding in projects funded under the six thematic Clusters of Horizon Europe’s second Pillar (Societal Challenges).

This is the first time that a highly industrialised country outside of Europe has become associated to the EU framework programme, however for all other parts of the programme, including European Research Council and Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions, New Zealand will continue to be considered a non-associated third country. Canada is also expected to become associated to Horizon Europe in early 2023, while Japan and South Korea continue to have early exploratory talks on association with the EU.

UK Government’s plan B

According to Research Professional, the UK science minister has said that the UK’s alternative plan for spending money ringfenced for European R&D programmes, the so-called ‘plan B’, is being signed off by prime minister Rishi Sunak. In his speech, Freeman said that ministers “haven’t yet finalised” the alternative package, which is “now with the prime minister, the chancellor, the cabinet and the National Science and Technology Council”.

The science minister said that the government was “still pushing, and I’m still hopeful”, for UK association, but added that access to EU R&D programmes was “caught up in the high politics of the post-Brexit negotiation”.

A glimmer of hope for such negotiations was reached this week when the EU and the UK reached agreement on a specific issue related to trade in Northern Ireland. The UK government has ringfenced £6.8bn for membership of EU programmes.

Pilot of two-stage proposal evaluation

The European Commission will pilot a new mechanism in the Horizon Europe evaluation process called ‘blind evaluation’ in all two-stage calls included in the recently published Work Programme 2023-24. The objective of anonymised proposals in the ‘blind evaluation’ pilot is to tackle some concerns about a potential bias of evaluators towards well-known organisations in countries with better-performing R&I systems.

The ‘blind evaluation’ approach means that at stage one of the evaluation process, the applicants’ identity is not revealed to the experts. At the first stage of proposal submission, applicants may not disclose their identity in Part B of their proposal. The second stage, in which full proposals are submitted, is not anonymised. All first stage applicants should keep in mind that if a proposal includes any identification of the applicant(s) in Part B, the bid will be declared inadmissible and will be rejected.

Expert Evaluators in Horizon Europe

The Commission and its executive agencies that manage Horizon Europe’s calls for proposals are continuously looking for new evaluators who assist the EU services in a personal capacity as experts with the implementation of EU funding and tenders. The Commission is looking for experts with a high level of expertise and professional experience in all EU action and policy fields, particularly those relevant to Horizon Europe’s calls for proposals.

Individuals interested in becoming expert evaluators in Horizon Europe should register in the dedicated ‘Work as an expert’ area of the F&T Portal. The Portal Expert Database is the central database for all expert work in this domain. Registration is a mandatory prerequisite for being contracted by the Commission to work as an evaluator on any EU funding programme. The Commission welcomes experts from any country, as long as they are not subject to EU administrative sanctions.

Becoming an expert evaluator in Horizon Europe is the best way to get to know the evaluation process in the new programme and become successful as an applicant faster. Knowing how the evaluation process works and what the experts are looking for in an excellent proposal will allow you to improve your own applications in the future.

NIHR Bulletin

RDS NEWS

RDS Blog: Researcher, adviser, committee member – we’re all on the same side
The RDS blog this month looks at the many hats that our RDS advisers wear to support you develop the best application for submission to NIHR funding programmes. Find out more.

NIHR News

NIHR publishes its 2021-22 Annual Report
The NIHR has published its annual report and accounts, highlighting milestones and achievements during 2021/22. Find out more.

eBulletins and Newsletters

CRN West of England – AcoRD Specialist Update

NIHR ARCs Your Path in Research: January 2023,  New Year Special

NIHR Evidence: December 2022

NIHR News and Research: December 2022

 

Funding Opportunities

Latest NIHR funding calls

Efficacy and Mechanism Evaluation (EME) Programme
22/564 Evaluating the Efficacy of Metformin in Tuberous Sclerosis Complex

Health and Social Care Delivery Research (HSDR) Programme
22/563 Evaluating new models of care for children and young people with excess weight and related complications

Health Technology Assessment (HTA) Programme
23/1 Health Technology Assessment Programme researcher-led (primary research)
23/2 Health Technology Assessment Programme researcher-led (evidence synthesis)
23/3 NIHR NICE rolling call (HTA Programme)
23/4 NIHR James Lind Alliance Priority Setting Partnerships rolling call (HTA Programme)
23/6 Motor Neurone Disease (HTA Programme)

Public Health Research (PHR) Programme
Health Determinant Research Collaborations (HDRCs) – webinar on 1 February

Your local branch of the NIHR RDS (Research Design Service) is based within the BU Clinical Research Unit (BUCRU) should you need help with your application. We advise on all aspects of developing an application and can review application drafts as well as put them to a mock funding panel (run by RDS South West) known as Project Review Committee, which is a fantastic opportunity for researchers to obtain a critical review of a proposed grant application before this is sent to a funding body or if you’re hoping to resubmit the panel can provide some excellent tips and feedback.

Contact us as early as possible to benefit fully from the advice

Feel free to call us on 01202 961939 or send us an email.

Horizon Europe Resources

Happy New Year everybody!

In December, Innovate UK Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN) and the UK’s Horizon Europe National Contact Points (NCPs) hosted a series of webinars presenting funding opportunities of the Horizon Europe 2023-24 work programme parts for the six Clusters under Pillar 2 ‘Global Challenges and European Industrial Competitiveness’.

The video recordings and presentation slides from these events are now available online. Each webinar provides an overview of calls for proposals for the specific Cluster, practical tips for applicants and case studies.

As a reminder, the European Commission’s info days and brokerage events are taking place in in January 2023, follow the link for more information. You can also find more Horizon Europe internal resources on Brightspace.

As a reminder, one of BU Funding Development Briefings in January (scheduled for 25/01/23) will have spotlight on UK government guaranty related Horizon Europe grants.

Horizon Europe Update – End of 2022

Two weeks ago, I reported that on 6 December 2022 the European Commission adopted and published the final versions of Horizon Europe individual Work Programmes for 2023 and 2024.

One of the last thing to find out in 2022 has been situation regarding UK government guarantee for Horizon Europe calls closing in 2023.

According to the Research Professional, the government has once again extended its “safety net” for UK-based winners of funding from the EU’s Horizon Europe R&D programme, amid continuing uncertainty over long-term UK participation.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy announced on 19 December that it would provide backup funding for successful UK applicants to Horizon Europe calls that close on or before 31 March 2023. BEIS said that eligible, successful applicants to the programme would receive the “full value of their funding at their UK host institution for the lifetime of their grant”.

The announcement builds on a previous extension of the guarantee to cover calls ending on or before 31 December. The UK government now needs to decide whether to walk away from association and launch its ‘plan B’ or enter an arbitration process that could take months to conclude.

The government’s ‘plan B’ includes a new “flagship talent offer” with “high-value, long-term fellowships and a strong international mobility offer”, as well as an “ambitious programme for supporting global collaboration” and an increase in investment for “end-to-end innovation”.

The backup funding is being administered by UK Research and Innovation. According to data published by the national funder on 30 November, at least 1,353 UK-based researchers have requested £678.4 million in backup funding.

This must be my last research blog of 2022. I would like to thank you for being such encouraging colleagues, attending weekly funding briefings throughout 2022 and wish you calm and peaceful winter break!

Horizon Europe Update – December 2022

There is some good news this time; yesterday, on 6 December 2022, the European Commission adopted and published the final versions of Horizon Europe individual Work Programmes for 2023 and 2024. Those are publicly available in the ‘Reference documents’ section of the Funding & Tenders Portal. Some of the 2023 calls for proposals have already been launched.

R&I investments planned under the 2023-24 Work Programme will contribute to the EU reaching its climate goals, increasing energy resilience, and developing core digital technologies. They will also address targeted actions to support Ukraine, boost economic resilience and contribute to a sustainable recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

There are some changes in the new work programme, just a couple to mention here.

Legal entities established in China will no longer be eligible to participate in Horizon Europe Innovation Actions in any capacity.

Participation of Russian and Belarusian organisations as well as those based in non-government-controlled territories of Ukraine are not eligible to participate in any capacity even when they are not subject to specific EU restrictive measures.

The Commission is already holding a series of information days on the 2023 calls for proposals included in the new Work Programme. The already confirmed information days can be found on the Commission’s dedicated website.

Association to Horizon Europe still remains the UK government’s priority, although there already are some plans in place if that is not going to happen. Just to note that UK applicants must apply for funding from the EU as beneficiaries and not as Associated Partners in order to be eligible for the UK government’s Horizon Europe funding guarantee. The change to Associated Partner status must only be made after the project has been assessed at the point of preparing the EU grant agreement.

International Research Collaboration Opportunities

Collaboration with Norway

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and Research Council of Norway (RCN) have signed a Money Follows Cooperation (MFC) agreement to foster collaboration between researchers in both countries.

RCN and the participating UKRI research councils (AHRC, ESRC, EPSRC, MRC and NERC) have reciprocally opened their agreed national research funding opportunities to collaborative applications involving researchers from the other country to be funded as international co-investigators.

This enables eligible UK principal investigators to submit collaborative applications with co-investigators employed by Norwegian institutions. The inclusion of Norway co-investigators is possible in specific funding opportunities that do not expressly forbid international collaboration and do not provide alternative support for international co-investigators. They must fit the normal definition of a co-investigator on a research project, assisting the grant holder in the management and leadership of the project.

General conditions and budget will differ depending on the funding opportunity to which an application is being submitted.

You should refer to the specific participating research council’s guidance to applicants and funding opportunity guidance for further information on eligibility and application submission, for more details and conditions visit UKRI website.

Under this agreement, UK researchers are also able to take part in RCN funding opportunities as international co-investigators. UK researchers wishing to take part as international co-investigators in applications submitted to RCN should refer to RCN’s website for further information and contact details.

Collaboration with Switzerland

I the meantime, on Thursday 10 November UK has signed major science co-operation agreement with Switzerland.

According to the information available on Government’s web page, UK and Switzerland sign Memorandum of Understanding deepening the relationship between the two countries’ world-leading research and innovation communities.

The memorandum outlines the principles of the relationship, and specific forms of cooperation, including coordinated or joint initiatives, programmes or projects, meetings, workshops, conferences or symposia, exchange of information and documentation, mobility, visits and delegations, and strategy and coordination meetings.

The memorandum will encourage particular focus on cooperation in ‘deep science’ and ‘deep tech’, including life science, energy technology, AI and space.

Horizon Europe 2023-24 Work Programmes – UK NCP Webinars in December

About ten days ago I published a blog regarding Horizon Europe info days organised by the European Commision. UKRO have announced the UK National Contact Points’ (NCP) Clusters Webinar Series on the 2023-24 Work Programmes.

The webinar series hosted by Innovate UK Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN) and the UK’s Horizon Europe National Contact Points (NCPs) will give you an overview of the Horizon Europe 2023-24 Work Programmes for the six Clusters under Pillar 2: Global Challenges and European Industrial Competitiveness.

The dates of each two-hour webinar are below:

  • 1 December 2022 – Cluster 5: Climate, Energy & Mobility
  • 2 December 2022 – Cluster 1: Health
  • 6 December 2022 – Cluster 6: Food, Bioeconomy, Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environment
  • 7 December 2022 – Cluster 2: Culture, Creativity & Inclusive Society
  • 8 December 2022 – Cluster 4: Digital, Industry & Space
  • 15 December 2022 – Cluster 3: Civil Security for Society

Registration is mandatory to attend the webinars.

In a case of further questions related to EU and international funding opportunities please contact Research Facilitator International Ainar Blaudums or any of my RDS Funding Development Team colleagues.

Impact and Funding Bids workshop -Thursday 7th November

There are still places available for this online workshop, facilitated by Eva Papadapoulou, Research Facilitator and Amanda Lazar, Impact Advisor.

Writing about impact in a grant application can be challenging. However, a strong description of the benefits you hope your project will have on society and the economy, and the means you will take to get there, can make all the difference between getting funded or not.

The RKEDF online training session will help you understand what you need to include for the best chance of success and look at the different ways impact may be considered within each call.

Since the UKRI removed the Pathways to Impact sections of grant applications, they actually expect impact to be even more embedded within funding bids. So, how do you write about impact in grant applications? And what counts as impact?

This session is aimed at researchers at all stages of their careers but is likely to be especially useful for ECRs preparing their first funding bids.

Book your place

 

Horizon Europe Information Days – Save dates

Cluster 6:  Food, Bioeconomy, Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environment

According to UK Research Office (UKRO), the Commission’s Directorate-General for Research and Innovation will host Information Days for Horizon Europe Cluster 6 on 13-14 December 2022.

This event will present the research topics proposed under the yet-to-be published 2023 Work Programme of Cluster 6 (Food, Bioeconomy, Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environment). A separate brokerage session will take place on 19 December.

Information is not yet available on the registration method or format of the events; a detailed agenda has not been published either.

BU academics can refer to our UKRO’s dedicated Cluster 6 Factsheet for an overview of the main policies and topic areas involved (login details required).

Cluster 5: Climate, Energy & Mobility

The Commission’s Directorate-General for Research and Innovation will host hybrid Information Days for Horizon Europe Cluster 5 on 15-16 December 2022

The event will present the research topics proposed under the yet-to-be published 2023 Work Programme of Cluster 5 (Climate, Energy & Mobility) with focus on twin green and digital transitions to achieve climate neutrality in Europe by 2050.

A separate physical pitching session and brokerage session organised by the Cluster 5 National Contact Points will take place in the afternoon on 15 December.

Limited physical registrations will be possible via the official Info Days registration page. Online participation will be possible without prior registration. The detailed agenda and practical details are available on the event website.

BU academics can refer to our UKRO’s dedicated Cluster 5 Factsheet for an overview of the main policies and topic areas involved (login details required).

Horizon Europe association

As you may know, Government’s policy is to encourage UK researchers to continue to apply for Horizon Europe grants despite uncertainty over association. This time I wanted to tell how other countries are progressing with the association.

According to Research Professional, New Zealand is ready to start formal talks on association to the Horizon Europe programme. On 18 October, New Zealand’s science minister, Ayesha Verrall, “expressed her willingness” to enter formal negotiations.

Earlier this year, New Zealand and Canada concluded exploratory talks on possible association to Horizon Europe, which would give their scientists similar access to the bloc’s member states to the parts of the programme covered by the agreement, in exchange for budget contributions.

Let’s wish New Zealand to have more luck than we have had so far.

In the meantime, Australian official claims EU put limits on Horizon access. An official from a second country has said it was the EU that limited the scope of talks on association to the bloc’s research and innovation programme.

So far, 16 countries have associated across Horizon Europe. Kurt Deketelaere, secretary-general of the League of European Research Universities, warned that it “really is worrying” that research-intensive countries are being “excluded” from parts of Horizon Europe for “unknown reasons”.

NIHR Grant Applications Seminar ONLINE – 22 November 2022

  

Dear colleagues

– Do you have a great idea for research in health, social care or public health?
– Are you planning to submit a grant application to NIHR?

Our popular seminar continues online and will take place on Tuesday 22nd November 2022 from 10.00am – 12.30pm.

The seminar provides an overview of NIHR funding opportunities and research programme remits, requirements and application processes. We will give you top tips for your application and answer specific questions with experienced RDS South West advisers.

We will also be hearing from Jane Fearnside about the NIHR Invention for Innovation (i4i) programme. She will be giving an overview of the programme, the assessment process and what the funding panels are looking for.

We also have a limited number of 20-minute 1-to-1 appointments available after the seminar should you wish to discuss your proposed study with an RDS adviser.

Find out more and book a place.

Your local branch of the NIHR RDS (Research Design Service) is based within the BU Clinical Research Unit (BUCRU)

We can help with your application. We advise on all aspects of developing an application and can review application drafts as well as put them to a mock funding panel (run by RDS South West) known as Project Review Committee, which is a fantastic opportunity for researchers to obtain a critical review of a proposed grant application before this is sent to a funding body.

Contact us as early as possible to benefit fully from the advice

Feel free to call us on 01202 961939 or send us an email.

Free Upcoming Seminars

See below for two opportunities to attend free seminars.

Selling to the NHS

Thursday 3rd November – 13:00-14:30
A Healthcare Innovator’s roadmap. This course will help you address key market access challenges in healthcare.

This 90 minute session is suitable for anyone who is involved in developing new healthcare technologies and products, be it as an entrepreneur, clinician, academic or investor. It will help you to understand key market issues in healthcare markets and how to overcome them, understanding your (NHS) customer and the value of evidence and how to use it to drive adoption.

BOOK YOUR FREE PLACE HERE

Grant Funding Opportunities for MedTech Innovators

Thursday 10th November – 12:30-13:30
This free 60 minute session is suitable for anyone from the NHS, academia or industry looking to learn more about how to prepare robust funding applications to support the development of new medical technologies.

BOOK YOUR FREE PLACE HERE

BA/Leverhulme Small Grants 9th November 2022

 

BA/Leverhulme Small Research Grants

The call for the next round of BA/Leverhulme Small Research Grants is now open and closes at 5.00 pm on 9th November 2022.

We welcome the new electronic Intention to Bid (e-ITB) forms from Early Career Researchers and/or for bids that deliver pump priming / seed  funding purposes.

Due to the volume of bids that are received by RDS in every round, the internal deadlines will be strictly applied to ensure that the pre-award team can provide

all interested academics with optimal support in a timely manner.

Where ITB forms are received after 10th October 2022 they will be moved automatically to the next round.

The British Academy has provided guidance and FAQs. They have stipulated that all applicants must read the documentation carefully before starting their application.

Timeline

The call closes at 5.00 pm on 9th November 2022.

Date Action

10/10 Intention to Bid forms to be submitted via the new electronic intention to bid platform.
At this date, advise your referee that you will be sending them your completed application on FlexiGrant and they will need to provide their supporting statement by .

12/10 If you are Grade 8 or below and you wish to use the support of an External Application Reviewer (EAR), you must submit a first draft of the application to RDS by this date.
An EAR will not be allocated to you if you send a draft to RDS after this date.

21/10 Latest date for you to fully complete your application on FlexiGrant, so it is ready for your referee to complete the supporting statement via FlexiGrant.
Note that the earlier you complete you application on FlexiGrant, the more time the referee will have to review your bid and provide the supporting statement by 31/10.

31/10 Latest date for referee to complete the supporting statement via FlexiGrant.
02/11 Click ‘submit’ and the form will be sent to BU’s account for RDS checks.
02-09/ 11 Institutional checking process – RDS will work with you to ensure compliance with all funder’s requirements.
09/11 Submission deadline – latest date to formally submit on FlexiGrant.

If you have any queries, please contact your Research Facilitator or Funding Development Officer.

 

Horizon Europe Update – October 2022

Since my last update, there is no significant news and the message from officials remains the same – UK researchers should continue to apply for Horizon Europe grants despite uncertainty over association.

I want personally to thank those BU academics who follow this advice in practice. As a result, 15 EU grant applications have been submitted in September. The fact is that the only way to secure external funding is to apply for it.

There are still calls open on EU Funding & Tenders portal with deadlines in November until early 2023. Work programme parts for 2023 – 2024 still are in development stage, more information regarding those you can find on Brightspace (presentation from yesterday’s funding briefing session is also there).

There was an interesting article published by Research Professional today about EU/UK negotiations related to Horizon Europe association; if interested, you can read full article here.

I only have to add that negotiations are not over; they speak in article about specific working group established in August 2022; unfortunately, their efforts ended up without any results.

We have recently seen some interest in COST Actions from BU academics. Formally, COST is not a part of Horizon Europe and the UK is one of COST member states. You can also read more here.

Once again, I would like to emphasise that regardless of outcome of EU/UK negotiations, international networking generates opportunities to apply for collaborative grants. If you are invited to join COST network, please do remember to submit e-ItB form, so RDS can process and support your application.

September update on Horizon Europe

The UK government has announced an extension of the financial support provided to successful UK Horizon Europe applicants, which will now be in place to cover all Horizon Europe calls that close by the end of this year.

According to UK Research Office in Brussels (UKRO), this new announcement reiterates that association to EU programmes remains the UK’s preferred outcome and extends the scope of the Guarantee to cover additional Horizon Europe calls for proposals while the delay to association continues.

Following the announcement, the relevant UKRI guidance documents have been updated.

Previous versions of this guidance included a list of calls in the annex, but this has been replaced by a comprehensive commitment to include all Horizon Europe calls with a final submission deadline date on or before 31 December 2022 as shown on the EC Funding and Tenders Portal. For two-stage calls, only a final submission deadline on or before 31 December is considered to be in scope.

The MSCA4Ukraine scheme to support displaced scientists from Ukraine is now open to prospective host organisations. Organisations interested in hosting a displaced researcher from the Ukraine can register their interest on the MSCA4Ukraine website by completing the online form. The scheme will fund individual researchers at either the doctoral or postdoctoral level for a minimum of six months up to a maximum duration of two years. The funding rates are in line with the MSCA Doctoral Networks and the MSCA Postdoctoral Fellowships.

The MSCA4Ukraine scheme has a total budget of €25 million and forms part of the European Union’s collective response to the Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Although there is a separate process for registration of interest, please note that applications must be submitted by prospective host institutions on behalf of a named researcher, so the usual BU/RDS processes are in place.

Preliminary information on eligibility criteria and application requirements are available of the call website, and there is a dedicated FAQ page. If you have any additional questions, please contact the MSCA4Ukraine team directly.

Please note that RDS resumes weekly funding briefings on 14 September. You are welcome to participate every Wednesday at 12pm. An overview of Innovate UK SMART Grants is scheduled for the first this season’s briefing session. The first spotlight focusing on Horizon Europe will be on 28 September. You can find link to join briefings and more details in our previous post.

Horizon Europe Brokerage Event – Energy

Please note that a virtual brokerage event for Horizon Europe calls of Cluster 5 Climate, Energy and Mobility will be held on 29 September 2022. This is intended to provide an opportunity to discuss your project ideas with potential partners and to build collaborations and join consortia.

There are two calls scheduled to open in early September 2022:

HORIZON-CL5-2022-D3-03 – Sustainable, secure and competitive energy supply, with closing date on 10 January 2023 and HORIZON-CL5-2022-D4-02 – Efficient, sustainable and inclusive energy use, closing on 24 Jan 2023.

The following topics are included under each of these calls.

  • HORIZON-CL5-2022-D4-02 (deadline 24/01/2022)
    • Designs, materials and solutions to improve resilience, preparedness & responsiveness of the built environment for climate adaptation (HORIZON-CL5-2022-D4-02-01)
    • Solutions for the sustainable, resilient, inclusive and accessible regeneration of neighbourhoods enabling low carbon footprint lifestyles and businesses (HORIZON-CL5-2022-D4-02-02)
    • Sustainable and resource-efficient solutions for an open, accessible, inclusive, resilient and low-emission cultural heritage: prevention, monitoring, management, maintenance, and renovation (HORIZON-CL5-2022-D4-02-03)
    • Smart-grid ready and smart-network ready buildings, acting as active utility nodes (HORIZON-CL5-2022-D4-02-04)
    • More sustainable buildings with reduced embodied energy / carbon, high life-cycle performance and reduced life-cycle costs (HORIZON-CL5-2022-D4-02-05)
    • Support to the activities of technology areas of the SET Plan: Action dedicated to energy efficiency in industry (HORIZON-CL5-2022-D4-02-06)

If you are interested to participate, please note that registration before the event is compulsory and will close on 25 September 2022.

In a case of further questions please contact RDS Funding Development team.