Tagged / EU

Good news – Parliament supports 10% rise in EU research budget

The budget committee of the European Parliament has said it wants to maintain a planned increase of 10 per cent in the EU research budget for 2012. Under the committee’s proposal, research would obtain the largest increase of any major category of spending, as envisaged in the framework already agreed for spending from 2007 to 2013. However, in response to the financial crisis, the Council of Ministers has requested that research spending in 2012 be cut from the planned €12.56 billion to €11.43bn, in effect remaining the same as last year.

New simple EC FP7 guide coming to you!

It is with great pleasure I can announce that the printed copies of ‘The Simple Guide to European Commission FP7 Funding’ I have been working on over the last few months have arrived. This guide covers everything you need to know – from funding topics, to searching for partners, to completing the proposal form – all in a jargon free, simple format.

I have popped a copy for every research active academic at BU in the internal post. If you haven’t received one by Friday and would like me to send you one, please drop me an email. Happy reading!

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.

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.

 

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!

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.

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.

EC Media- related i2i Audiovisual funding available

The EC has launched a call for proposals for the development, distribution, promotion and training of i2i audiovisual under the Media 2007 Programme.

The objective of this support is to facilitate independent European production companies’ access to funding from credit and financial institutions, by co-financing part of the costs of:

  • insurance for audiovisual productions: Module 1 — Support the ‘Insurance’ item in a production budget,
  • completion guarantee for the production of an audiovisual work: Module 2 — Support for the item ‘Completion Guarantee’ in a production budget, and
  • credit financing for the production of a work: Module 3 — Support for the item ‘Financial Costs’ in a production budget.

Applications for this call for proposals must be submitted at the latest by:

  • 6 January 2012, for projects with an earliest start date 1 July 2011,
  • 6 June 2012, for projects with an earliest start date 1 December 2011

The guidelines and application forms of this call for proposals may be found on the European Commission’s website.

 

 

Want more funding for Social Sciences and Humanities Research? Then you should sign this petition to the EC!

A consortium called ‘Socio-economic Sciences and Humanities for the Future of Europe’ is seeking signatures to an open letter addressed to the EC which advocates the inclusion of a socio-economic sciences and humanities(SSH) research programme in Horizon 2020 (FP7’s replacement).   

The group comprises a number of organisations including Net4Society, the network of National Contact Points for SSH, ALLEA, the European Federation of National Academies of Sciences and Humanities, and ECHIC, the European Consortium of Humanities Institutes and Centres. 

The letter outlines the crucial role to be played by social sciences and humanities research in addressing societal challenges and informing EU policy, and makes a number of specific requests:
1. that a ‘substantial and independent’ SSH programme (called ‘Understanding Europe’), with a ring-fenced budget of €5 billion, be included in Horizon 2020;
2. that there are opportunities for SSH research to contribute to other challenges relating to climate change, energy, food, health, security and transport;
3. that a diversity of approaches are encouraged; and
4.that the research supported should include ‘perspectives from different cultures, backgrounds and schools of thought to stimulate critical reflections and to better anticipate future societal challenges’.

In a week since its issue, the open letter has collected a staggering 3, 700 signatures from a wide range of countries. It takes only a few seconds to sign and I did mine this morning. If you’re involved in social sciences or humanities research, make your signature count so future EC funds for your area are fair and sign today!

This free dataset will really help your EU funding proposal!

Downloading the FREE European Social Survey’s (ESS) latest dataset will be invaluable for the majority of you thinking of applying for EU funding. The ESS is a high standard survey in which 28 countries took part (with 2400 responses from the UK).  

The ESS covers topics such as political engagement; trust in institutions; moral and social values; social capital; social exclusion; national, ethnic and religious identity; well-being, health and security and you can carry out a simple analysis online of archived data. In the latest round information the questionnaire included questions on:

1) Work, family and well-being. Areas covered include: the impact of the recession on households and work; job security; housework; wellbeing; unemployment; work-life balance.

2) Trust in criminal justice. Areas covered include: confidence in the police and the courts; cooperation with the police and the courts; contact with the police; attitudes towards punishment.

EU funding for Information & Communication Research

ERA-Net CHIST-ERA (European Coordinated Research on Long-term Challenges in Information and Communication Sciences and Technologies) invites proposals for international research project grants. These support highly innovative and multidisciplinary collaborative projects in information and communication sciences and technologies with the potential for significant scientific and technical impacts. Proposals for this call should address the following topics: from data to new knowledge (D2K); green ICT, towards zero power ICT (G-ICT).  Institutions from France, the UK, Spain, Germany, Ireland, Austria, Poland, Switzerland, Turkey, Romania and Luxembourg may apply. Projects should typically last for two to three years, and are expected to request a maximum of €2 million each.

INFER Mini–Workshop on Predictive Analytics

Nowadays web users generate a lot of data in a form of web logs. This data can tell us a lot about visitor behavior, their demands and preferences.  Predictive web analytics is aimed at understanding and predicting behavioral patterns of users in various web-based applications or services: e-commerce, mass-media, and entertainment industries. This mini workshop focuses on challenges and techniques in predictive web analytics.

If you are interested to find out what can be predicted from visitor behavior on the web and how it can be done, welcome to attend!

Date: Monday, 31/10/2011

Time: 4pm – 6pm

Place: PG143, Poole House, Talbot Campus

 4pm – 5pm

Mykola Pechenizkiy will talk about Context Aware Predictive Analytics: Motivation, Potential, Challenges

 5pm – 6pm

Omar Kudmany will talk about Web log pre-processing using Complex Event Processing technologies

European Energy Research Alliance seeks additional partners

In spring 2012, fifteen other organisations will be selected as partners for a two-year term. The Alliance is now made up of ten energy research organisations, which got together in October 2008 to develop joint research programmes. EERA partners must pay an annual fee worth €10,000. Only one organisation can join per EU member state. The call for expressions of interest closes on 1 February 2012.