Tagged / innovation

New plans for Partnering in Research & Innovation

The EC recently published  Partnering in Research and Innovation which sets out the different types of partnering and aims to progress partnering activities across the EU. The report acknowledges that the existing partnering activities they currently have (such as Public-Private Partnerships) work well as the mutual trust built within them creates excellent research which in turn makes Europe a more attractive global partner in addressing major societal challenges.

More relevant for BU as we tend not to participate in these partnering activities, is that the report acknowledges the need for Horizon 2020 to develop a framework to encourage and support future partnerships and capitalise on these early indications of success. The Active and Healthy Ageing EIP pilot which is designed to ensure that ideas are successfully developed and brought to market in the most coherent way possible is indicative of this.

In order to strike the right balance for Horizon 2020, the EC will soon launch a strategic exercise to determine where and how the partnering approach can be applied most successfully and the types of initiative to which the instruments are best suited. I will keep you informed when further information on this is released.

Leading Academic encourages UK government to adopt German model of Innovation

David Payne, Professor of Photonics and Director of the Optoelectronics Research Centre at the University of Southampton has warned in a comment in the Daily Telegraph that substantial and sustained investment is necessary if the UK government wants to restore the country’s manufacturing base. After assessing the challenges faced in converting excellent research into commercial successful products, Professor Payne welcomed the Government’s support for 6 Technology Innovation Centres which will nurture links between academia and industry. However more funds are needed as the £200 million pledged to date is tiny compared with the £1.45 billion a year provided for the network of Fraunhofer centres in Germany which form the blueprint for the proposed UK network. “It would be a shame if this led to distributed ‘virtual centres’ of expertise to appease regional political interests with the consequent management headaches, rather than the single-centred and single-minded Fraunhofer model…I fear we are about to repeat the British thing and spread the money so everyone gets a prize,” he said.

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.

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

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.

Latest EU Social Sciences & Humanities funding

Free movement of lawyers: proposals should evaluate the legal framework for the free movement of lawyers against market and regulatory developments in the single market. Funding is worth up to €500,000 over 11 months. Deadline 15.09.11

Socio-economic impacts of new measures to improve accessibility of goods and services for people with disabilities: proposals should explore the merits of adopting EU regulatory measures to substantially improve the proper functioning of the internal market for accessible products and services, including measures to step up the use of public procurement.  Funding is worth up to €800,000 over 12 months. Deadline: 22.08.11

Roma in education: this funding supports transnational cooperation projects in the development and implementation of coherent and comprehensive joined-up educational measures to raise the participation and attainment levels of Roma students in general education and vocational educational training, and to support network activities for awareness-raising of the social integration of Roma children and students.  The total budget for the call is €584,000 and each grant is worth up to €150,000 over a maximum of 12 months. Deadline: 16.09.11

European policy network on the education of children and young people with a migrant background: this funding supports cross-European collaboration between high level decision makers, academics and practitioners for raising the educational attainment of children and young people from a migrant background. The maximum duration of projects is 36 months, and a total budget of €500,000 is available for 2012. Deadline 14.10.11

Support for the Digitisation of European Cinemas: the aim of the ‘digitisation of cinemas’ scheme is to encourage cinemas showing a significant percentage of non-national European works to exploit the possibilities offered by digital. This call for proposals aims to facilitate the digital transition of cinemas screening European films by supporting the side costs linked to the purchase of a digital projector. Closing date: 15 September 2011

e-Skills for Competitiveness and Innovation: the aim of this fund is to develop, with relevant stakeholders, a coherent vision and a detailed roadmap as well as foresight scenarios on the supply and demand of e-skills for competitiveness and innovation in Europe (2011–2015).  It will build on the momentum of the EU e-skills strategy. The skills needed include ICT, marketing, design, law, management, etc. for entrepreneurs, managers and ICT professionals and advanced users in all industries. Closing date: 16 September 2011

EU energy related funding available

EU Eco-innovation projects funding: to support the market penetration of an environmental product, service, management practice or process with a proven track record, but which has not yet been fully marketed. The indicative budget for this call is €36 million and funding will provide up to 50 per cent of a project’s costs over a period of 36 months. Deadline 08.09.11

EUROGIA+ funding call: projects should develop innovative energy technologies that will reduce the carbon footprint of energy production and use, with a focus on solar, wind, biomass, geothermal and energy efficiency. Deadline 14.09.11

Design options for sectoral carbon market mechanisms and their implication for the EU ETS: projects should help to improve understanding of different options for key design elements of the sector-wide carbon market mechanisms, as well as assessing the implications of recognising credits from such pilots for use under the EU ETS. Funding is worth between €180,000 and €200,000 over nine months. Deadline 16.08.11

Integration of renewable energy in Europe: project should provide quantitative and qualitative analysis of the electricity market, the transmission network and the distribution network in its ability to adapt to higher penetration of electricity from renewable energy. Funding covers approximately 500 person-days. Deadline 23.08.11

European focused funding available

The Central Europe Programme offers funding for projects on the facilitating innovation across Central Europe; improving accessibility to, and within, Central Europe; using our environment responsibly; enhancing competitiveness and attractiveness of cities and regions. The budget for this call is at least €22.5 million and the recommended funding amount is €1m to €2.5m per project. Closing date: 14 October 2011

Research commissioner argues for open innovation approach

Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, the Commissioner for research and innovation, has called for Europe to take a broad and open view of innovation to reach its full potential “innovation is increasingly interpretative: looking for opportunities without necessarily having a fixed definition of the problem.“This requires a completely different approach, an open process driven by curiosity and uncertainty…Open innovation is therefore more than a tool, it is an attitude—an attitude we need to turn Europe into a more innovative place,”

Universities need public-private funds to boost innovation, says Committee of the Regions

According to president of the Committee of the Regions Mercedes Bresso in the , universities are drivers of regional development and innovation, and should be encouraged to set up partnerships with businesses through joint public and private innovation funds and in addition to using Structural Funds for regional development more strategically, loans, venture capital and credits should be more easily accessible to small companies to boost technology transfer.

Consultation on Developing the Strategic Innovation Agenda for Innovation & Technology

A stakeholder consultation as part of the process to develop the Strategic Innovation Agenda (SIA) for the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) is being held.  This is an important consultation as it will be the main opportunity for the research and innovation community to shape the future of the EIT. It sets out a number of key questions covering the overall core objectives, potential themes for future Knowledge Innovation Communities and the criteria on which these should be selected. The consultation will close on 30 June 2011 and it will be possible to either answer the online questionnaire or submit separate position papers covering the main issues covered in the questions. Website on EIT consultation

EU Innovation related news

EIT: Consultation Launched on the Strategic Innovation Agenda
The European Commission has launched a public consultation on the forthcoming Strategic Innovation Agenda (SIA) of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), which is due to be published by the end of 2011. The consultation is open until 30 June 2011.

Innovation Policy: Proposals for Patent Protection to Boost Research and Innovation in Europe
The EC has unveiled two legislative proposals designed to reduce the costs of patents in Europe by up to 80%. The legislation is intended to enable any company or individual to protect their intellectual property through a single European patent, recognised in 25 EU Member States, and which thereby simplifies and reduces the costs of innovation. The draft proposals now pass to the European Parliament and Council of Ministers, where they require approval before they can enter into force as legislation.

FP8 Policy: LERU Event on Frontier Research
The League of European Research Universities (LERU) recently held an event in Brussels on “Frontier Research for Innovation”. The event included a keynote speech from Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, the European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, followed by a panel discussion on the future of European research and innovation funding, in particular frontier and basic research. The panel included Maria Da Graça Carvalho, the rapporteur for the European Parliament’s ITRE Committee (on Industry, Research and Energy) report on the simplification of the Framework Programme. Points supported by panel members included that excellence should remain the criterion for selecting Framework Programme projects, whilst structural funds should be used to build excellence.

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