Getting closer to Horizon 2020 – work programmes published

EU flag at the European Parliament by European Parliament CC BY-NC-ND 2.0The European Commission has started to make work programmes available for the various thematic strands of the new research, development and innovation programme Horizon 2020. They are still draft workprogrammes but it is likely that they are close-to-final versions and will give a fairly accurate indication of the content of the calls to be published over the next two years.

The European Parliament voted to approve the Horizon 2020 programme earlier this week which means that the Council of the EU member states now needs to give its approval. It is expected that this will happen in the next couple of weeks, meaning that the first calls should be published on 11 December 2013 as planned, with the official programme start date of 1 January 2014.

Future Horizon 2020 calls for proposals will be will be published on the Commission’s Research Participant Portal, which will be re-launched and updated for the start of Horizon 2020.


European Research Council calls forecast

erc_logoThe European Research Council (ERC) (part of Horizon 2020) provides attractive, long-term funding to support excellent investigators and their research teams to pursue ground-breaking, high-gain/ high-risk research. Proposals are judged solely on the basis of scientific excellence and applications can be made in any field of research. Interdisciplinary proposals are encouraged.

The draft European Research Council (ERC) Work Programme for 2014 has been published on the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 website.  Although it is not the final version, it has been approved by EU Member States and is not expected to change substantially.

The planned call publication and deadline dates in 2014 dates are:

  • Starting Grants: call published on 11 December 2013, deadline on 25 March 2014
  • Consolidator Grants: call published on 11 December 2013, deadline on 20 May 2014
  • Advanced Grants: call published on 17 June 2014, deadline on 21 October 2014

To be eligible for a Starting Grant, applicants must have held a PhD for between 2-7 years at the publication date of the call for proposals. Consolidator Grant applicants should have held their PhD for more than 7 but less than 12 years. There are no specific eligibility criteria for an Advanced Grant.

Starting Grants are designed to support excellent PIs at the career stage at which they are starting their own independent research team or programme. Applicants must demonstrate the ground breaking nature, ambition and feasibility of their scientific proposal. Starting Grants may be awarded up to a maximum of 1 500 000 euro for a period of 5 years.

If you are interested in developing a proposal, contact the Research Funding and Policy Managers in RBS.



Making sense of Erasmus+

The European Commission has recently indicated that the first call for proposals under the Erasmus+ programme will be announced in December 2013.

A series of briefing sessions will be held on this new programme aimed at helping UK HEIs prepare for the funding opportunities available. Events will be held in Birmingham, Liverpool, Glasgow, Belfast, Cardiff and London between now and the end of the year.

The Erasmus+ programme is intended to support activities in education, training, youth and sport in all areas of Higher Education, Further Education, adult education, schools, and youth activities.

The Erasmus+ programme will be grouped into Actions:European Commission

Key Action 1: Learning Mobility of Individuals is the ‘traditional’ Erasmus programme which provides opportunities for individuals (students and staff) to improve their skills, enhance their employability and gain cultural awareness.

Key Action 2: Co-operation for Innovation and Good Practices will enable organisations to work together to improve their provision for learners and share innovative practices.

Key Action 3: Support for Policy Reform covers any type of activity aimed at supporting and facilitating the modernisation of education and training systems.

Click on the link for further information on the events and the programme.




New UKRO Horizon 2020 resources

horizon2020The UK Research Office (UKRO) has published some useful new Horizon 2020 resources.

As well as a condensed factsheet giving an overview of the programme, there is a factsheet explaining how the work programmes are developed and how to influence the content of them in the future. (Copies of the draft work programmes are available on the Northumbria University intranet).

There are also information sheets on the different pillars of the programme, Excellent Science, Industrial Leadership and Societal Challenges, as well as the specific topics within each pillar. These detail the priorities for each topic, funding and eligibility requirements and likely call timings.

Further information is available from the UKRO website. Northumbria University is a subscriber to UKRO. To access these documents, you need to be registered and this can be done quickly on their website. It will also allow you to be on the mailing list for specific funding information in your area of interest.


Northumbria University ECR Forum

Magnifying glass by Rafael Anderson Gonzales Mendoza CC BY-NC-SA 2Following the Early Career Researchers Forum held on 30th October, we have now created an ECRs page on the Northumbria University intranet. It provides a space for information on the forum, working group and contact details. We are also looking at putting other resources of interest to ECRs across the university.

The Forum meets four times per year and is currently chaired by Dr Robert Finn from the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences. It is led by a working group, consisting of two representatives from each faculty.If you have any questions on the Forum, its activities or how to get involved, please contact your faculty representative. Further details at: ECR Forum


Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation grant opportunities

exclamation mark by Leo Reynolds CC BY-NC-SA 2.0The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has announced 3 new funding opportunities.

1. The Grand Challenges Explorations programme call for proposals is now open. Applicants can be at any experience level,  and from any discipline and organisation, including universities. Proposal topics include the following:

  • Innovations in Feedback & Accountability Systems for Agricultural Development
  • Inciting Healthy Behaviours
  • Novel Enabling Tools and Models Supporting the Development of Interventions for Severe Diarrhoea and Enteric Dysfunction
  • Develop the Next Generation of Condom
  • The “One Health” Concept: Bringing Together Human and Animal Health

Initial grants will be US $100,000 each, and projects showing promise will have the opportunity to receive up to US $1 million additional funding. The deadline is 12 November.

2. The Grand Challenges India partnership launched Reinvent the Toilet Challenge – India, to support the development of sustainable sanitation solutions for urban and rural populations in India and the developing world. Grants will be to Indian researchers, but partnerships with researchers in other countries are encouraged. The application process requires a letter of inquiry to be submitted by 15 November.

3. The Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR), University of Ghana, Legon, Ghana has created the Noguchi Post-Doctoral Training Fellowship in Infectious Diseases, which seeks to train young African scientists in control methods for poverty-related diseases, equip them to compete effectively for international funding for research work in Africa, offer them international exposure, and facilitate their networking and collaboration with other institutions. The applications deadline is November 30, 2013.


Horizon 2020 Information Days and Brokerage Events

horizon2020In preparation for the launch of the new EU research and innovation programme, Horizon 2020, there are a number of information days and partner brokerage events coming up in the fields of key enabling technologies, energy and under Societal Challenge 5: Climate Action, Environment, Resource Efficiency and Raw Materials.

Details are below. We will continue to add details of future events of potential interest to Northumbria researchers as we receive them.

EU Brokerage Event on Key Enabling Technologies in Horizon 2020, 29 November 2013, Strasbourg

The EU Brokerage Event on Key Enabling Technologies (KETs) in Horizon 2020 will focus on:

  • Nanotechnologies
  • Advanced materials
  • Advanced Manufacturing and Processing
  • Energy efficiency in Buildings
  • Factories of the Future
  • Sustainable process industries

Participants will have the opportunity to present their own project concepts and to meet representatives from companies/SMEs, universities and research organisations in order to exchange ideas during pre-arranged meetings. In your profile you can state what kind of technology/product/expertise you are offering, what kind of cooperation you are looking for and which ideas you would like to discuss with potential collaboration partners.

The aim is to pave the way for future co-operations and European projects including Horizon 2020 call topics for 2014 and 2015. More information and registration details are available from the workshop website.

Horizon 2020 Energy Information Day for 2014 and 2015 calls, 5 December 2013, Brussels.

This event will give essential information on the calls for proposals which will be open in 2014 and 2015. These calls are expected to cover Energy Efficiency, Competitive Low Carbon Energy and Smart Cities and Communities. Activities extend from research to market including activities build on the experience of the previous Intelligent Energy Europe Programme in facilitating market uptake of energy technologies and services, fostering of social innovation and accelerating the cost effective implementation of the Union’s energy policies.

It will be an excellent networking opportunity for potential participants as well as a chance to understand the new rules for participation under Horizon 2020.

The deadline for registration is 28 November 2013. Please note that this event is expected to be heavily over-subscribed. You can register here.

EU Brokerage Event for the first Horizon 2020 Energy calls, 6 December 2013, Brussels

To support participation in the calls outlined in the event above, on the following day a Brokerage Event for the first Horizon 2020 Energy calls will be held. It aims to target a wide spectrum of companies, universities and researchers from Europe and beyond and will support the creation of consortia for the upcoming Horizon 2020 Energy calls on the 3 focus areas:

  • Energy efficiency
  • Competitive Low Carbon Energy
  • Smart Cities and Communities

The event is free of charge. The deadline for registration is 20 November.

Information day on Horizon 2020 2014 calls in Climate Action, Environment, Resource Efficiency and Raw Materials, 17 November 2013, Brussels.

The European Commission is holding an InfoDay on 12 November on the Horizon 2020 Societal Challenge 5: Climate Action, Environment, Resource Efficiency and Raw Materials. The event aims to explain the 2014-2015 Work Programme and will provide guidance on the preparation and submission of proposals under the 2014 calls.

Registration for this event has closed but if you are interested, you can watch the event online. More information



Global Initiative Grants competition opens

REF RoadshowsThe Global Innovation Initiative grant competition has been launched. It is jointly funded by the British Council, the UK Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the US Department of State.

Grants of £100,000 – £150,000 will be given to interdisciplinary higher education research partnerships of universities in the UK, US and selected countries including Brazil, China, India and Indonesia.

Proposals should focus on globally significant issues related to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) addressing one of the following themes:

  • Energy, environment and climate change
  • Agriculture, food security and water
  • Global health and wellbeing
  • Urbanisation

UK-led partnerships can apply through the British Council.  US-led partnerships can apply through the Institute of International Education.

The deadline for applications is the 16 December 2013. More information is available from the Global Innovation Initiative website.



Early Career Researchers Forum at Northumbria University

D Social Networking by StockMonkeys CC BY 2.0

Early Career Researchers ForumD Social Networking by StockMonkeys CC BY 2.0

This open meeting will be held on Wednesday 30th October from 9-10.30am in the auditorium on the ground floor of Mea House. All Northumbria Early Career Researchers are invited.

It will establish the Northumbria University ECR forum which aims to be a useful and supportive group that meets regularly.

This meeting will discuss the role of the group and identify how best to move forward in a way that will benefit all ECRs at the university. It will be an opportunity to share views, thoughts and experiences as well as provide support to ECRs and enable ECR representation at relevant University committees.

The forum will be a place to allow ECRs to form links, both social and professional; discuss research challenges and opportunities; to share experiences; and to decide on future activities and events to support ECRs at Northumbria University.

Research and Business Services will also give an overview of the research support they can give ECRs as well as highlighting some of the key funding streams of interest.

Please come along. You can confirm your attendance by contacting Esha Smith in RBS:


Erasmus +: New (and possibly improved) EU funding stream for HE

Brukselka by Barbiez Creative CommonsA new EU programme for education, training, youth and sport called Erasmus + will be launched in January. It will replace a raft of existing EU initiatives, such as the Lifelong Learning Programme, in one simpler, but financially much bigger, programme of around €16 million.

Northumbria will be able to continue to participate in the Erasmus programme, under the new Key Action 1, which gives both students and staff opportunities to work and study abroad.

There will also be opportunities to participate in Key Action 2 “Cooperation for innovation and the exchange of good practice”, which will support strategic partnerships among HE and with key stakeholders. Of particular interest, there will be funding for “knowledge alliances” between HE and business to promote creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship by creating new learning opportunities and qualifications.

“Sector skills alliances” will also be funded. These will be partnerships between education and training providers and business to promote employability by forming new sector-specific curricula and innovative vocational teaching. Key Action 3 is “Support for policy reform” which focuses on developing the evidence base for policy-making and exchange of good practices in HE and vocational training.

The programme will also include a new loan guarantee system to support students in financing Master’s degrees.

The European Commission promises that the new programme will be easier to access with a simpler structure and more flat-rate grants used. It remains to be seen whether this really is the case. The first call for proposals is expected to be in November for learning mobility actions, followed by a second call in the spring for co-operation for innovation and strategic alliances.

More info from the European Commission Erasmus + and UKRO