Although we’re not yet half way through Horizon 2020, the European Commission’s 8th framework programme for research and innovation, discussions have already started about the successor programme, Framework Programme 9 (FP9). Although UKRO have said that the Commission does not yet have a “masterplan ” for FP9, it is clear that the Commission is keen on a “co-creation” approach this time and has noted that there were big changes from FP7 to Horizon 2020 and further huge restructures are unlikely to be useful. However, it is likely that there will be small changes and some flexibility in the last few years of Horizon 2020, enabling the creation of a European Innovation Council as proposed by the Research Commissioner, Carlos Moedas, and this will presumably continue into FP9.
Following discussions at an FP9 event in Brussels yesterday, Research Professional reports that as a result of political pressures from member states, defence research and a focus on capacity building for the newer member states will be included in future proposals. There may also be a greater focus on innovation, with a more industry-friendly programmes although there is no detail at this stage of what this may look like.
The Commission has asked a range of experts to consider the societal challenges that should be included in FP9 and this will be followed by a public consultation later this year. The proposal for FP9 is likely to be published in early 2018.
And then there is the question of the UK’s relationship with the EU by the time FP9 starts in 2021…
UKRO has informed us that UK organisations that bid directly to the European Commission for LIFE projects will have the payment of their awards underwritten by the Treasury, even when the project continues after the UK leaves the EU. This is reassurance that UK organisations can continue to bids to this programme up to the Brexit date with a funding guarantee for successful projects. LIFE is the EU’s funding programme for climate action, nature conservation and the environment.
This news follows the August statement from the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Treasury confirming that EU funding will be guaranteed beyond the date the UK leaves the EU. The statement provides assurance that “where UK organisations bid directly to the European Commission on a competitive basis for EU funding projects while we are still a member of the EU, for example universities participating in Horizon 2020, the Treasury will underwrite the payments of such awards, even when specific projects continue beyond the UK’s departure from the EU”. It was also reiterated that British universities and research organisations should therefore continue to apply for EU funding through mechanisms such as Horizon 2020 while the UK remains a member of the EU.
A virtual information day will be held on 20th September for potential applicants to the calls for project proposals under the 2016-2017 Horizon 2020 Work programme ‘Secure, clean and efficient energy’. Presentations by European Commission speakers will cover:
- Relevant Horizon 2020 topics that will open for submission in 2016, in particular the novelties and changes in the updated Work Programme;
- Submission and evaluation process;
- Best practices from successful applicants.
The Secure, Clean and Efficient Energy Challenge is based on the following research areas:
- Reducing energy consumption and carbon footprint
- Low-cost, low-carbon electricity supply
- Alternative fuels and mobile energy sources
- A single, smart European electricity grid
- New knowledge and technologies
- Robust decision making and public engagement
- Market uptake of energy and ICT innovation.
You need to register in advance in order to participate in the info day.
As National Contact Point for Horizon 2020 Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions, UKRO is holding two info events on the current Innovative Training Networks call. This call will open on 15 September and will close on 10 January.
The events will be held on 26 September at the University of Manchester and 12 October at the University of West London. They are aimed at those interested in applying to this call and will take participants step by step through the proposal format and issues to consider when developing an application.
In both cases attendance is free but registration is essential. This can be done on the UKRO website. If you are not an UKRO member, you can sign up here.
Innovative Training Networks support joint research training and/or doctoral programmes, implemented by European partnerships of universities, research institutions, industry and other non-academic organisations. The research training programmes are intended to provide doctoral students with excellent research skills, coupled with experience outside academia, hence developing their innovation capacities and employability prospects.
Net4Society, the Network of National Contact Points for Horizon 2020 Societal Challenge 6 “Europe in a changing world – Inclusive, innovative and reflective societies”, has recorded a webinar on impact in Societal Challenge 6 projects, focusing on how the impact of proposals is assessed by evaluators. It is an hour long but worth a watch if you are developing an application to this Societal Challenge or have a H2020 project proposal with a significant Social Sciences and Humanities element.
The European Research Council has launched the 2017 Starting Grants call today. The deadline is 18 October. Starting Grants are for talented researchers with 2-7 years of post-PhD experience and strong track records. Attractive long-term funding of up to € 1.5 million is available for projects of up to 5 years duration.
The Consolidator Grants call (for researchers with 7-12 years post-PhD experience and a track record showing scientific talent) will open on 20 October with a deadline of 9 February and the Advanced Grants call (for researchers with a 10 year track record of leadership in their field) will open on the 16 May 2017 with a deadline of 31 August next year.
If you are interested in applying to any of these calls, please contact your faculty Research Funding and Policy Manager who can advise you on the next steps.
As UK National Contact Point for Horizon 2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA), UKRO is holding an information event for those interested in applying to the 2017 MSCA Innovative Training Networks call, which has a deadline of 10 January 2017.
The event will be held from 10.30 – 16.00 on Friday 16 September at the University of Manchester. It will give participants an overview of the call, the proposal format and the aims of the Innovative Training Network programme. Attendance is free but registration is essential. Places will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. You can register on the UKRO website. If you are not already an UKRO subscriber, you can sign up here.
Innovative Training Networks (ITNs) train early stage researchers (typically PhD students) and provide skills development and experience in the academic and non-academic sectors through international, interdisciplinary and intersectoral mobility. ITNs are collaborative research projects run by consortia of academic and non-academic partners across EU Member States and Associated countries.
UKRO has stated that there will be another similar event to be held in London during October. We will share more info here when we have it.