Horizon 2020: Consultation On ICT-Driven Public Sector Innovation

Code by Lindsey Bieda CC BY-SA 2.0Last week the European Commission announced an online public consultation on research and innovation in ICT-driven public sector innovation. The responses to this consultation will feed into the forthcoming Horizon 2020 work programmes around ICT. Contributions are welcomed from all stakeholders including researchers, academia, innovators, national administrations and businesses:

Consultation on directions for ICT-driven public sector innovation in the EU

The consultation document highlights some key drivers and trends, including open government based on open data, open services and participation, as well as basic technological tools and enablers, including big data which is open to being searched, analysed and mashed up with other tools and data sources to create innovative services. On the basis of this, the document identifies several possible focus areas for research and innovation which may form the building blocks for Horizon 2020 work programmes. These are:

In relation to the drivers and trends:

  • Open governance systems and how the public sector can create open ICT-supported platforms for public value creation.
  • ICT-supported co-created, personalised and high impact public services, including the use of social media and smart mobile devices.
  • Open participation and engagement supported by ICT across all areas of public sector operation.
  • Experiments with ICT-supported open, bottom-up and social innovation involving large numbers of actors.

In relation to basic technology tools and other enablers:

  • Infrastructures, processes and interoperability integrating different parts of the public sector, and linking the public sector with other actors.
  • The innovative use of open and big data by the public sector and together with other actors, including policy modelling tools.
  • Measurement and monitoring tools for use by the public sector itself or other actors.
  • Further development of Web 2.0 tools and the introduction of Web 3.0 methods.
  • Empowering the civil servant and making work processes more efficient and effective.
  • Identity management, personal data protection and data security.

The consultation is open until April 15th. If this is an area of research interest for you – and particularly if you are keen to explore future possibilities for EC funding under Horizon 2020 – you should seriously consider engaging with this consultation.


Horizon 2020: Workshop on Innovative Spatial and Urban Planning and Design

The Hilton Hotel Madrid Airport 2008 by UggBoy CC BY 2.0UKRO has highlighted an EC workshop on Innovative Spatial and Urban Planning and Design which will take place in Rome on 28th March, 2013. The purpose will be to identify potential research subjects on innovative spatial and urban planning and design in preparation for forthcoming calls in Horizon 2020. Calls on this topic will feature under the item: “The promotion of sustainable and inclusive environments through innovative spatial and urban planning and design” as part of the Inclusive, Innovative and Secure Societies strand.

Numbers are likely to be limited to 30 for the workshop itself, but the EC has indicated it will publish the results online. For information on how to express interest in joining the debate, you should consult the UKRO article (subscription is available for all University staff). Northumbria staff should contact Research Funding Managers within RBS if you’re interested in this agenda.


Horizon 2020: Cloud Computing, Software and Services – Draft Orientation Paper Available

IBM Cloud Computing by Ivan Walsh CC BY-SA 2.0The European Commission has this week released a document outlining initial thoughts on how the ICT Work Programme 2014-15 could address the future research and innovation challenges in Cloud Computing, Software and Services:

Orientation Paper: 2014 Cloud Computing, Software and Services

This paper is an advance opportunity to see the topics which may form part of the first ICT Work Programme in Horizon 2020. However please note that this is a draft and therefore priorities may be subject to change before the final publication of the Work Programme.

The paper presents two objectives with underpinning aims, rationale and outlines possible areas of activity which may form part of the next call. These are:

  1. Advanced Cloud Infrastructure and Services: Federated cloud networking; automated service composition; mobile cloud service development environments
  2. Innovative Tools and Methods for Software Development:  Tools and methods to manage complexity, system simulation, variability, testing and failure management across the software lifecycle; flexible and scalable tools for on-line collaborative software development

Funding Opportunities Update: Deadlines Jan-Feb 2013

We’ve added a new feature to the blog today – a funding opportunities page which will be updated regularly with the latest calls and upcoming deadlines for the months ahead. This contains information on funder, limits, deadlines, a summary of the call as well as a link to the funder’s webpage.

Every time the page is updated we’ll add a post to the blog highlighting a few of the key calls and opportunities.

ESRC – Knowledge Exchange Opportunities Scheme

The ESRC invites applications under its knowledge exchange opportunities scheme. This supports knowledge exchange activities at any stage of the research life cycle, and is aimed at maximising the impact of social science research outside academia.  The flexibility built into the scheme is intended to encourage applicants to think creatively about knowledge exchange, and applications are welcomed for either a single activity or a combination of activities; be it setting up a network to help inform the development of a research proposal, arranging an academic placement with a voluntary or business organisation, or developing tools such as podcasts and videos aimed at communicating the results of research to the general public, or developing existing research to make it more applicable to policy or practice.

Funding Limit: up to £120,000

Deadline: 07/02/2013

Link: Funder’s website…

Royal Geographical Society/EPSRC – Small Research Grants

The Royal Geographical Society invites applications for its small research grants. Grants are available to individual researchers pursuing geographical research working in a UK higher education institution and can be used for travel, maintenance, data collection and temporary research assistance. Grants available include: small research grants of up to £3,000 are available to society members and fellows; EPSRC research grants of up to £3,000 are available to fund research of relevance to the EPSRC topics.

Funding Limit: up to £3,000

Deadline: 18/01/2013

Link: Funder’s website…

NERC/ESRC/DfID – Ecosystem Services for Poverty Alleviation Grants

The Natural Environment Research Council, in partnership with the Department for International Development and the Economic and Social Research Council, invites applications for grants from the ecosystem services for poverty alleviation programme. These grants are for empirical, inter- and multidisciplinary projects that address a range of ecosystems and associated benefits, and are linked to a multi-dimensional analysis of poverty and the ways that poor people can move out of poverty. There are three themes in this call: theme A – sustainable, ecosystem-based pathways out of poverty or routes out of poverty; theme B – ecosystem services and the urban environment; theme C – building on ESPA success.

Funding Limit: £200,000 – £500,000

Deadline: 23/01/2013

Link: Funder’s website…

European Commission – ERC Consolidator Grants

Consolidator grants aim to boost the independent careers of excellent researchers by providing adequate support at the critical stage at which they are consolidating their own independent research team or programme. Each applicant must be a legal entity established in a member state or associated country, and the principal investigator must have been awarded a PhD between seven and 12 years prior to this call. The budget for this call is €523 million, to be split thus: 44 per cent for physical sciences and engineering, 39 per cent for life sciences and 17 per cent for social sciences and humanities. Funding will cover up to 100 per cent of eligible costs.

Funding Limit: Total budget €523 million

Deadline: 21/02/2013

Link: Funder’s website…

More calls can be found on the new funding opportunities page.


ARTEMIS 2012 Call: Embedded Systems

The ARTEMIS Joint Undertaking, a European public-private partnership for research funding in embedded systems, has just released its 2012 call for funding. The deadline for full proposals is 6th September 2012.

You can read a summary of the call on the ARTEMIS 2012 call page. Full details can be found on the EU Participant Portal call page – you should read Work Programme Part A if you’re interested in the sub-programmes (areas of research around real-world applications of embedded systems) and Part B if you’re interested in the innovation pilot projects (technology development for user and business needs in the area of embedded systems).

Areas of Interest

The sub-programmes are (see Work Programme Part A for a full explanation of what is expected in each area):

Methods and processes for safety-relevant embedded systems
Embedded Systems for Healthcare and Wellbeing
Embedded systems in Smart environments
Embedded Systems for manufacturing and process automation
Computing platforms for embedded systems
Embedded Systems for Security and Critical Infrastructures Protection
Embedded Systems supporting sustainable urban life
Human-centred design of embedded systems

The innovation pilot programme priorities are (see Work Programme Part B for a full explanation):

Critical Systems Engineering Factories
Innovative Integrated Care Cycles
Seamless communication and interoperability – Smart environments: the Neural System for society
Production and Energy Systems Automation
Computing platforms for embedded systems
“Intelligent-Built” environment and urban infrastructure for sustainable and “friendly” cities

Eligibility Issues

To apply you’ll need at least three organisations from three participating member states (see the eligibility criteria for more on this). For the UK, universities can be involved but you’ll also need a UK-based industrial partner, because the UK element of the call is coordinated by the Technology Strategy Board.

In terms of costs, universities can claim up to 80% FEC, but note that the total consortium funding can only be up to 50% of total project costs – so industrial partners and SMEs would have to claim proportionately less to balance the budget. In addition, UK academics can only apply if they have previously held an EPSRC grant and the ARTEMIS application is a continuation of this research.

Please get in touch for support and advice if you’re interested in developing a project for this call.

What’s an embedded system?

Embedded systems are technologies which are part of everyday artefacts and systems: “from children’s toys and mobile phones to space probes and from transportation vehicles to healthcare systems.” Embedded systems play a key role in the “internet of things” which describes the potential virtual network of connections between real-life objects using, for example, radio frequency ID tags.

One frequently cited example of the benefits of embedded systems within an internet of things is the internet-enabled fridge. If a refrigerator was able to monitor its contents, then it could know when you are running short on milk and notify you to pick some up on your way home – or even automatically place an order with your local supermarket and have it delivered. It’s not just fridges and food, though, embedded systems could potentially revolutionise our way of life, reducing waste and improving a wide range of systems that humans interact with on a daily basis.


FP7 People Update: Calls, Plans and Success Stories

The EC’s Framework Programme 7 People theme (sometimes called Marie Curie Actions) can be used to fund researchers from anywhere in the world to come to the UK for a period of 1-2 years to carry out a research project in any discipline, from humanities to the physical sciences. Calls for fellowships are made once per year and the deadlines are usually in early-mid August.

There has been a number of recent announcements on the People programme from both UKRO and the EC, including forthcoming calls for 2012, a heads-up on plans for the People Programme in 2013, and a call by the Research Executive Agency for Success Stories from previous Marie Curie Actions.

Calls for 2012

Calls for the three different types of Marie Curie Fellowships are expected to open in mid-March according to the EC’s Participant Portal, but if you know a potential fellow you should be making contact now and starting to prepare the application. The People Work Programme for 2012, which details all the calls and priorities within the People theme, is already out and the deadlines are expected to be 16th August 2012 for Intra-European Fellowships, Incoming International Fellowships and International Outgoing Fellowships.

Members of staff at Northumbria University should contact us if you would like to discuss any of these calls further, or if you’d like help and advice with a bid.

Plans for 2013 People Programme

UKRO has made available some early indications of plans for the People programme in 2013 for UK subscribers to their service. You will need to register for an UKRO account if you have not already done so. This is free to Northumbria University staff and is well worth the five minutes it takes to set up. Anyone interested in EU funding is advised to take a look at stories like this because they can contain vital early intelligence about upcoming priorities and themes within different FP7 research programmes.

REA Wants Marie Curie Success Stories

The Research Executive Agency (REA) has issued a call for success stories which have emerged from funded Marie Curie Actions. Newsworthy stories will be published by the REA for maximum publicity which could be good news for you as well if your story is featured. UKRO has asked anyone who thinks they have a potential success story to email them (mariecurie-uk@bbsrc.ac.uk) so that they can pass it on to the REA.


FP7 People: Fellowships Results Published!

UKRO reports that the preliminary results for the Framework Programme 7 People Programme Individual Fellowships have been published by the Commission. The full lists for all three types of fellowships (incoming, outgoing and intra-european) are available on the FP7 Participant Portal, under Additional documents for each call:

FP7 People: 2011 Individual Fellowships Preliminary Results

The preliminary results assign one of five categories to each submitted project. Category A proposals are on the main funding list and prospective fellows will already have been contacted by the Commission to begin negotiations. Category B proposals are on the reserve list and applicants need to wait until the first round of negotiations with category A projects has concluded to know whether there is sufficient budget for them to go ahead. This can happen for example when a category A applicant withdraws. Categories C, D and E have been rejected for various reasons, either because of funding constraints or where the proposal was below the quality threshold or not evaluated. You’ll need to know the proposal acronym or proposal number in order to check where your project appears on the list.

Individual fellowships from the People Programme – also called Marie Curie Actions – enable researchers based in Europe to spend 1 – 2 years carrying out a research project in another EU member state (intra-european fellowships), or outside of Europe (outgoing fellowships). The international incoming fellowships fund researchers based outside of Europe to come into a European research institution. The fellowships are attractive both because they offer a relatively high reimbursement for fellows and because they are “bottom up” in the sense that the applicant and host institution jointly decide the topic and plan the research programme.

Northumbria University staff should contact Teresa Kirby, European Strategy Manager to find out more about Individual Fellowships and for assistance with any proposals.