The day will feature presentations from a number of speakers including the European Commission, National Contact Points from the UK, Ireland, Cyprus and Poland, Enterprise Europe Network and the Knowledge Transfer Network. The event will give lots of useful information about the themes of the upcoming calls under Societal Challenge 5 as well as related priorities under Societal Challenge 2. The day will also include a best practice UK SME speaker, and an opportunity to pitch your project idea or collaboration opportunity.
The event is free to attend but you must register in advance.
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…
Tuesday 1 November 2016 12.00 – 4.00pm at the Berrick Saul Building, University of York, a networking lunch will be provided.
I4i is a translational funding scheme that supports preclinical and clinical development of innovative medical technologies. I4i aims to ‘de-risk’ early stage projects with strong potential for commercialisation and use in the NHS and make them attractive to follow-on funders/investors.
This is an opportunity to hear from the Director of the i4i programme, Martin Hunt, exactly what makes a strong and fundable bid. Advisers from the Research Design Service Yorkshire and the Humber will also be available to give informal advice.
The event will cover:
An overview of the i4i programme
Practicalities of applying
What the funding panel look for in applications
Examples of successful and current i4i research
Researcher experience of applying for i4i
Role of the NIHR Research Design Service (RDS) in supporting i4i applicants
Public involvement in research
Role of the RDS in supporting other NIHR and national peer reviewed funding streams
ITNs are the main strand of funding in Horizon 2020 aimed at supporting Early Stage Researchers (doctoral researchers). The scheme supports joint training and/or doctoral programmes implemented by partnerships of universities, research institutions, research infrastructures, businesses and other socio-economic actors. There are three different strands to apply for: European Training Networks (ETN), European Industrial Doctorates (EID) and European Joint Doctorates (EJD).
UKRO, in its capacity as MSCA National Contact Point, is organising an ITN Information event at the University of West London on 12 October 2016. If you’re interested in attending, register online here.
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.
Guest blogger, Dr Tamsin Saxton, Senior Lecturer in Psychology at Northumbria University shares the insights she gained at an event designed to provide information to support academics in creating and capitalising on opportunities to work with industry. Below, she summarises the key take-home points explaining why industry collaborations are useful, possible barriers to these collaborations, and how to go about setting up and developing collaborations.
Benefits of collaborations
Academics and universities have a lot to gain from collaborating with industry, whether that be local small businesses, global enterprises, or something in between. Industry collaborations can add substantive content, innovation, and expertise to research funding applications. In some instances, industry might contribute directly to university projects, perhaps by supplying funding, or making available rich and extensive data sets. The best applied research addresses fundamental real-world problems; one of the best ways to uncover those problems can be through industrial collaborations, and successful resolution of those problems can lead to the kind of impact that may well be needed in the next REF. Industry collaborations can also enhance the student experience, such as through work experience opportunities or guest lecture invitations.
Industry also has a lot to gain from collaborations with universities. Universities can offer the best in cutting-edge research, which can be tremendously exciting to an enterprise which might be using outdated approaches, or might just not have the time and resources to dedicate to innovation. Even the largest organisations often do not have the research capacity to innovate constantly in relation to all of their activities, which is why we see universities collaborating with industries of all shapes and sizes. A university collaboration can be a mark of prestige and value to a business organisation, increasing its value and standing among its competitors, and also in the eyes of evaluators such as investors. Collaborations also provide opportunities for businesses to reflect upon their working practices.
Collaborations with businesses in the North-East of England have their own particular benefits. Compared to the rest of the UK, the North-East has the lowest number of start-up companies per capita. Accordingly, local collaborations can help improve this record, while building the regional economy and innovative capacity, and potentially tackling specific societal and economic challenges.
Barriers to collaboration
The establishment of industrial collaborations, however, entails overcoming a number of barriers. Universities do not always market their expertise well; it can be very difficult for external organisations to find out essential information: the expertise, skills and equipment available; who is available for and interested in collaborations; how to go about making and developing contacts. Universities can appear to be alien, intimidating environments; the idea of the ‘ivory tower’ can be off-putting. In addition, universities can be perceived to be expensive working partners, they have different priorities from businesses, and businesses and universities speak a different language and run on different timescales.
Developing successful projects
There are a number of ways to try to overcome the barriers to collaboration and develop successful projects. University Business Engagement Managers are very happy to talk to academics and provide support. They can point academics to suitable business representatives who are also keen to encourage new projects that will support businesses. Indeed, it can often be wise to involve a trusted body, such as an organisation that provides representation for a set of industries, in a project or a funding application. This body can guide academics to suitable local contacts, and explain the priorities, schedules, and needs of the particular industry in question. It’s always important to keep in mind that successful projects are only built on successful relationships with people, and so building relationships has to be paramount. Starting with a small project, such as a dissertation project, can be a good way to build trust and knowledge of different working styles and needs. Finding out what the industry needs, and offering to help, is a more effective opening gambit than striding in with a request for money, input, or project commitment. Finally, once the project is up and running, then a few things might help it proceed smoothly: have a clear plan; establish common goals and projects; and build in engagement opportunities such as workshops or seminars where you keep people up to date with the project development and particularly its successes.
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.
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.
Further to my blog post yesterday on the House of Commons Select Committee inquiry into the implications for science and research of leaving the EU, the official transcript of the proceedings is now available. A further call for evidence was also launched to assist in developing a list of risks and opportunities which shoudl be included in the Government’s future EU negotiating strategy. Submissions should be made online by Monday 22 August.