The 2017 Innovative Training Networks call has opened with a deadline of 10 January 2017. This is part of Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions within Horizon 2020.
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).
The 2017 call documents, including the Guide for Applicants, and links to online submission are available on the Participant Portal.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Parliamentary Science and Technology Committee is examining the implications and opportunities of leaving the EU for UK science and research. The Committee is holding hearings on this during July, and invites written submissions during that period.
Yesterday’s session saw Kevin Baughan (Chief Development Officer, Innovate UK), Professor Philip Nelson (Chair, Research Councils UK) and Jo Johnson MP (Minister of State for Universities and Science) questioned.
Kevin Baughan (Innovate UK) underlined that the business sector is an important recipient of Horizon 2020 funds and that companies have already expressed concerns about decreased opportunities for collaboration. He underlined the importance of confidence, both in the sustainability of contracts beyond two years and of those from other EU Members States in UK partners. The more information the UK Government can give as to what will happen, the more confidence there will be. There is a huge risk to the UK in a two-year pause in excellence and innovation.
Philip Nelson (RCUK) stated that the biggest risks of Brexit are around the mobility of people as the UK has to continue to be seen as a destination for expertise. The creation of UKRI and the changes in the HE Bill have been ongoing for some time and he stated that it will be crucial that UKRI has a strong voice in the Brexit negotiations. He also mentioned much anecdotal evidence of UK partners being removed from consortia and leading researchers deciding not to risk coming to the UK and is concerned by this; RCUK will continue to monitor UK participation in applications to Horizon 2020.
Jo Johnson reiterated his earlier message stating that the UK Government is fully committed to science and to ensuring that the UK remains a ‘science powerhouse’. The Government is currently undertaking planning and analysis across all areas, and science will be a big part of that. In terms of opportunities, the Government needs communication from the research community to help identify new flexibilities in the relationship with the EU and how they can be exploited. He told the Committee that the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) is working on a comprehensive Communications Strategy to ensure it is clear that Brexit doesn’t mean increased insularity, but rather that the UK is now even more open and globally-minded. He also said that it has been made clear, both by BIS and by Commissioner Moedas that there should be neither soft (in the construction of consortia) nor hard (in the assessment and awarding of grants) discrimination against UK participants. Statements of assurance from the Commission need to be regularly reiterated and he is working with Moedas on this. Mr Johnson is concerned to hear anecdotal reports that UK partners are being rejected as participants in and leaders of consortia and has set up a unit which is ready to receive evidence. An email address (firstname.lastname@example.org) has been set up to which people to submit examples of this kind of behaviour.
Further details are available for subscribers to the UKRO website and to all from the Select Committee inquiry page.
Obviously the recent EU referendum result has raised the question of whether UK-based institutions can continue to apply to Horizon 2020 and other EU funding programmes. Whilst we don’t have too much information at the moment, Jo Johnson, Minister of State for Universities and Science, has issued a statement clarifying the current position for UK HE.
It states that the referendum result does not have any immediate effect on those applying to, or participating in, Horizon 2020. UK participants can continue to apply to the programme in the usual way.
Future access to EU higher education and science funding will be a matter for future discussions and it is stated that the Government is “determined to ensure that the UK continutes to play a leading role in European and international research”.
We will put further info on this blog as we get it.
You might be interested to note that UKRO has set up a page listing all the ongoing EU consultations related to Horizon 2020, including the preparation of future work programmes, the interim evaluation of H2020 and developments related to the next framework programme such as the creation of the European Innovation Council.
There are currently a number of ongoing consultations on the next work programmes for different parts of H2020. These are good opportunities to feed in your ideas and shape the future content of work programmes and specific calls for proposals. You can find these listed here but will need an UKRO account to access this page.
As we are a subscribing organisation, any Northumbria colleague can set up an UKRO account which will enable you to receive daily update emails on EU funding opportunities, events, and policy developmens relevant to UK-based academics.