Policy News

April 2019

The Guild on the implementation of Horizon Europe and priorities for SSH research
The Guild has published two position papers on Horizon Europe proposals and Social Sciences and Humanities.
• “The Guild’s proposals for a successful implementation of Horizon Europe and its Strategic Planning process” addressees the implementation of the Programme, arguing that the Programme should pioneer new structures for scientific advice through the establishment of Expert Groups. Experts from Social Sciences and Humanities should be included on such groups, which require balanced compositions. The paper concludes that Horizon Europe has the potential of accelerating the relationship between science, citizens and decision-makers.
• “The Guild’s priorities for Horizon Europe’s Culture, Creativity and Inclusive Society cluster” looks at democratic resilience, societal needs and human resilience connected to technological change, and the democratisation of language and culture. Research and innovation will play a fundamental role: exploring the building blocks of democracy; empowering democratic participation; creating pathways to nurture trust as a foundation of democracy; and fostering inter-generational and inter-cultural dialogues.

UK government project to explore setting up an international research fund
The UK Government is undertaking a study exploring the alternatives around setting up a UK international research fund – particularly in light of concerns about future eligibility for European Research Council grants and Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions.

The study will be conducted by Professor Sir Adrian Smith of the Alan Turing Institute and the Terms of Reference can be found on our website and online. In the immediate term he will advise on the potential alternatives to Horizon Europe association, including a Discovery Fund.

The details of the participation of third countries and associated countries in the Horizon Europe Programme from 2021 are still to be agreed. “Our ambition is to have the option to associate to Horizon Europe, but we need to ensure that it is value for money,” Science Minister Chris Skidmore told the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee, “we have to look responsibly about what we do about ERC, what we do about those other grants that may not be covered, even in association to Horizon Europe,”.

The Government will “shortly” be publishing an international research and innovation strategy (IRIS).

An update to UK Government Guidance: Horizon 2020: what it is and how to apply for funding was published on 26 March.

EU agrees approach on Horizon Europe
In the early hours of the 20th of March the EU institutions – Council, Parliament and Commission - reached a partial agreement on the Horizon Europe proposals, successfully getting to this crucial point before the Parliament breaks for elections. The agreement does not cover the Programme’s budget, nor the rules regarding the involvement of associated countries, which will be discussed later.

Some headline points include:
• a new culture and creative cluster has been introduced.
• Five mission areas are agreed: Adapting to climate change, including societal transformation; Cancer; Healthy oceans, seas, coastal and inland waters; Climate-neutral and smart cities; Soil health and food. The missions themselves will be decided through a strategic planning, process, and there may be more than one mission per area.
• the new European Innovation Council Accelerator for start-ups and SMEs will provide blended finance - combining grants and equity and other investment – and should spend at least as much on grants the current SME Instrument.
• 3.3% of Horizon Europe’s budget should support efforts to widen participation. More than the Commission’s proposal of 1.8% but less than the Parliament’s call for 4%. New measures include pre-submission proposal checks and a “hop-on” mechanism where projects can secure additional funding if institutions in widening countries join in at a later date.

This agreement next goes for approval by full Parliament and the member states in April. The budget, and the terms for associated countries will be when agreement is reached on the EU’s next seven-year budget (Multiannual Financial Framework) later this year.

A more detailed Briefing note on the state of play is available on our website.

UK and EU must not go separate ways in science, education and innovation, says The Guild
The Guild of European research-intensive universities has published a statement saying that “there is nothing to gain from the UK and the EU going separate ways in science, education and innovation” and urges politicians to lay the foundations for a strong and clear future for EU-UK collaboration, starting with assuring the UK’s full participation in Horizon Europe, Erasmus and the European Education Area.

Funding for EIC pilot actions
The European Commission has announced a number of activities for the final two years of the pilot phase of the European Innovation Council, including:
• Over €2 billion of funding in 2019-2020 for: “pathfinder” projects to support advanced technologies from the research base; and “accelerator” funding to support start-ups and SMEs develop and scale up innovations to the stage where they can attract private investment. Under the “accelerator” funding companies will be able to access blended financing (grants and equity) of up to €15 million.
• The Commission will appoint 15 to 20 innovation leaders to an EIC Advisory Board to oversee the pilot and prepare the future EIC.
More details in the Work Programme

UK-based researchers awarded a quarter of the ERC’s advanced grants
Congratulations to the UK-based researchers who have won the largest share the ERC”s advanced research grants announced this month. Of the 222 grants worth €540 million, 47 went to researchers in the UK.
ERC facts and figures – see the 2018 annual report.

EP Votes on Future Erasmus Programme
The European Parliament has voted on its report on the new Erasmus programme 2021-27. It calls for the current Erasmus budget to be tripled to allow more people to undertake more activities (the Commission had proposed doubling the current budget). The report also seeks to extend mobility activities to pre-school teachers, adult learners and young people practising sport. This report forms the basis of the EP’s negotiating position with the Council on the final shape of the next Erasmus programme.

March (II) 2019

European institutions “closer than ever” on agreeing Horizon Europe programme, but not there yet
Commissioner Moedas says that negotiations are “closer than ever” and “some further efforts are needed” in the “trilogue” meetings between the EU institutions (European Council, European Parliament, European Commission) on the Horizon Europe proposals. All parties have stressed their desire to conclude the negotiations and reach agreement - except for the budget - before the European Parliament elections. Whether this ambitious timing is achievable remains at question. A further trilogue meeting will take place next week (19 March).

Over 300 higher education institutions involved in bids to be “European University” pilot
Fifty-four alliances of universities from across the EU have put in applications to the Erasmus+ pilot call. With a budget of €60 million the first 12 European Universities will be selected by the summer of 2019. The aim is to have at least twenty European Universities by 2024. A second pilot call for proposals will be launched in October/November 2019 with a deadline in February/March 2020. To find out more about the European Universities initiative see the EU website and the East of England European Partnership briefing note.

UK government guidance on patent law in the event of ‘no deal’ Brexit
UK Government has published guidance on changes to Supplementary Protection Certificates (SPCs) and patent law in the event of no deal. More information can be found on IP and Brexit guidance, with links to technical notices and guidance on other areas of intellectual property.

Publication – 101 Ideas on the future of research and innovation in Europe
101 Ideas on the future of research and innovation in Europe” is a collection of proposals to stimulate debate on the future of research and innovation policy in Europe. The ideas arise from a year long series of meetings wherein groups of experts who advise the European Commission met with counterparts from across Europe. The book includes thoughts and suggestions reflecting a range of national perspectives.

Publication – The Role of Universities in Regional Innovation Ecosystems
An EUA study focuses on the role of universities in innovation ecosystems by analysing interactions between universities, companies, governmental agencies and other public organisations in nine different European regions. It shows the role that universities and university leadership play and how universities are developing the interplay between research, education, and innovation.

March (I) 2019

Reminder for organisations receiving Horizon 2020 funding to register their details
The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy updated Guidance on “The science, research and innovation sector and preparing for a no-deal EU Exit for a no deal EU exit” again reminds UK organisations receiving Horizon 2020 funding – including businesses - to register details on the portal on the GOV.UK website.

How universities can prepare for a no-deal scenario
The European University Association (EUA) and Universities UK have produced a briefing document aimed at helping Universities prepare for a potential no-deal Brexit. The document suggests general points that Universities can address themselves if they want to reduce the potential cost of a disorderly Brexit. Particularly, the document focuses on four areas.
• People, looking into students and staff affected by Brexit.
• Cooperation, understanding the future of EU-funded activities.
• Data, looking at shared information between the UK and the EU.
• Trade, explaining and adjusting to changes in the way that goods and services pass between the UK and the EU.

EU research ministers back areas for Missions in Horizon Europe
At their meeting in February EU research ministers agreed to five broad themes for Missions for Horizon Europe as a “balanced basis for a political agreement”. Commissioner Moedas explained that this was an agreement on the broad themes with the ultimate aim of getting people talking science in the street, the technical details and wordings are still to be resolved. It was certainly the case that there was much haggling at the meeting about precise wordings of the Mission titles.
• Adaptation to Climate Change, including Societal Transformation
• Cancer
• Healthy Oceans and Natural Waters
• Carbon-Neutral and Smart Cities
• Soil Health for sustainable food
The meeting also agreed on the proposed Partnerships for Horizon Europe.

As far as taking forward EU Council discussions regarding the proposed Specific Programme for Horizon Europe are concerned, this has been stalled over a dispute about the legal basis of this part of the proposals. Several delegations pleaded in favour of a pragmatic solution, which would allow informal consultation with the European Parliament to go ahead. This call for pragmatism was also urged at the European Parliament Committee (ITRE), where concerns were high that a lack of progress on this part of the proposals could prevent a partial agreement on Horizon Europe (i.e. excluding the budget) being reached before the European Parliament elections.

Business association calls for urgency in agreeing Horizon Europe
Business Europe is calling for Member States to show a sense of urgency and agree on Horizon Europe before the upcoming European Parliament elections, pointing out that companies also need regulatory certainty to plan long-term projects. The association is also asking for a bigger budget and a larger share of the budget for collaborative projects through a strengthening of the "Global Challenges and Industrial Competitiveness".

Warning that government’s proposed post-Brexit visa system is not fit for purpose
Sir Paul Nurse of the Francis Crick Institute is warning the Government that a future visa system for EU citizens “must not lock out skilled technical staff based on arbitrary salary thresholds” and that the current proposals are not fit for purpose. The government’s proposal is that a minimum salary of £30,000 will be required for a ‘skilled worker’ visa, and this is would exclude many technicians. The Russell Group has found that 27 per cent of university technicians earn less than £25,000.

Survey on international research and development
International R&D cooperation is on the rise around the world in both the private and public sector. Science|Business invites responses to a short, anonymous survey in order to understand the trend better.

February (II) 2019

House of Lords report on the implications of Brexit for UK participation in the EU’s flagship programmes Horizon and Erasmus
The UK should seek full participation in Erasmus and Horizon programmes as an associated third country – that is among the conclusions reached by the House of Lords EU Committee.

The UK has received substantial amounts of funding and other less tangible benefits built on decades of cooperation with European partners. ‘We urge the Government to confirm whether it will seek full association to the 2021–2027 Erasmus and Horizon Europe programmes as soon as possible, to maximise certainty and stability for UK students and researchers, and to enable them to plan for any changes’, the report says.

The House of Lords EU Committee Report ‘Brexit: the Erasmus and Horizon programmes’ follows its inquiry into the short and longer-term implications of Brexit for UK participation, assessing the options for UK policy. The inquiry took evidence from stakeholders, including the East of England European Partnership, looking at how changes would affect students, researchers and universities.

In the case of a ‘no deal’ scenario, the Lords Report highlights the urgent need for clarity on how the UK Government’s underwrite guarantee of funding would work in practice, and expresses particular concern that the UK would lose access to crucial parts of the Horizon 2020 programme, in particular European Research Council grants and Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions for which third countries are not eligible. If necessary, the UK should establish replacement schemes as quickly as possible.

Whether the UK leaves under a Withdrawal Agreement or with ‘no deal’ the UK can still seek to participate in the successor programmes Erasmus and Horizon Europe (2021-2027). The Lords ‘strongly believe’ that the UK should participate fully as an associate country and that this is a 'worthwhile investment'.

The Report refers to evidence submitted to the inquiry by the East of England European Partnership, including the positive impact and growing popularity of Erasmus + and the wider benefits it brings to employability and fostering entrepreneurship, as well as the drawbacks of replacement programmes where full association is lost. The witnesses to the inquiry were unanimous in calling for full association to the future programmes, and the report highlights the East of England’s concern about the already disruptive impact of uncertainty on projects that take a long time to plan and deliver.

If full associations to the future programmes are not negotiated, then the Lords conclude that replacement UK programmes with comparative levels of investment will be essential. It calls this a ‘formidable challenge’ that could take many years to match the ‘strength and productivity of the research collaborations built through the EU’s research programmes, and the prestigious reputation of funding instruments’.

February (I) 2019

Businesses urged to register on online portal
The Government is urging businesses benefitting from Horizon 2020 research funding to register their details on the online portal. Thousands are estimated to have not yet signed up. The portal was launched in September 2018 and is managed by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI). It asks all UK recipients of Horizon 2020 funding to provide basic information to make sure UK researchers and businesses can be informed of next steps if the government needs to underwrite Horizon 2020 funding.

Brexit Webinar Series – What’s next for EU & UK science and education
A recording of the Universities UK International webinar is available. This third webinar in a series, held in January, looks in detail at contingency planning and measures UK universities are advised to consider in relation to Erasmus + and Horizon 2020. The next webinar will take place in March.

European Commission publishes contingency proposal for Erasmus +
On 29 March 2019 there will be 21,000 Erasmus + students, trainees, youth learners, and educational staff) either in or from the UK. The Commission has published a proposal for contingency measures to avoid disruption for current beneficiaries if there is no deal. The measures will mean that activities which take place in the UK or involve entities or participants from the UK will continue to be eligible.

Department for Education has updated its Technical Notice on Erasmus + if there's no Brexit deal
The updated guidance replaces the August 2018 guidance. While British participants on placements in operation or applied for at the time of Brexit would continue to receive funding, the guidance does not commit the UK to funding for future students post-Brexit in the case no-deal.
• “In the event that the UK leaves the EU without a deal, the government’s underwrite guarantee will cover the payment of awards to UK applicants for all successful Erasmus+ … bids…. This includes projects and participants that are only informed of their success, or who sign a grant agreement, after the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, and commits to underwrite funding for the entire lifetime of the projects.
• “The guarantee covers funding committed to UK organisations. It does not cover funding committed to partners and participants in other Member States and other participating countries. This means that where a UK organisation is the lead member of a partnership, any funding it distributes to non-UK associated beneficiaries is not covered by the guarantee.”
It says that if UK leaves the EU without a deal, “the UK will engage with the European Commission with the aim of securing the UK’s continued full participation in Erasmus+ … until 2020.”

Research Council of Norway advising caution
The Research Council of Norway has published guidance in English on “What does Brexit mean for Norwegian Horizon 2020 participants?” With the potential prospect of a “no deal” Brexit, the Council recommends that Norwegian applicants “should think through all the potential ramifications before participating in applications coordinated by British institutions or companies…”

Public Sector Information – agreement reached on revised rules
European Parliament, the Council of the EU and the Commission have reached an agreement on a revised directive on the availability and re-use of public sector data. Once adopted, Member States will have two years within which to implement the revised rules in the newly named Open Data and Public Sector Information Directive. The scope of the Directive will be enlarged to include research data resulting from public funding and Member States will be asked to develop policies for open access to publicly funded research data. New rules will also facilitate the re-usability of research data that is already contained in open repositories.
A factsheet summarises the changes.

Photonics in Horizon Europe discussions

In an open letter to European Commissioners, three top scientists are arguing that photonics in Europe could be seriously compromised if it is not included in the Horizon Europe draft funding priority list. The letter says that this "would be a serious strategic mistake" and that it should be included as a tenth technology priority.

European Parliament has adopted its position on new InvestEU programme to support investment and access to finance from 2021 to 2027
The new InvestEU programme replaces the current EFSI (European Fund for Strategic Investments). MEPs adopted a number of amendments to the Commission’s InvestEU proposal, including setting a target of “at least 40%” of the overall financial envelope of the Programme for climate objectives.

Pervasive Computing to Quantify Urban Green Space Impacts on Health and Well-Being
This forthcoming workshop aims to mobilise an interdisciplinary community of scholarship and practice to address the impacts of urban green spaces on the health and well-being of citizens, using pervasive computing technologies as a unifying central concept. Abstracts are invited by 15 March 2019.

EIT Health
The University of Luxembourg has become a partner in the health research area of the European Institute of Innovation & Technology (EIT Health). The University has been working with technology giant Phillips and the start-up company Portabilis in the development of a combined sensor for the risk of falling in Parkinson’s patients. “EIT projects, in which ideas from various partners come together, will help us enormously to bring our basic research to the patient as a concrete benefit,” says Prof. Rudi Balling. It joins the UK’s current core partners in EIT Health: Imperial College; Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust; Newcastle University; Oxford AHSN; West Midlands AHSN; University of Oxford; Medtronic.

January (I) 2019

Universities warn of the threat of a ‘no deal’ Brexit
Leaving the EU without a deal is one of the biggest threats universities have ever faced – this is the message to MPs in an open letter jointly signed by UK university associations. They go on to warn that “it is no exaggeration to suggest that this would be an academic, cultural and scientific setback from which it would take decades to recover”. It highlights concerns about the impact on staff and students, supply chains and travel. University leaders are also calling on government to confirm as a matter of urgency that it will replace research funding sources from which the UK may be excluded after the end of March.

Crick staff survey on impact of ‘hard’ Brexit
A survey of Francis Crick Institute staff has found that half are less likely to stay in the UK when they leave the institute (25% much less likely, 26% less likely), and just 7% are confident that the UK will continue to attract top scientific talent.

Chinese funders express support for Plan S
Chinese funding organisations - National Science Library (NSL), National Science and Technology Library (NSTL), and the Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) - have reportedly expressed support for Plan S at an open access meeting in Berlin in December.

EU Ministers agree position on EU Space Programme 2021-27
In December the EU Council's position on the draft regulation on an EU space programme was agreed, and negotiations with the European Parliament will now begin. The position does not cover the budget – this will fall under the negotiations on the next multiannual financial framework (MFF). The Commission’s proposal suggests an overall budget of €16 billion: €9.7 billion for Galileo and EGNOS, €5.8 billion for Copernicus and €0.5 billion for SSA and GOVSATCOM. If finalised, the legislation will set up a new EU Agency for the space programme in Prague.

SME association publishes priorities for Horizon Europe negotiations
SMEunited (formerly known as UEAPME, an association for Crafts and SMEs in Europe) has published its priorities for Horizon Europe. It is calling for a 20% target for the participation of SMEs; continuing and building on the SME instrument from the current programme; and expresses support for European Parliament’s proposed amendments on open access (additional possibilities for opt-out), and more explicit inclusion of creative businesses in a cluster for inclusive and secure societies.

Publication: analysis of the relationship between research spending and research performance
The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has published an analysis, which “contributes to the evidence supporting our increased investment in science.” Conducted by RAND Europe, the study investigates the relationship between spending and research performance, looking at the consequences of lower levels of investment in research. It finds that “it will take around two to four years for changes in research spending to be reflected in research performance”.

Publication: assessing the regional socio-economic impact of the European R&I programme
An EU Joint Research Centre paper assesses the socio-economic impact of alternative policy scenarios for EU R&I funding at the EU and regional levels post-2020.

December (II) 2018

Inquiry launched - what will ‘no deal’ mean for science and innovation?
The House of Commons’ Science and Technology Committee has launched a new inquiry into preparedness in relation to science and innovation for a ‘No Deal’ Brexit. An oral evidence session will be held on 30 January 2019. Written contributions are invited on:
• what a ‘No Deal’ Brexit would mean for the science and innovation community; and
• the adequacy of what the Government and its non-departmental public bodies are doing to prepare for such an outcome.
Submissions received by 23 January will feed into questions at the hearing, however, the Committee will continue to accept submissions after this date.

Minister replies to Science and Technology Committee on No Deal preparations and Horizon 2020
In a reply to the Commons’ Science and Technology Committee, Minister Chris Skidmore says that the Commission has been “unwilling to begin conversations” about the impact of the UK’s change of status as negotiations on the withdrawal agreement and political declaration continue. The Committee had written to his predecessor asking for clarifications of matters raised in the No Deal Technical Notice, including on:
• Third Country participation in Horizon 2020 which does not provide access to European Research Council grants, some Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions, and the SME instrument. The Minister replies that “we are actively working with funders in the sector to identify appropriate measures can be put in place in the period immediately after EU Exit to ensure that the UK researchers are supported in the unlikely event of a no deal. Once further details have been finalised, we intend to provide more detail on these measures.”
• Cases where UK participants lead a consortium and are responsible for distributing funding to the other participants. The Minister replies that “Third country participants are eligible to coordinate projects and distribute funds, and we do not anticipate any issues with the UK continuing to do so after Exit.”

EU student exchanges and funding for university research inquiry

Time is running short, was a key message from university representatives at the House of Lords EU Home Affairs Sub-Committee hearings in December. While the underwrite guarantee may have provided some reassurance, the need for detail on its practical implementation is now critical and, anecdotally, there has been a reported ‘chilling effect’, especially in relation to UK organisations leading Horizon 2020 proposals. Find out more about the hearings, and the East of England European Partnership's submission.

Call for better integration of cultural and creative sectors into Horizon Europe
Thirty European organisations from across the cultural and creative sectors, have sent a joint letter to EU member states’ research Ministries calling for better integration of cultural and creative sectors in the proposed Horizon Europe programme, recognising the role of R&D in driving innovation and growth in the sectors.

Categories of aid cleared from EU state aid rules
A new regulation to exempt further categories of national subsidy from the standard checks required under EU state aid rules has been adopted by the Council. This includes the use of national funds combined with EU funds for 'Seal of Excellence' projects under the next framework programme on research and innovation (Horizon Europe). The Seal of Excellence is a label awarded to projects submitted to Horizon 2020 which were deemed to deserve funding but could not receive it due to the Programme’s budget limits. It recognises the value of the proposal and supports the search for alternative funding. The new regulation will help nationally-managed funds and EU-managed funds to be combined without having to prove that they do not distort competition in the single market.

Commission approves plan to give public funding to a joint research and innovation project in microelectronics
The European Commission has approved a project by France, Germany, Italy and the UK for research and innovation in microelectronics – concluding it is in line with EU State aid rules. The four countries will provide €1.75 billion in funding and the project should be completed by 2024. In 2014 the Commission adopted criteria under which Member States can support transnational projects of strategic significance, with the aim of encouraging support for projects that contribute to economic growth, jobs and the competitiveness of Europe.

Swedish universities in Brussels
The network of six Universities in South Sweden has opened an office in Brussels in order to strengthen the connections of the regional research and innovation system in south Sweden with European partners.

December (I) 2018

EU ministers agree position on Horizon Europe
Key milestones in the progress of the Horizon Europe proposals have been reached in the past few weeks. Following the European Parliament’s research committee adopting its position on Horizon Europe, the European Council has also agreed its overall position on the proposed regulation.

At the Competitiveness Council meeting on 30 November ministers reached its partial general approach on Horizon Europe and took note of a progress report on the specific programme implementing Horizon Europe. The agreement does not cover the budgetary aspects of the regulation as these depend on the agreement reached on the next Multiannual Financial Framework.

Heinz Faβmann, Austrian Federal Minister for Education, Science and Research, said: “Today's partial agreement on Horizon Europe, achieved in less than six months after we received the Commission's proposal, shows our common will to make rapid progress on this important piece of legislation. It paves the way for a rapid adoption of the package as soon as talks on the multiannual financial framework have been concluded.”

A number of countries have stated ongoing concerns, including Hungary arguing for an increased budget of 7% of the total budget of Horizon Europe specifically for ‘widening measures’ for low-performing countries and reserving the right to come back to the issue of geographical balance after the budget discussions; and other countries jointly expressing concerns about the issue of unequal payment of researchers in low-performing countries.

The European Parliament will finalise its position in full plenary session, probably in December, and negotiations will begin between Council, Parliament and Commission. All parties continue to stress the desire to conclude the negotiations and adopt the legislation before the end of the current Parliament’s term (April 2019).

European Open Science Cloud portal goes live
The European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) has been launched. The launch of the first version of the EOSC Portal is the entry point of the Cloud, provding a universal access channel through which all European scientists will be able to access, use and reuse research outputs and data across disciplines.

Commissioner Moedas likened the EOSC to 16th century English coffeehouses where the coming together of people of different backgrounds sparked new ideas.

EU Ministers and participants at the launch conference in Vienna adopted the Vienna Declaration, endorsing the EOSC governance structure and confirming their willingness to continue working together.

The European Commission has announced its EOSC team. Led by the former head of Delft University of Technology, Karel Luyben, the team of eleven includes Sarah Jones, associate director of the Digital Curation Centre in Glasgow.

Open Access – Plan S guidance
Guidance on how Plan S is to be implemented was presented by cOAlition S in London on 27 November. Plan S is an initiative for Open Access publishing – whereby from 2020, scientific publications that result from research funded by public grants must be published in compliant Open Access journals or platforms. The new guidance provides information and technical requirements on three avenues to Plan S compliance:
• Publication in Open Access Journals or Platforms;
• Deposit of Versions of Record (VoR) or Author Accepted Manuscript (AAM) in Open Access repositories without embargo;
• Publication in ‘hybrid’ journals only under transformative agreements.
It also gives an indication of the policies that the cOALition S funders (including UKRI) intend to put in place by January 2020.

cOAlition S welcomes feedback, in particular to identify areas that require further clarification. Feedback can be provided until the 1 February 2019.

LERU welcomed the guidance, especially on the implementation timeline, while identifying remaining questions. It sees Plan S as ‘a significant step forward to create a change in research culture and practice’ to be ‘welcomed by all who look for openness, impact and a change in the patterns of scholarly publishing.’

A step towards automatic mutual recognition of education qualifications
EU education ministers have adopted a Council recommendation on promoting automatic mutual recognition of higher education and upper secondary education and training qualifications and the outcomes of learning periods abroad. The aim is to put in place, by 2025, the steps necessary to achieve automatic mutual recognition without having to go through a separate recognition procedure.

MEPs vote on re-use of public data in the Public Sector Information Directive
The European Parliament's research committee (ITRE) agreed an amendment extending the Public Sector Information Directive (PSI) to research data, saying that that ‘all publicly-funded research data should be made open by default.’ It also added that ‘concerns relating to IPR (intellectual property rights), personal data protection and confidentiality, security, and legitimate commercial interests, should be taken into account in accordance with the principle “as open as possible, as closed as necessary”.’ Next steps involve the EU Council voting on its position in December, and the full European Parliament will agree its position at Plenary, before negotiations begin between Parliament, Council, and Commission.

Knowledge Centre for Global Food and Nutrition Security
The European Commission has a new Knowledge Centre for Global Food and Nutrition Security. The Centre will be led by the JRC and provide a reference point for scientific data supporting the EU's global commitment to end hunger, guarantee food security and improve nutrition levels in third countries where people lack access to sufficient affordable and nutritious food.

November (II) 2018

European Parliament Committee adopts opinion on Horizon Europe
On 21 November the European Parliament’s Industry, Research and Energy Committee (ITRE) agreed its position on the proposals for Horizon Europe. Around 4500 amendments were submitted to the Committee and MEPs voted and approved over 100 compromise amendments. MEPs voted in favour of calling for an increase in the proposed Horizon Europe budget for 2021-2027 to €120 billion in 2018 prices (compared to €83.5 billion, as proposed by Commission). Ministers from Member States will meet at the end of November at Competitiveness Council and aim to reach agreement on their position.

European university associations call for excellence, international collaboration, and an increased budget for Horizon Europe
European University associations issued a joint statement to stress that Horizon Europe must deliver on its aim to bring scientific, economic and social impact with an adequate budget. The statement includes:
• Excellence should be promoted wherever it occurs. Excellent researchers and innovators from all European countries should be stimulated to participate in the Framework Programme for Research & Innovation (FP). The current R&I divide should be addressed through the reinforcement of synergies with regional funds and national measures, rather than be treated as a specific objective of the FP.
• International collaboration between EU member states and other countries must be stimulated. The FP should stimulate and facilitate participation of third countries. All associated countries should be allowed to fully participate in the FP.
• Supports the European Parliament’s plea for a considerable increase of the Horizon Europe budget, and reiterates that the necessary budget to accomplish its projected objectives is €160 billion.
• Urges the European institutions to work towards a smooth start of Horizon Europe on 1 January 2021.

Research and innovation associations joint statement on PSI Directive and research data
EARTO, BusinessEurope, DIGITALEUROPE, the European University Association, and Science Europe have published a Joint Statement to voice concerns regarding the extension of the European Public Sector Information (PSI) directive to research data. The statement says a balanced and flexible approach to data sharing is essential, preserving scientific freedom and fostering collaboration and knowledge transfer from basic research to the market. “In the frame of the extension of the scope of the PSI Directive to research data, care needs to be taken to ensure that such balanced approach is preserved.”

The Commission has launched a new Funding & Tenders Portal
The Funding & Tenders Portal is the entry point for participants and experts in funding programmes and tenders managed by the European Commission and other EU bodies. It will cover:
• Search and apply for funding opportunities in calls for proposals
• Search a call for tender and submit a tender
• Manage grants
• Register as an expert, manage contracts and payments online.
Try it out.

Benchmarking of national innovation procurement policy frameworks
The Commission has published the draft results of the benchmarking of national policy frameworks for innovation procurement across the 28 European Member States, Norway and Switzerland. The study ranks the UK 9th among the 30 countries. The benchmarking reports and the national reports are available for download.

MEP own initiative report on industrial policy on AI and robotics
MEP Ashley Fox (Conservative) has presented an own initiative draft report to the Industry, Research and Energy Committee on “a comprehensive European industrial policy on artificial intelligence and robotics”. He calls for the creation of an ethical charter of best practice for AI and robotics that companies and experts should follow; and asks the Commission to consider setting up a task force for AI to provide the technical, ethical and regulatory expertise needed to support public actors. The deadline for tabling amendments is 29 November 2018 and the Committee will vote in January.

November (I) 2018

European Universities
The East of England has published a Briefing on the European Commission’s European Universities Initiative and the pilot Call for Proposals in the 2019 Erasmus+ Call published in October 2018.

House of Lords inquiry into UK’s future participation in Erasmus and Horizon Europe
The House of Lords EU Home Affairs Sub-Committee has launched an inquiry into the UK's future participation in the EU student exchange programme and EU funding for university research through the Horizon programme. Focusing on the short- and long-term impact of leaving the EU on the UK's participation in both programmes, a public call for written evidence is open until 21 November 2018.

Top scientists write to May and Junker
Scientists call for all parties in the Brexit negotiations to ensure “as little harm as possible is done to research”. 35 Nobel Laureates and Fields Medalists have written to Prime Minister May and President Juncker calling for a Brexit deal on science and innovation which allows the closest possible cooperation between the UK and the EU. They call on the UK to “step up its commitment” to the EU’s research and innovation programmes; and for the EU to act on Pascal Lamy’s report “opening up the programmes to ‘association by the best and participation by all’, based on a financial contribution that is fair to all.”

European Universities group support for Horizon Europe association agreements
The Guild of European Research-Intensive Universities has published its response to the Horizon Europe proposals. It says that Horizon Europe should build on strong association agreements with non-EU Member States without limitations to their association, as this will increase the prestige and quality of the programme, and help make the European Research Area become more competitive.

EU Settlement Scheme pilot: applicant eligibility
The government has published information about who is eligible to take part in the EU Settlement Scheme pilot – including EU staff at higher education institutions. The pilot is running from 1 November to 21 December 2018.

European Capital of Innovation (iCapital) Award
Athens has won the €1 million European Capital of Innovation Awards 2018, funded by Horizon 2020. The runner-ups (Aarhus, Hamburg, Leuven, Toulouse and Umeå) each receive €100,000. The prize money will be used to scale up local innovation activities and collaborate with other cities.

Quantum Technologies Flagship initiative launched
The long-term vision of the EU’s Quantum Technologies Flagship is to develop a ‘quantum web’, where quantum computers, simulators and sensors are interconnected. It will provide €1 billion for quantum research over the next ten years, starting with 20 projects from 21 countries under the Horizon 2020.

October (II) 2018

A ‘lively exchange of views’ on Missions in Horizon Europe
Representatives of the Member States met Commissioner Moedas (Research) for lunch on 15 October to discuss Missions and partnerships in Horizon Europe. Since their first meeting to discuss the proposals in July, ministers have considered the Horizon Europe proposals on these matters too vague, and have pressed for more say. At the September Competitiveness Council the Commission agreed to provide a ‘non-paper’ with a list of areas the Commission believes to have the greatest potential, and this was presented at the informal lunch. The Austrian Presidency reports there was a “lively exchange of views” during which the ministers expressed their views on the list, and on the overall approach. Representatives reiterated need for a role for Member States in the selection and implementation of Missions and Partnerships. The lunch will be followed by a technical seminar, and the aim is to secure an agreement at the next meeting of the Council Competitiveness at the end of November.

It is reported that the Commission’s longlist of potential themes for missions are:-

  • paediatric cancer;
  • health in the digital age;
  • reducing inequalities with skills and competences;
  • carbon neutral industry;
  • smart liveable cities;
  • roads without victims;
  • seasonal energy storage;
  • healthy sustainable and resilient agri-food systems;
  • land management for biodiversity and carbon storage;
  • zero-waste society;
  • healthy oceans;
  • quantum computing.

Horizon Europe and associated countries – amendments tabled
In July the two Rapporteurs for the European Parliament’s Industry, Research and Energy Committee (ITRE) tabled their draft reports and invited amendments be tabled for September. The Commission’s proposals for the association of third countries (Article 12) broaden the opportunities for association and open the door for the UK.  Around three and a half thousand amendments have been received. In his draft report, Rapporteur Nica proposed changes to Article 12 to further restrict the ability of associated countries to coordinate projects, or to benefit from monobeneficiary grants. Among the subsequently tabled amendments are two put forward which counter this and propose that associated countries shall retain the right to coordinate an action and the right to participate in all parts of the Programme.It is expected that the ITRE vote will be held in November, and the full Parliamentary plenary vote date is to be confirmed (possibly December).

Government response to Science & Technology Committee report on immigration
The Government has responded to the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee’s six recommendations for An immigration system that works for scienceand innovation (published in July 2018). A letter from the Minister of State for Immigration  notes “we will take account of both the MAC’s recommendations and those of the Science and Technology Committee as we continue to develop the arrangements for the future immigration system.”

October (I) 2018

Online Portal for the UK’s Horizon 2020 underwrite guarantee goes live
UK Government encourages UK participants to continue to apply for Horizon 2020 funding, and will underwrite successful bids until the end of 2020 and for the lifetime of projects, including in a ‘no deal’ scenario. The online portal has been launched for current UK participants to register. The portal is for UK participants who are in receipt of Horizon 2020 funding, a Euratom Research and Training project, or an ongoing Framework Programme 7 project.

Support to SMEs to attend Horizon 2020 brokerage events
Innovate UK and Knowledge Transfer Network are offering UK-based R&D performing SMEs the opportunity to receive a contribution of up to £500 towards travel and accommodation costs to attend one of the following international brokerage events:
• NMBP Event: Sustainable Chemistry Brokerage Event, 23 October 2018, Brussels
• NMBP Event: Sectoral Cooperation on Skills: Industrial Symbiosis and Energy Efficiency, Consortia Building Workshop, 29 October 2018, Vienna
• NMBP Event: Industrial Technologies 2018, 30 October 2018, Vienna
• ICT Event: ICT 2018, 4 - 6 December, Vienna

A group of universities in Central Europe support the excellence principle in Horizon Europe
As reported in a Science Business Article, seven universities from central Europe (CE7) have spoken out against an amendment to the European Commission’s Horizon Europe proposal made by Romanian MEP Dan Nica, one of the two European Parliament Rapporteurs on proposal. The amendment calls for Horizon Europe to promote broad geographical coverage in collaborative projects, with the aim of reducing ‘the R&D and innovation divide by 50% within the Union’.

‘These quotas would be the result of political decisions which are not merit-based in terms of scientific quality’, said the Rector of the University of Warsaw, supported by universities in the CE7 group, (Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest; Charles University, Prague; Universities of Belgrade, Ljubljana, Tartu, and Zagreb).

There have been over 3000 amendments submitted to the European Parliament’s ITRE Committee. The Committee intends to vote on the Proposals in November, with full European Parliament Plenary session following in December.

September (II) 2018

Minister on UK Coordination of H2020 Projects
Speaking during a parliamentary debate in September Minister Sam Gymiah stated that UK entities would remain able to lead and coordinate Horizon 2020 projects should there be a ‘no deal’ Brexit. He said: “I am aware of some recent press reports which suggest that a no deal scenario would threaten the ability of UK participants to coordinate Horizon 2020 projects. I am happy to clarify that UK entities would still be able to lead projects and carry out all usual coordination tasks as a third country participant. The funding guarantee provided by the underwrite and the extension is in place if required and includes funding for coordination tasks if they are carried out by a UK coordinator. This would help ensure that the UK remains at the centre of collaborative science and research in Europe.”

Migration Advisory Committee Report on the impact of international students in the UK
The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) was commissioned by the Home Office in 2017 to provide a report in order to have ‘an objective assessment of the impact of international students which includes consideration of both EU and non-EU students at all levels of education.’ Published in September 2018, its report highlights that international students bring an economic benefit to the UK, valued at £17.6 billion in 2015. In 2016/17 63,000 EU students came to UK Higher Education, making up 27% of all the non-UK students. The report says that any restrictions on EU students will make it harder for UK institutions to recruit them but not impossible.

Recommendations include:-
• retain no cap on the numbers of international students, and there is scope to grow their number;
• international students should not be removed from the net migration statistics;
• does not recommend a separate post-study work visa;
• does not think the regional differentials are large enough to justify the complication introduced by having different thresholds in different parts of the UK;
• proposes ‘tweaks’: post-study leave period extended to six months for Master’s students (with a more thorough review of whether this is appropriate); the 12 months leave to remain after PhD completion to be incorporated into the original visa duration; previous Tier 4 students, who passed their Level 6 (or above) qualification in the UK, should be entitled to a two-year period during which they can apply out-of-country for a Tier 2 visa, under the same rules as current in-country Tier 4 to Tier 2 switches.

Demand for an extended post-study work period was a common theme across submissions of evidence to the Committee, and MAC recognises that ‘this is something that will disappoint the sector’. Universities UK called for a new visa to allow international students to gain work experience in the UK for up to two years after graduation. In a response to the report, UUK said: ‘This report is a step in the right direction. The report recommends some significant changes which would relax the rules for those who want to stay and work in the UK post-graduation… However, the proposals on post-study work opportunities do not go far enough.’

Brexit Webinars: Higher education and research
From 20 September Universities UK International and the FCO Science and Innovation Network (SIN) are hosting a series of webinars to keep the UK and European higher education and research sectors up to date on the developments in Brexit. Webinars every other month will discuss the state of play and the consequences of the negotiations for the sectors.

Entrepreneurship Education Assessment Tool survey
The European Commission (EC) aims to develop a tool for the assessment of entrepreneurship education programmes for higher education. A consortium led by Ecorys are conducting a study which will form the basis of an online tool to help educators and students to choose programmes. The project is undertaking a European survey of students and educators of entrepreneurship education programmes in higher education and invites participation. To take part, follow the links below:-
• As a student
• As a lecturer

September (I) 2018

UK participation in Horizon 2020: government overview published
The UK government has published a new Q&A ‘UK participation in Horizon 2020: government overview’ covering:
• finalising and concluding the Withdrawal Agreement;
• the Underwrite Guarantee, and the Post EU Exit Guarantee Extension (should this be required);
• facilitating mobility for UK and EU researchers;
• international collaboration; and
• looking beyond Horizon 2020 to UK participation in Horizon Europe and the future Euratom Research and Training (Euratom R&T) programme.

Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy publishes guidance on Horizon 2020 funding if there is no Brexit deal
On 23 August BEIS published a notice on Horizon 2020 funding and the underwrite guarantee after 29 March 2019 if there is ‘no deal’ with the EU. The guarantee covers funding for all successful competitively-bid for EU projects submitted before the UK leaves the EU, for the full duration of the projects. It also covers successful bids where UK organisations are able to participate as a third country in competitive EU grant programmes from exit day until the end of 2020.

The notice identifies a number of areas where further discussions with the EU are needed, including:-
• how to address cases where UK organisations lead a consortium and are responsible for distributing funding to the other participants;
• where the change of UK status means a consortium no longer meets the threshold for member state/associated country minimum requirements;
• agreeing the detail of UK participation in Horizon 2020 as a third country with the Commission, including the precise details of eligibility – as third country participation does not extend to some Horizon 2020 calls (including ERC grants, some Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions, SME Instrument). The Government is ‘considering what other measures may be necessary’ to support UK R&I in a ‘no deal’ scenario.

UK Research & Innovation (UKRI) will be developing payment systems and current UK recipients of Horizon 2020 funding will be asked to provide project data on a portal hosted on GOV.UK. The portal will remain open after exit from the EU so UK applicants can register when they are informed their bid has been successful.

More information can be found in the Horizon 2020 Q&A.

Plan S - Accelerating the transition to full and immediate Open Access to scientific publications
Plan S for Open Access to scientific publications has been jointly developed by participating national Research Funding Organisations, Science Europe, and Robert-Jan Smits (Open Access Envoy of the European Commission). It also drew on significant input from the Scientific Council of the European Research Council.

It consists of one target - “after 1 January 2020 scientific publications on the results from research funded by public grants provided by national and European research councils and funding bodies, must be published in compliant Open Access Journals or on compliant Open Access Platforms” – and 10 underpinning principles.

Eleven national research funding organisations, including UK Research & Innovation (UKRI), have announced the launch of cOAlition S. This is an initiative built around Plan S wherein the organisations have agreed to implement the 10 principles in a coordinated way. UKRI Chief Executive Professor Sir Mark Walport, said: “Making research widely available and freely accessible is essential to unlocking its potential for creating economic, social and cultural benefits. UKRI is committed to collaborating with partners across Europe on cOAlition S to achieve the same.”
LERU describes Plan S as a bold plan moving decisively away from subscription journals. ‘The move to full Open Access was stalling, and this plan is a major step forward in the right direction’, said Professor Kurt Deketelaere, Secretary General.

Universities UK has called for a new visa to allow international students to gain work experience in the UK for up to two years after graduation
The proposal calls for all higher education institutions registered as Tier 4 sponsors to be able to sponsor their graduates to search for and gain work experience in the UK for up to two years without restrictions on job level or salary, and without an employer sponsorship requirement. For more information visit the UUK website. A recent poll has found the majority of the public (74%) is more likely to say that international students should be able to use their skills here and work in the UK for a period of time in order to contribute to the economy, rather than returning immediately to their home country after completing their study.
Universities UK International has also published an analysis of international mobility flows to the UK from 2006 to 2016. The report was launched with a webinar. It highlights ‘5 little known facts’:-
• More than half of the UK’s international students are new entrants
• Despite the UK’s international postgraduate population being smaller than the US, annual intake is higher
• There is a strong positive correlation between post-study work options and growth in international student enrolments
• Future demand for international students to undertake postgraduate research in the UK is uncertain
• The majority of international students on UK programmes are studying overseas

UK-Canada collaboration to build on research and innovation strengths
UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to facilitate the delivery of collaborative, jointly-funded research and innovation programmes. There will also be a call for proposals to strengthen collaborative ties between NRC and UK research and innovation centres. This is only open to Catapults and other authorised centres identified by the funding bodies.

EIT Awards 2018 Nominees
The European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) has announced the 41 nominees for the EIT Awards 2018, representing “the most promising entrepreneurs and innovators in Europe”. Each nominee has been selected for driving European innovation through ground-breaking products, projects and services that tackle global challenges in the fields of climate, energy, digitalisation, food, health and raw materials. The winners will be announced in October.
• From the UK, Charlotte Thierry of the InclusivEV project is an EIT Innovators Award Nominee. The project is demonstrating the potential for zero emission, fully electric vehicles to be used for car sharing schemes in low income, edge of city neighbourhoods. It will deploy vehicles in Solihull, as well as in Modena and Valencia.

July (II) 2018

Committee proposes immigration system for science and innovation and skilled workers
The House of Commons Science and Technology Committee is proposing a new immigration system for skilled workers post-Brexit. The report, ‘An immigration system that works for science and innovation’ sets out the Committee’s proposal for an immigration system for the science and innovation sector, and for skilled workers more generally. It proposes:
• Visa-free and permit-free work in the UK for up to 180 days for skilled workers.
• A five-year skilled work permit for those with either an offer of employment, a minimum salary that reflects both the going rate for the job, as well as regional, and public/private sector, differences in salary, or third-party sponsorship.
• Steps that the Government can take now, unilaterally, to the current non-EEA immigration system.
• Concerns that the eligibility criteria for the Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa are too stringent and that this has resulted in a poor uptake of the visa.
• Calls on the Government to reinstate the Tier 1 (Post-study work) visa, so that talented, international graduates are able to contribute further to the UK economy.
• Calls on the Government to remove the cap on Tier 2 (General) visas and reduce the cost of making an application.

‘Together Science Can’ survey
Together Science Can, a campaign to highlight the importance of international collaboration to science and research, has launched a survey for researchers asking about experiences of travelling or moving for research training or work. The survey is being conducted by RAND Europe and results will be published in September 2018.

Revised Horizon 2020 Work Programme published
On 24 July the European Commission updated the Horizon 2020 Work Programme for parts of the Work Programme for 2019. In the field of Future and Emerging Technologies, the following new activities are introduced:
• Community building and road-mapping for high performance and smart electrochemical energy storage;
• International Cooperation on High-Performance Computing with Argentina.
Read the document with the full FET Work Programme update 2019

European Parliament draft opinions published
European Parliament’s discussions regarding Horizon 2020 have formally kicked off with the draft opinions for Committees, including:-
• Rapporteur Jerzy Buzek’s draft opinion of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) to go to the Committee on Budgets on the proposed Multi-annual Financial Framework reiterates Parliament’s call for an increased overall budget of at least €120 billion for Horizon Europe.
• Rapporteur Christian Ehler’s draft opinion (to be published on the Committee page) of ITRE on the proposed specific programme Horizon Europe.
• Rapporteur Dan Nica’s draft opinion of ITRE on Horizon Europe’s proposed rules for participation and dissemination.
• Rapporteur Cristian-Silviu Busoi’s draft opinion of the Committee on the Environment Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI), on the specific programme Horizon Europe to go to ITRE proposes a first mission of ‘eradicating paediatric cancer by 2030’; calls for the budget share for health to increase to the same as in Horizon 2020; and that the budgetary distribution between the two components of Pillar II should be the same as in Horizon 2020 with 70% focussing on the equivalent of Societal Challenges and 30% on Industrial Competitiveness.
Proposed amendments to the Nica and Ehler reports may be submitted by a deadline of 6 September 2018.

EU and EFTA Ministers aim for more involvement in planning Horizon Europe
An informal meeting of national ministers responsible for research met in Vienna in July for a first discussion since the Horizon Europe proposals were published in June. Ministers requested to be ‘more strongly included in planning the implementation’ of Horizon Europe. Most approved the idea of establishing missions, although there were concerns that the concept is still incomplete and the Commission will need to submit proposals and clarify matters around choosing and implementing missions. Similar concerns were voiced about the European Innovation Council. The European Research Council and Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions received clear support, with questions raised about increasing the proposed budget weighting for these activities.

An analysis of evaluations and evaluators in Horizon 2020
Danish evaluators share their experiences in this analysis by the Danish Agency for Science & Higher Education, the EU Office at University of Copenhagen and the Research Support Office at Aarhus University.

June (III) 2018

Committee examines an immigration system that works for science and innovation
The House of Commons Science and Technology Committee intends to develop its own proposals for immigration and visa rules for scientists. This work follows the Government’s rejection of the Committee’s call for the conclusions of the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) relating to science to be brought forward to form part of an ‘early deal’ for science and innovation. On 19 June the Committee took evidence from Campaign for Science and Engineering, Fragomen LLP, techUK, Wellcome and The Royal Society. For the first time it also took public contributions from the gallery and via twitter. A transcript of the discussion can be found here.

Royal Society statement on the UK’s future relationship with the EU
The Royal Society has published a statement on the principles that should shape the UK’s future relationship with the EU in the area of research and innovation. It outlines arrangements that the UK should seek as it leaves the EU to:
• enable scientists based in the UK to continue to be part of the shared European research endeavour and have the best possible access to international funds and the collaborations they support;
• create the lowest possible barriers to practising scientists seeking to move across borders;
• provide clarity and certainty, including through regulation and governance, consistently signalling that the UK remains a great place to practice great science.
It includes:
• The UK should seek an association agreement that enables access to all aspects of the EU’s research and innovation programme, Horizon Europe, with full engagement and influence.
• The UK should seek to establish an early agreement on this role in shaping the EU’s research and innovation programme, committing funding on the basis of playing a key role in its development.
• And makes suggestions on the implementation of an immigration system for people with skills relevant to research and innovation.

June (II) 2018

Tweet contributions to Science and Technology Committee inquiry
The UK House of Commons Science and Technology Committee is holding an evidence session for its ‘an immigration system that works for science and innovation’ inquiry on 19 June. After the formal evidence session at 9.30 am, the Committee will continue the discussion as an informal meeting from 10.30 – 11.20 am, inviting contributions from those seated in the public gallery or through Twitter. The evidence session will be webcast on Parliament TV. Please tweet thoughts and questions using the hashtag #sciencemovement. A selection of tweets will be used during the session. The Committee’s twitter is @CommonsSTC.

Horizon Europe proposals
A major milestone was reached on 7 June when the European Commission published its proposals for the successor programme to Horizon 2020. Horizon Europe will run from 2021 to 2027.

With a proposed budget of €97.6 billion, Horizon Europe is structured around three pillars:
• Pillar I: Open Science (€25.8 billion) supports frontier research through the European Research Council (€16.6 billion); funds fellowships and exchanges for researchers through Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions (€6.8 billion); and invests in research infrastructures.
• Pillar II: Global Challenges and Industrial Competiveness (€52.7 billion) supports research relating to societal challenges, reinforces technological and industrial capacities, and sets EU-wide missions. It also includes the Joint Research Centre (€2.2 billion).
• Pillar III: Open Innovation (€13.5 billion) introduces the European Innovation Council (€10 billion), and includes the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) (€3 billion).

In terms of ‘Third Countries’ the proposals include:
• The Programme will promote cooperation with third countries based on common interest, mutual benefit and commitment to UN Sustainable Development Goals;
• Third countries shall have no ‘decisional power on the programme’;
• On the financial contribution: ‘ensure an automatic correction of any significant imbalance compared to the amount that entities established in the associated country receive through participation in the Programme, taking into account the costs in the management, execution and operation of the Programme’;
• And ‘parts of the programme may be excluded from an association agreement for a specific country’.

Commissioner Moedas said that the proposal “is done in a way so that we can include UK in the future as a third country. The doors are open for discussion.”

The second half of 2018 will be a crucial phase for the negotiations. Austria will hold the EU Presidency and is aiming to reach a Partial General Approach (i.e. an agreement in principle before the European Parliament delivers its position) by the end of December. With European Parliamentary elections in May 2019, after which a new Commission will be appointed, the question of whether agreement can be reached by Council and Parliament before then is tight.

The UK and Horizon Europe
In her Jodrell Bank speech of 21 May 2018 on Science and modern Industrial Strategy , Prime Minister May stated that “the UK would like the option to fully associate ourselves with the excellence-based European science and innovation programmes – including the successor to Horizon 2020 and Euratom R&T.”

The Department for Exiting the EU also published a presentation focussing on the UK’s proposals for continued cooperation on science, research and innovation. It is part of a series produced by the UK negotiating team for discussion with the EU. On Horizon Europe it says the UK would like to discuss the option of full association around three areas:
• Structure: the importance of a continued focus on excellence, openness to the world, and delivering demonstrable benefits;
• Influence: looking to agree an appropriate level of influence on the shape of the programme. This should be greater than the current non-EU precedents;
• Contribution: subject to structure and level of influence, and an assessment of value for money, is willing to offer a fair contribution to the programme costs.

The DExEU presentation confirms that ‘the UK will respect the remit of the CJEU (Court of Justice of the European Union), where relevant, where we participate in EU programmes’, and flags up the UK’s wish to continue to host and support European Research Infrastructures. This includes INSTRUCT in Oxford, the European Social Survey in London, and the ESFRI network.

University associations statement on Horizon Europe proposal
14 European associations representing universities have come together to respond to the Horizon Europe proposal in a joint statement. They ask the European Parliament and the Council to support Horizon Europe and to incorporate five key changes:
• Increase the total budget to €160 billion;
• Review the budget allocation: giving more substantial increases to the European Research council and Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions; and revising the balance between clusters in Pillar II.
• Put the realisation of the European Research Area at the centre of Horizon Europe across all pillars.
• Better linkages between research, innovation and education - and the role of universities in the European Innovation Council must be amplified and recognised;
• stronger human and societal approaches across the whole programme.

The European Commission publishes details of  European Defence Fund
The €13 billion European Defence Fund (2021-2027) will support cross-border investments in state-of-the-art and fully interoperable technology and equipment in areas such as encrypted software and drone technology. It will provide €4.1 billion to directly finance competitive and collaborative research projects, in particular through grants. Beyond the research phase, €8.9 billion will be available to complement Member States' investment by co-financing the costs for prototype development and the ensuing certification and testing requirements.

Only collaborative projects involving at least 3 participants from 3 Member States will be eligible. “We are talking about EU money for EU countries and EEA countries [Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway],” said EU industry commissioner Elzbieta Bienkowska.

UK plea to be ‘treated differently’ by EU regarding data issues post-Brexit

The UK government’s cabinet office has published a ‘technical note’ on data protection post-Brexit in support of ongoing negotiations over the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. In the document the UK government makes the case for an EU-UK agreement on data protection that goes further than the ‘adequacy agreement’ model that the EU adopts in partnership with third countries on data-related issues. In particular the UK government lays out its case for the Independent Commissioner’s Office, the UK’s privacy and data watchdog, to maintain its standing amongst other EU data regulatory bodies post-Brexit

EU insists on UK treatment as third country for Galileo programme
In response to a previous UK government ‘technical note’ on participation in the EU’s Galileo space programme post-Brexit the EU has pushed back firmly, insisting that the UK be treated as any other third country post-Brexit. In practice this means curtailing UK contractors’ access to sensitive information on users and control of encryption used by the programme. In a series of slides presented to the European Council the Commission’s Taskforce 50 team, led by Michel Barnier, conclude that the UK should be treated as a third country when considering its future participation in Galileo meaning that British companies would no longer have access to the design and development activities of secured elements of the Galileo signal, for example.

June (I) 2018

Horizon Europe proposals on the way
The publication of the European Commission’s proposals for Horizon Europe - the renamed FP9, successor to the current Horizon 2020 Framework Programme for Research and Innovation – is widely anticipated on 7 June. Watch this space. On 17 July a first informal exchange of views on the legislative package for Horizon Europe will take place under the auspices of the Austrian presidency of the EU. EU Ministers will give a first assessment of the package from their point of view.

UK and Horizon Europe
The UK government is looking for a deal – and a better one than any existing agreement model. Prime Minister May has said the UK wants the option to “fully associate” and make a financial contribution, an “in return, we would look to maintain a suitable level of influence in line with that contribution and the benefits we bring.” The Department for Exiting the EU has released a presentation focussing on the UK’s proposals for continued cooperation on science, research and innovation. The UK wants to discuss the option of full association around three areas:
• “Structure: the importance of a continued focus on excellence, openness to the world, and delivering demonstrable benefits;
• Influence: looking to agree an appropriate level of influence on the shape of the programme. This should be greater than the current non-EU precedents;
• Contribution: subject to structure and level of influence, and an assessment of value for money, is willing to offer a fair contribution to the programme costs.”

DExEU confirms that “the UK will respect the remit of the CJEU (Court of Justice of the European Union), where relevant, where we participate in EU programmes”.

Open Science and its role in universities: a roadmap for cultural change report
LERU has published an advice paper on Open Science and the cultural change needed for universities and other stakeholders. The paper discusses the eight pillars of Open Science identified by the European Commission (the future of scholarly publishing, FAIR data, the European Open Science Cloud, education and skills, rewards and incentives, next-generation metrics, research integrity, and citizen science).

European Universities recommendations for the European Innovation Council
The European University Association (EUA) has made a series of recommendations on designing the future European Innovation Council for the benefit of society. It calls on it to be open to beneficiaries from all sectors, and to take into account the strong relation between investment in innovation deriving from research, investment in the development of highly-skilled human talent and resulting economic and social innovation.

May (II) 2018

The House of Commons Science and Technology Committee to develop its own proposals for immigration and visa rules for scientists.
The move follows the Government’s rejection of the Committee’s call for the conclusions of the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) relating to science to be brought forward from September in order to form part of an ‘early deal’ for science and innovation. The Committee will draw on the submissions to its previous Brexit inquiry and the sector’s submissions to the MAC to inform its proposals.

The Committee is also inviting further input from stakeholders, in particular addressing:

  • If an early deal for science and innovation could be negotiated, what specifically should it to contain in relation to immigration rules and movement of people involved with science and innovation?
  • What are the specific career needs of scientists in relation to movement of people, both in terms of attracting and retaining the people the UK needs and supporting the research that they do?
  • What aspects of the ‘people’ element need to be negotiated with the EU-27, as opposed to being simply decided on by the Government?
  • On what timescale is clarity needed in relation to future immigration rules in order to support science and innovation in the UK?

The deadline for submissions is 6 June 2018 and can be submitted through the immigration system that works for science and innovation inquiry page. The Committee expects to hold an evidence session on 19 June.

A renewed agenda for Research and Innovation: Europe's chance to shape the future
The European Commission has published a Communication on actions to boost the EU’s research and innovation agenda, and to contribute to the informal discussion Heads of State and Government on 16 May 2018 in Sofia. It makes the case that Europe should focus on making substantial investment in scientific and technological research, with a focus on societal and industrial challenges; a more innovation friendly and less risk-averse business environment; and supporting citizens through a time of transition. It identifies ten steps for Heads of State, among these:

  • Swiftly adopt the EU budget for 2021-2027, including the proposed increase in investment in research and innovation with €100 billion for Horizon Europe and Euratom research and training programme
  • Roll out VentureEU to stimulate venture capital investment in start-ups.
  • Simplify State Aid rules
  • Launch European R&I missions
  • Roll out a full-scale European Innovation Council to offer a one-stop shop for high potential and breakthrough technologies and innovative companies.
  • Introduce an Open Science label that rewards entrepreneurial European Universities.
A factsheet is available.

EU reaffirms its position on Galileo system post-Brexit
EU Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier has reaffirmed the EU’s position on the future participation of the UK in the EU’s satellite system Galileo. Speaking at the EU Institute of Security Studies conference in Brussels, Mr Barnier said, “third countries (and their companies) cannot participate in the development of security sensitive matters, such as the manufacturing of PRS-security modules. Those rules do not prevent the UK, as a third country, from using the encrypted signal of Galileo, provided that the relevant agreements between the EU and the UK are in place.”

In practice, this will mean that the UK will be able to use the public access Galileo signal but will not be allowed access to the secure encrypted network. The UK government had been hoping to maintain to the encrypted network for use by the emergency services and the armed forces.

Interreg Calls

  • 2 Seas Programme – New Call in the Summer: The Interreg 2 Seas Programme has announced that they will launch a new call for Concept Notes in the summer.
  • France (Channel) England – New Call Deadlines: The France (Channel) England programme has announced a number of new application deadlines. For regular projects (intervention logic outlines) these are: 14 May 2018, 13 July 2018, 14 September 2018, 14 November 2018, 14 January 2019, 14 March 2019, 14 May 2019, 15 July 2019, 16 September 2019, 14 November 2019. For micro projects the dates are: 21 March-10 April and 10-24 October each year. The final call will take place between 19 March 2020 and 8 April 2020
  • Interreg Europe – 4th Call Open: The 4th Call for proposals under the Interreg Europe Programme opened on 7 May with a deadline of 22 June.

May (I) 2018

From Horizon 2020 to Horizon Europe
Horizon 2020’s successor programme is likely to be called Horizon Europe, following the proposal by the European Commission.

“Horizon, because our brand means excellence,” says Commissioner Moedas. “Over the past few years, the name ‘Horizon 2020’ has sent a clear message across the globe: excellence. We have built a global reputation as a world leader in research and innovation programming, and it is for this reason that we believe the successor to Horizon 2020 should capitalise on this strong brand name.”

The headline from the Commission’s Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-2027 proposal is for a Horizon Europe budget of €97.6 billion. An infographic of the Research and Innovation proposals is available.

The expectation in Brussels is that the Commission will publish the legislative proposals for the FP9/Horizon Europe in early June, potentially 6th June.

Impact of EU Research and Innovation projects
LERU has published suggestions for the European Commission on how to overhaul its approach to the impact of the projects it funds under the next Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (FP9/Horizon Europe). Some of LERU’s key recommendations are that the Commission should:

  • develop a clear set of definitions of concepts related to impact, with stakeholders and with the help of an expert working group;
  • develop new mechanisms to increase the impact of FP9, for example by orchestrating “project clustering”, by creating “synthesis projects” and by providing impact-oriented “follow-up” funding;
  • change their approach by focusing on potential outcomes and pathways to impact;
  • refrain from using a linear model and from over-engineering impact, while finding ways to appropriately balance impact assessment by quantitative and qualitative assessment.

European Commission initiative to identify high potential innovations and innovators in EU-funded research and innovation projects
In April 2018 the European Commission launched the Innovation Radar – a data-driven online tool to help match innovators with those who can help get their innovations to market. The Innovation Radar platform builds on the information and data gathered by independent experts involved in reviewing ongoing projects funded by the EU regarding the innovations in the projects and their market potential.

UK Science and Innovation Network case studies
The government has published a series of case study papers looking at the impact of the UK Science and Innovation Network around the world, for example, on SIN Europe’s role in creating UK-European collaborations on low carbon Research & Innovation.

April 2018

EU–UK research relationship post-Brexit
The WellcomeTrust Future Partnership report sets out its view on the structure of a new EU–UK research partnership and how this could be delivered. It finds that the EU’s Framework Programmes are the most effective multilateral funding schemes in the world, and are therefore a practical and efficient way to support excellence in international collaboration and:

  • The UK should secure Associated Country status in an excellence-focused Framework Programme 9 (FP9), as this would be the best way to participate in European research. 
  • To achieve this, the UK should be pragmatic about the cost of a good deal to access FP9, and the EU should be pragmatic about the terms of FP9 association for the UK. 
  • The UK should continue to engage as a full, constructive and reliable partner in European research funding, research policy and science advice. 
The report ‘Building a strong future for European Science: Brexit and Beyond’ also looks at regulation and research policy, and the movement of researchers.

New European Commission Research chief on FP9
The structure of the EU’s next research funding programme is based on ‘evolution, not revolution’ and so will not contain major surprises, according to Jean-Eric Paquet, the EU’s recently appointed director-general for research and innovation, who takes up his new role on 3 April. With two months to go “fine-tuning is going to be an important part of the process”. The overall amount of the budget will be key and they are currently working on the basis of three scenarios - €80 billion, €120 bn or €160 bn. The Multi-Annual Financial Framework budget announcement is expected at the beginning of May. On the future relationship with the UK Mr Paquet says “we clearly envisage, in terms of socio-economic cooperation, to continue to have a solid relationship with the UK – also in research and science”.

Preparing FP9: Designing the successor to the Horizon 2020 research and innovation framework programme
This European Parliamentary Research Service in-depth analysis sets out the European Commission’s preparatory work for FP9. It looks at the positions of the EU institutions, the advisory committees, the Member States and the key European stakeholders.

Re-Finding Industry – industrial technologies and FP9
This report from the High-Level Strategy Group on Industrial Technologies proposes that the six Key Enabling Technologies (KETs) currently supported by Horizon 2020 should be incorporated into FP9, with four of them merged into two broader categories (materials and nanotechnology, photonics and micro and nano-electronics); ‘biotechnology’ should be broadened to ‘Life Sciences technologies’; and two new fields should be added - artificial intelligence, and digital security and connectivity. It finds that “given the crucial role of KETs for the economy and society … and the need to use public and private investments in R&I to boost the competitiveness of EU industry, an adequate level of support should be earmarked in the next EU budget.”

EU’s Joint Research Centre launches call for experts for Enlightenment 2.0 initiative
Enlightenment 2.0 will explore the extent to which facts, values and social relations affect political behaviour and decision-making. The aim is to understand these drivers at all levels of the political system. To reflect the breadth and depth of expertise required, the JRC is launching a call for experts in Life Sciences, Social & Behavioural Sciences and Arts & Humanities. More information can be found in the public call for contributions.

EEA workers in the UK labour market: interim update
The Migration Advisory Committee has published an interim update on EEA workers in the UK labour market summarising the responses from employers to a call for evidence. Within the report “higher-skilled sectors which currently use the Tier 2 system to recruit non-EEA migrant workers expressed mostly negative views of that system. Many felt that it was time consuming, costly and overly complex. They were concerned about both the rules and the caps in that system being applied to EEA migrants.”. In addition, the education sector said that “there were significant numbers of migrant academics employed in teaching STEM subjects. Educational institutions reported specific difficulties in recruiting to STEM subject areas”.
The final report is expected in September 2018.

The House of Commons Science & Technology Committee has said in its latest report that “it is not sufficient for the Government to wait until September for the Migration Advisory Committee to report before Ministers address the ‘people’ aspects of the UK’s future science and innovation relationship with the EU”. It calls for MAC conclusions in relation to the immigration arrangements needed to support science and innovation to be brought forward, and for them to be built into a science and innovation agreement with the EU by October 2018, or earlier if possible.

Report: The European Open Science Cloud, Who Pays for what?
Drawing on the work of the Science|Business Network’s Cloud Consultation Group, this report explores the economics of the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) – an ambitious EU initiative to enable Europe’s 1.7 million researchers to build on each other’s research and accelerate scientific progress. The paper identifies the potential efficiency benefits associated with cloud computing and open data sharing, before considering some of the longer-term economic benefits. It concludes by looking at the potential sources of funding and making some recommendations for the EOSC’s many stakeholders.

EARTO proposes more regulatory simplification for FP9

EARTO’s report argues that the strongest aspect of Horizon 2020 is its focus on excellence and collaboration across a variety of RD&I actors and that FP9 Rules for Participation could better support such collaboration. It makes the following recommendations for FP9:

  • Further reflect the beneficiaries’ accounting practices and cost categories
  • Improve the flat rate approach to better reflect the real costs of RTOs
  • Carry out a thorough evaluation of the lump-sum approach prior to any expansion
  • Further improve measures for ex-ante assurance and legal certainty
  • Reduce the audit burden to further simplify the FP
  • Provide one single set of rules aligned on the FP rules for every programme performed with EU funding 

Study examines innovation gaps in EU R&I funding
This European Parliament report examines reasons for the low participation and success rate of the EU-13 countries in the EU’s Research & Innovation Framework Programme. In FP7 about 21 per cent of all projects involved at least one EU-13 organisation. In Horizon 2020 this percentage has fallen to about 17 per cent. It concludes that the issue of the low participation of the EU-13 in the framework programme has no one-size-fits-all solution, and suggests five options:

  • Creating and exploiting the existence of pockets of excellence;
  • Improving the governance of national research and innovation systems;
  • Improving the use and exploitation of FP research and development projects;
  • Strengthening national contact points (NCPs);
  • Expanding Spreading Excellence and Widening Participation: The instruments of this programme need to be implemented in synergy with other investments at national level, mainly those supported by ESIF and/or developed in the respective national research and innovation strategy for smart specialisation.
The study was carried out by the European Technology Assessment Group (ETAG) at the request of the Science and Technology Options Assessment Panel.

European countries sign a declaration for delivering cross-border access to their genomic information
The Declaration of Cooperation: Towards access to at least 1 million sequenced genomes in the European Union by 2022 commits the thirteen signatory Member States – including the UK - to collaborate on the secure and authorised access to national and regional banks of genetic data and other data relevant for health, in particular to:-

  • Bring together fragmented infrastructure and expertise supporting a shared and tangible goal: One million genomes accessible in the EU by 2022;
  • Leverage and maximise the investments already made by Member States at national and EU level, particularly in sequencing, bio banking and data infrastructure;
  • Reaching a larger cohort that will provide a sufficient scale for new clinically impactful research.

Using advanced materials for medical devices and regenerative medicine
The European Society for Biomaterials (ESB) has published a report on the biomaterials research translation in Europe. It maps out the current research, innovation, consultancy and state-of- the-art facilities across Europe. It also identifies potential sources of funding and investments, research trends, success stories and gaps to be filled.

Report – Are European firms falling behind in the global corporate research race?
The Bruegel report looks at how concentrated corporate R&D is in Europe, compared with sales and employment. The US and China are more likely to produce new R&D leaders that take over some of the top positions from incumbent R&D leaders.

March (II) 2018

Coalition of university groups call for a doubling in the EU research and innovation budget
Thirteen European associations of universities have released a statement calling for EU institutions to double the investment in research, innovation and education (FP9 & Erasmus+), echoing the findings of the influential Lamy Group report.

House of Lords Committee Discusses Impact of Brexit on UK Space Sector
On 15 March the EU Internal Market Sub-Committee has held a roundtable discussion on the implications of Brexit for the UK's space industry, including issues surrounding staff, the European Space Agency, research and innovation.

Early agreement on UK-EU science and innovation cooperation as important as security say MPs

The House of Commons Science and Technology Committee has published a report in which they call for the UK to prioritise participation in the EU’s upcoming FP9 Research Framework due to run from 2021 onwards. It calls on the Government to “state clearly that it intends to participate unless there is a material unfavourable difference between the new Programme and its predecessor, and that the UK is ready to pay a fair ‘entry fee’ to secure this.” In the report, MPs, including East of England MPs Vicky Ford, Norman Lamb and Stephen Metcalfe, say that “…the Government’s explicitly stated assumption must be to participate fully” and that concluding an early agreement with the EU on cooperation in science and innovation “…should now be as important to the Government as addressing the question of security”.

It also calls on the Government to “ask the Migration Advisory Committee to bring forward its conclusions in relation to the immigration arrangements needed to support science and innovation, and build these into a science and innovation agreement with the EU by October 2018 or earlier if possible.” The Migration Advisory Committee is due to report in September 2018, but the Committee concludes that the current uncertainty cannot be allowed to continue for another six months.

Simplification is complicated
The European Court of Auditors has published a briefing paper, focusing on the issue of simplifying Framework Programmes. It highlights a number of areas to consider in shaping future programmes:

  • providing a reasonable timespan between adoption and implementation of legal acts;
  • assessing the further use of simplified cost options, such as lump sums and prizes; 
  • explaining the use of guidelines as non-binding rules; 
  • accepting beneficiaries’ accounting practices; 
  • recognising good project proposals under Horizon 2020 in other programmes via a one-stop-shop approach.
Download the report.

Draft roadmap for next steps towards the European Open Science Cloud
Set out in a non-binding Staff Working Paper, the draft plan proposes a pan-European federation of research data infrastructures built around a “federating core”. It sets out an overview of the implementation of the EOSC, with possible action lines (covering architecture, data, services, access and interfaces, rules and governance) and timelines.

The document describes the measures taken under Horizon 2020 Work Programmes to start implementing the EOSC, including €300 million to support the development of the EOSC federating core and open FAIR data pilot. It will provide the basis for further consultation with Member States, the European Parliament and stakeholders on the next steps to take. If approved by the EU Competitiveness Council in May, the federating core could put in place before the end of 2019.

Artificial Intelligence and ethics
The European Commission is setting up a group on artificial intelligence to gather expert input and bring together an alliance of diverse stakeholders. The expert group will also draw up a proposal for guidelines on AI ethics. This follows the publication of the European Group on Ethics in Science and New Technologies’ Statement on Artificial Intelligence, Robotics and ‘Autonomous’ Systems. The call for applications will end on 9 April and the Commission aims to set the group up by May. Find out more about the EU and AI.

Study on Fostering Industrial Talents in Research at European Level
A European Commission report arising from a study examining the feasibility of additional EU-level initiatives to increase the participation of academic and industrial researchers in intersectoral mobility in Europe and making recommendations for EU and local scheme levels.

March (I) 2018

Updated UK Government guidance on participation in Horizon 2020
On 5 March the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy published updated guidance on the UK’s relationship with Horizon 2020 following the EU-UK Joint Report in December 2017. It clarifies eligibility to participate in Horizon 2020 and the guarantee to underwrite funding. In summary, the Government encourages the UK research and innovation community to continue applying for Horizon 2020 funding and participating in projects.

  • “Until our departure from the EU, we remain a Member State, with all the rights and obligations that entails. This means that UK entities are eligible to participate in all aspects of the Horizon 2020 programme while we remain a member of the EU. 
  • “The UK and the EU fully intend UK entities’ eligibility in Horizon 2020 to remain unchanged for the duration of the programme, as set out in the Joint Report. This includes eligibility to participate in all Horizon 2020 projects and to receive Horizon 2020 funding for the lifetime of projects. 
  • “The Government’s underwrite guarantee remains in place in the event that commitments made in the Joint Report are not met.”
In addition, the independent Migration Advisory Committee will provide i) an assessment of the impacts of exiting the EU on the UK labour market, including universities and research, and ii) a separate assessment of the impact of EU and non-EU students in the UK. These will be delivered by September 2018.

The UK Government’s nine key points for FP9
The UK Government has published its position paper on the successor EU research and innovation funding programme to Horizon 2020. Still referred to as Framework Programme 9 (FP9) until it gets a snappy new name, the paper outlines views about the next programme:

  • A continued focus on excellence is essential: only by supporting the highest quality proposals can the programme achieve the greatest benefits for citizens. 
  • Open to the World: the EU and its Member States should facilitate and strengthen collaborative working with other countries on shared priorities for mutual benefit. 
  • A mission-oriented approach could provide a useful framework for tackling large scale societal challenges and European priorities, determined via a flexible and consultative approach. 
  • FP9 should further reduce the administrative burden for participants so that they can focus on producing excellent research and innovation. 
  • Spreading excellence: Member States and Associated Countries should seek to widen participation, supporting the development of underrepresented groups as well as regions, to strengthen European research and innovation as a whole. 
  • European added value: FP9 should complement national research and innovation funding programmes, concentrating on where it can add most value. 
  • Tackling Europe’s innovation gap and future industrial competitiveness requires an ambitious approach, taking full advantage of research successes, understanding emerging opportunities, considering the wider industrial landscape and focusing on European added value. EU and national or regional-level strategies should be aligned where possible to ensure a coherent research and innovation landscape. 
  • FP9 must demonstrate its benefits in enhancing growth and providing wider social benefits. The impact of the programme as a whole, and of its individual instruments, should be carefully evaluated to ensure they remain effective, and unproductive instruments should be discontinued. 
  • FP9 needs to rationalise the number of partnership instruments whilst ensuring those that are effective can continue to succeed. The Commission should consider ways to make it easier for organisations to join or leave partnerships.
The European Commission is expected to publish proposals for FP9 in early summer, and the UK Government expresses its intention to “actively engage in the development of the programme” including “discussing possible options for our future participation”.

February (II) 2018

Report analysing the state of innovation in Europe and recommendations for the future
The ‘Science, Research and Innovation performance of the EU, 2018’ (SRIP) is a biennual report published by the European Commission. It analyses, in a global context, Europe’s performance and drivers in science, research and innovation. This year’s report finds that while Europe is a global leader in scientific excellence, there is still work to be done turning that leadership into innovation that has an impact and entrepreneurship. Other findings from the report include:
  • Europe must ensure that the whole society contributes to and benefits from innovation
  • changing dynamics in innovation means Europe must renew its policies by adopting a mission-oriented approach and better support the scale-up of breakthrough innovations that create new markets

February (I) 2018

Preparing for FP9 – website update
The East of England European Partnership website has a new page available to members bringing together a range of EU stakeholder position papers and key institutional documents looking towards the shape of the next Research and Innovation Framework Programme. The Programme is unlikely to be called FP9 for much longer – look out for a new name in the Spring. The European Commission is expected to publish the FP9 proposal package in the early summer, perhaps as early as the end of May 2018. In preparation for this, recent actions include:

  • Public consultation on EU funds in the area of investment, research & innovation, SMEs and single market [Deadline 8 March]. 
  • The European Commission Communication on the Horizon 2020 interim evaluation conducted last year which draws lessons for the future Framework Programme.

European Open Science Cloud Projects begin
The European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) aims to give Europe a global lead in scientific data infrastructures and ensure that scientists reap the full benefits of open data-driven science. Two major projects have kicked off that will be instrumental in making it a reality.
EOSC-Hub will mobilise the major European digital and thematic research infrastructures, comprising more than 300 data centres worldwide and 18 pan-European infrastructures.
OpenAIRE-Advance new phase of the OpenAIRE infrastructure gathers more than 50 partners in building a socio-technical network and infrastructure supporting open scholarly communication.

Funding opportunities for health data research and European e-infrastructures

This webinar, organised by the European Commission, took place on 25 January for those interested in funding for health research, big data, cloud and High Performance Computing (HPC). The presentation slides and recording are now available.

European Commission rolls out a new methodology for managing projects
The Commission has now published details of the OpenPM² project management methodology that it will use for managing projects across all of its institutions. Although the Commission has not formally announced that it expects EU funded projects to use this methodology, the message is that “this is the way that we (the Commission) do things” to ensure a “common language” and understanding. Furthermore, it has stated that, “while OpenPM² is suitable for any type of project, it is ideal for projects related to the public sector, or EU programmes and grants”.

Currently, the tool is being applied by many contractors involved in EU projects specifically, large research and innovation projects. A Project Support Network (PSN) of PM² users exists to share and support each other in rolling-out PM² in their organisations and with using the PM² methodology in their projects and, there is an in-depth Guide on the method and templates that can be downloaded for use.

January (II) 2018

European Commission Participant Portal introduces partner search facility
The European Commission’s Participant Portal has introduced a facility which allows the creation of partner search requests and enables potential participants to look for partners under individual call topics. The list of existing partner search requests is accessed via a link on the individual call topic page. To see an example: under the SC1 topic ‘Demonstration pilots for implementation of personalised medicine in healthcare’ there are currently 4 partner searches.

Public consultation on EU funds in the area of investment, research & innovation, SMEs and single market
In 2018, the European Commission will make proposals for the post-2020 Multiannual Financial Framework and for the next generation of financial programmes. It is launching a series of public consultations covering the major spending areas to gather views from interested parties on the future EU budget.

This public consultation includes research and innovation. It asks about: the importance of identified policy challenges; the extent to which current policies successfully address these challenges; the extent to which current programmes/funds add value; a need to modify or add to the objectives; the extent to which obstacles prevent current programme/funds from achieving their objectives; steps that could help further simplify; synergies among programmes/funds.

All citizens, organisations and stakeholders with an interest in issues related to investment, entrepreneurship, research, innovation and SMEs are invited to respond.

The deadline for response is 8 March 2018.

Communication on the Horizon 2020 interim evaluation published
The European Commission has published its Communication on the H2020 interim evaluation conducted last year. Entitled ‘Maximising the impact of EU research and innovation’, it summarises the findings of the evaluation and draws lessons for the future Framework Programme. Taking the stakeholder feedback from the evaluation and the recommendations of the High Level Group chaired by Pascal Lamy, it looks towards ‘an evolution, not a revolution’, highlighting eight key points:

  • invest more ambitiously
  • continue simplification
  • support breakthrough innovation
  • boost impact through mission-orientation and citizen involvement
  • increase synergies with other EU funding programmes and policies
  • strengthen international cooperation
  • reinforce openness
  • rationalise the funding landscape
The current expectation is that the Commission’s proposals for FP9 may be published at the end of May or June, depending on the progress of the post-2020 Multiannual Financial Framework negotiations.

UK-France Summit 2018 – Genomic Healthcare and Research

At the recent summit held at Sandhurst, Britain and France agreed a new Strategic Genomic Medicine Partnership which will co-fund shared analysis of new technologies to accelerate genomic medicine and research collaboration. It included a Letter of Intent for a Memorandum of Understanding for the French-British Strategic Genomics Research and Development Partnership between the French National Institute For Health and Medical Research (INSERM) and Genomics England Ltd.

January (I) 2018

February Brexit Science and Innovation Summit
The House of Commons Science and Technology Committee is planning a Brexit science and innovation Summit in February 2018. The aim is to identify actions needed now to mitigate risks and exploit opportunities for UK science, research and innovation after Brexit.

  • To help inform the initiative the Committee is inviting written submissions by 5 February. 
  • The Committee will invite participants for the Summit. Individuals and bodies can nominate themselves by emailing scitechcom@parliament.uk by 31 January 2017 using the subject title 'Nomination for summit'.

Wellcome Trust and Royal Society Future Partnership Project
The Wellcome Trust and the Royal Society have launched the Future Partnership Project, aiming to set out a plan for future UK and EU partnerships on research and innovation. The project has asked individuals and organisations from the UK and EU for thoughts on how future research and innovation partnerships should work in practice. The final recommendations will be published in spring 2018.

Brexit negotiations and Horizon 2020
In December 2017 the UK Government and the negotiators of the European Union published a Joint Report covering the Brexit financial settlement. While bearing in mind the mantra that ‘nothing is agreed until everything is agreed’, it is hoped that the agreement reached will form part of the Withdrawal Agreement. It has agreed in principle that the UK will continue to pay net contributions until the end of the current financial framework in December 2020 and as a result will continue to benefit from EU programmes during this period, including Horizon 2020.

The UK Horizon 2020 National Contact Points advice currently is that “UK-based individuals and organisations would therefore remain eligible to bid for funding, participate in and lead consortia including for calls in 2019 and 2020. If an agreement is reached, projects approved during this period will be able to continue with an uninterrupted flow of EU funding.” Further clarification is expected in early 2018.

The Joint Report can be found here and articles 71-73 are particularly relevant.

HM Treasury letter on science budget and Industrial Strategy

In November 2017 the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee wrote a detailed letter to the Chancellor of the Exchequer regarding Horizon 2020/Framework Programme 9 and science funding. It urged a clear commitment to the UK’s full participation in Horizon 2020, and to FP9 or an alternative vision for cooperation to FP9. The Treasury has provided its response. It restates the importance placed on the reassurance given by the current underwrite, and that the government will continue to seek agreement through negotiations to continue to collaborate with European partners on major science, research, and technology initiatives.

The Guild of European Research Intensive Universities position paper on R&I missions
The Guild has published its position paper on the mission-driven approach for the EU’s next Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (FP9). It says:

  • Missions should build on European research excellence and make long-term contributions to global challenges by providing more opportunities for collaboration.
  • To achieve wide-ranging societal impact and address different societal concerns, the variety of missions should cover all disciplines.
  • Missions should integrate research-led education into their outreach and societal engagement.
It proposes 5 missions:

  • Restoring the cultural authority of science
  • Leaving a sustainable city in a sustainable landscape to our children
  • Eradicating Europe’s digital divides
  • Personalised prevention, precision medicine, and healthy ageing
  • Take arms against anti-microbial resistance (AMR)
The concept of identifying a number of ambitious missions was supported by the Lamy Report, and noted in the EU Council’s conclusions about the future of FP9 in December, calling on the Commission and Member States to “explore developing a strategic, interdisciplinary mission-oriented approach for addressing commonly agreed challenges…”.

Research and Innovation priorities for the Bulgarian Presidency of the EU 
Bulgaria holds the EU presidency from January-June 2018. It has identified its research and innovation priorities during this time. 

  • Structuring the approach to the next Framework Programme for research and innovation of the EU for the period 2021-2028.
  • Accelerating the transfer of knowledge, data and research results in support of a new generation of innovators and researchers.
  • Addressing the long-term sustainability of research infrastructures and opening up to industry and society.
  • Research and Innovation for food and nutrition security including exploring opportunities for public-private partnership.
  • Supporting the work of the EU Council to mandate the European Commission for approval of the new baseline International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER).
  • Agreement of the Euratom Programme for research and training during 2019-2020.
  • Progressing the preparation of a roadmap outlining the governance and funding of the European Open Science Cloud initiative.

JRC Research Infrastructure Open Access Initiative

The European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) is opening scientific laboratories and facilities to private and public sector researchers. By furthering collaboration with European researchers and industry, universities, research institutes and SMEs, it aims to enhance dissemination of scientific knowledge, provide training and capacity, bridge the gap between research and industry and increase competitiveness. Access is based on scientific and socio-economic relevance at European level and undergoes a peer-review selection process. A dedicated portal provides information on all aspects including access criteria and submission process. 

Current opportunities for access open until 7th March 2018 are:
- GELINA, Neutron time-of-flight facility for high-resolution neutron measurements
- HADES, Underground laboratory for ultra-low level gamma-ray spectrometry 
- MONNET, Tandem accelerator based fast neutron source
- RADMET, Radionuclide Metrology laboratories
Open until 31st January 2018
- Reaction Wall, European Laboratory for Structural Assessment (ELSA)

December (II) 2017

EU Council Conclusions towards FP9

In December EU ministers agreed their joint conclusions in looking forward to the next Research and Innovation Framework Programme. “From the Interim Evaluation of Horizon 2020 towards the ninth Framework Programme” picks up on one of the key new proposals of the Lamy Report earlier this year and proposes to focus some of the budget around a number of missions that aim to solve problems. Inspired by the Kennedy moonshot mission these are expected to be ambitious in their aims and engaging citizens’ interest. The Commission has invited the Director of the Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose at University College London to help identify topics. Council also highlights the participation gap for some Member States and the need to address this including with Cohesion Policy instruments. The importance of strengthening international cooperation and tackling oversubscription are also among the conclusions.

A public consultation on FP9 is expected to launch in January 2018, and the European Commission proposals are anticipated by July 2018.

UK tops European Research Centre Consolidator Grants
More than €100 million of EU grants will support 60 UK-based researchers in consolidating their teams in some 30 universities and research centres across the UK. This makes the UK the biggest beneficiary of the latest European Research Council consolidator grants funding round. In total, 329 top researchers in Europe will receive consolidator grants worth a total of €630 million. The ERC evaluated more than 2,500 proposals of which 13% were successful. The next deadline for application for consolidator grants is 15 February 2018.

2017 Consolidator Grant beneficiaries
include the Sainsbury Laboratory based at Norwich Research Park.

Set up in 2007 the ERC offers three main grant schemes: starting, consolidator and advanced, along with a proof of concept scheme. 1,878 UK-based researchers have received a total of around €2.8 billion across all types of grants since the launch of the ERC itself.

Overall UK organisations make up 12.6% of all participations across Horizon 2020, according to the latest figures released by BEIS up to September 2017. This compares to a September 2016 share of 13.3%.

Brexit and Euratom
The EU Home Affairs Sub-Committee has written to the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, and the Secretary of State for Health expressing concern that the health implications of leaving Euratom “have not been given the priority that they require within Government. The UK imports 80% of radioisotopes from the EU and time is running out to set up a system to replace the current structure that relies on the safe and timely transport and delivery of these items.”

It also asks how the Government will ensure that the UK stays at the cutting-edge of research in nuclear medicine and radiology and attract the best people, and what funding opportunities for nuclear medicine and radiology research will be put in place.

December (I) 2017

EU research & innovation funding programmes matter for companies
“We, the leaders of companies, are strongly committed to EU research & innovation (R&I) funding programmes”. So say the leaders of twenty-eight companies in a joint statement. EU-wide R&I funding programmes such as Horizon 2020 and its successor programmes are:
• world-unique instruments,
• decisive in financing projects with a clear and strong EU-added value,
• with a track record in the promotion and facilitation of a collaborative approach with all stakeholders linked to the R&I value chain (public, industry, research and academia).
FP9 provides an opportunity to scale up the budget, reinforce the collaborative approach, and give impetus to innovation.
Link to the statement.

Quantum Flagship
The EU has highlighted that Europe has a very strong scientific leadership in Quantum but needs to develop an equally strong industry. The Commission will launch a new FET (Future and Emerging Technologies) Flagship for Europe addressing: measuring and sensing, communication, computer, and simulation with funding of over €130 million in 2018 through Horizon 2020. An expert report has been published in preparation for the Quantum Flagship. This will join the two existing FET Flagships: the Human Brain Project Flagship and the Graphene Flagship.

November (II) 2017

Science and Technology Committee calls for Budget commitments
The House of Commons Science and Technology Committee has written to the Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond regarding Horizon 2020/Framework Programme 9 and increasing science funding. It highlights the “importance of a Budget on 22nd November which boosts funding for science and innovation as Brexit negotiations continue”. First among the key points raised is:
  • give a clear commitment now to the UK’s full participation in Horizon 2020 throughout the relevant research projects and throughout the proposed Brexit implementation period, as well as to the EU’s successor ‘Framework Programme 9’ or offer an alternative vision for future close collaboration on European research programmes on a similar scale.
The full published letter can be found online.

Young European Research Universities launches with position paper on FP9
The Young European Research Universities Network (YERUN) launched in Brussels on November 7, at the European Parliament. The event brought together YERUN members, the European Commission, members of the Parliament, Permanent Representations and numerous EU Stakeholders working on the areas of research and education.

Professor Anthony Forster, Vice Chancellor of Essex University, concluded the event saying that "by bringing new perspectives and strengths to European discussions, and working together on initiatives that positively impact on European students, staff and researchers, YERUN will, I hope, very quickly become a key contributor to our competitive knowledge-based economy".

At the launch, YERUN presented its position paper on FP9, highlighting the following recommendations for the European Commission:

  • Sustainable funding to match Europe’s ambition in research and innovation
  • Engage society in the creation of knowledge and innovation
  • Promote and reward a full implementation of Open Science
  • Recognise a more comprehensive definition of impact
  • Enhance support for early career researchers
  • Revise submission and evaluation processes to improve efficiency, transparency, fairness and impact

Web portal for European space research
HATCH is a new web portal for European space projects and related activities. The project aims to make the findings of the European space projects available to professionals and citizens as well as encouraging greater collaboration and partnerships. Funded by Horizon 2020, the HATCH consortium brings together SME and technology participants from across Europe.

Neurodegenerative disease database
The EU-funded Joint Programme in Neurodegenerative Disease (JPND) has established a searchable online database of cohort studies from around the world. By providing users with an overview of and contact details for each cohort, this publicly available resource aims to facilitate information exchange and collaborations. JPND aims to increase coordinated investment between countries in research aimed at finding causes, developing cures, and identifying appropriate ways to care for those with neurodegenerative diseases.

Horizon 2020 ‘data dashboard’ launched
The Commission’s Directorate-General for Research and Innovation (DG RTD), responsible for the Horizon 2020 programme has launched a new ‘data dashboard’ as part of improving transparency of Horizon 2020 funding. The dashboard features a series of interactive panels with interchangeable criteria to allow the user to pinpoint funding to certain countries, types of organisation and project/call type.

Strengthening European Identity through Education
The European Commission has a vision for 2025 where a European Education Area is created, meaning people can learn without being hindered by borders. In a Communication setting out this vision, the Commission seeks to ensure a future EU education and culture agenda tackles new issues such as digitisation, new channels of communication and rising populism. The Commission believes more should be done to boost mobility and cross border cooperation and invest in people and their education. Strengthening the sense of European identity and awareness of cultural heritage is the last topic tackled by the Communication. Here the Commission believes education can play a role in active citizenship and EU initiatives on cultural heritage have an important role to play.

Some of the key proposals in the Communication include:

  • boost the Erasmus+ programme in all categories of learners that it already covers (pupils, students, trainees, apprentices and teachers) with the aim of doubling the number of participants and reaching out to learners coming from disadvantaged backgrounds by 2025;
  • work on a Council Recommendation on improving language learning in Europe, setting out a benchmark that, by 2025, all young Europeans finishing upper secondary education have a good knowledge of two languages, in addition to their mother tongue(s);
  • work on a Council Recommendation on the mutual recognition of higher education and school leaving diplomas/study periods abroad;
  • strengthen the financing capacity of the Creative and Cultural Sectors Guarantee Facility by 2020 in order to allow banks and other financial institutions from an enlarged number of countries significantly to increase financing of small and medium- sized companies in the cultural and creative sectors;
  • work towards truly European universities that are enabled to network and cooperate seamlessly across borders and compete internationally, including the creation of a School of European and Transnational Governance (hosted by the European University Institute in Florence, Italy);
  • strengthen the European dimension of Euronews.

November (I) 2017

Universities UK research on economic impact of universities
This new report investigates the economic contribution universities make to the UK economy by generating GDP, jobs and taxes. It the longer-term impact on the UK, through boosting the productivity of the economy. In 2014–15 it supported almost one million jobs, and contributed £21.5 billion to UK gross domestic product. Around £1 in every £34 of UK GDP is attributable to the activities of universities and their international students’ and visitors’ expenditure.
UUK has also launched an animated summary and infographics which are available to download.

Horizon 2020 Work Programmes 2018-2020 Published
The European Commission has published the final work programmes under Horizon 2020. Spanning the three years 2018-2020, the work programmes represent a funding investment of around €30 billion.The information for 2019 and 2020 is officially ‘indicative’ at this stage and will be formally confirmed over the next two years.  The work programme includes:

  • First phase of a European Innovation Council (EIC) with a budget of €2.7 billion. This brings together the existing SME Instrument, inducement prizes, FET-Open; and Fast Track to Innovation funding. 
  • Big ticket 'Focus areas' addressing four priorities: a low-carbon, climate resilient future; circular economy; digitising and transforming European industry and services; and security union. These cut across several parts of the Work Programme and have a substantial budget, aiming to deliver significant impact. 
  • Strengthening international cooperation by including around 30 flagship initiatives on topics of mutual benefit, with a total budget of over €1 billion. Such as working with Canada on personalised medicine.
Note: The European Research Council has an annual work programme, and the programme for 2018 was published earlier this year.
All funding opportunities under Horizon 2020 can be found on the Participant portal.

UK Government updates advice note on Horizon 2020 underwrite
Following the European Commission’s statement on the Participant Portal regarding British applicants to Horizon 2020 (6 October), the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has updated its Q&A on the Horizon 2020 underwrite. This includes:

  • “The Commission statement simply refers to the existing terms and conditions of the EU research and innovation framework programme agreements. Termination of projects is not automatic or obligatory… Even if UK partners cannot continue to receive funding from the European Commission because the UK has become a third country, the UK Government has guaranteed funding for successful bids submitted by UK participants before departure, including those that are successful afterwards. Third country participation is routine in Horizon 2020….”
Some UK National Contact Points are recommending to UK participants to ensure proposals have the minimum number of eligible countries plus the UK in proposals, thus ensuring the eligibility of the consortium in the future should the UK become classified as a Third Country.
The Horizon 2020 underwrite Q&A in full.

October (II) 2017

British applicants to Horizon 2020
The European Commission has published a note for British applicants to Horizon 2020 on the Participant Portal advising that: ‘If the United Kingdom withdraws from the EU during the grant period without concluding an agreement with the EU ensuring in particular that British applicants continue to be eligible, you will cease to be eligible to receive EU funding (while continuing, where possible, to participate) or be required to leave the project on the basis of Article 50 of the grant agreement.’

Speaking at the Royal Society, Edinburgh, Commissioner Moedas said, ‘while you remain part of the European Union, the Horizon 2020 programme is fully open to you. Please keep taking part. Keep collaborating with your European partners. Keep welcoming researchers from other EU countries into your universities and research teams. Second, I urge you to take part in the preparations of the next EU Framework Programme.’

UK Science Minister, Jo Johnson, said in response to a query from Vicky Ford MP at the Science and Technology Committee on 17 October that ‘there shouldn’t be any ambiguity on this point… The EU announcement on its website is really a statement of the current policy,’ and added that the government’s guarantee to underwrite bids to Horizon 2020 (submitted by 29 March 2019 and subsequently successful) post-Brexit is working - 'doing the job we need it to do’. Asked whether he would consider extending the guarantee into a transition period he said this was ‘one of the questions which we’re keeping under very careful review’ and went on to stress that as flagged in the Florence speech the government would want to be in a position to make a financial contribution towards continued contribution to a successor programme – agreeing with Pascal Lamy’s view that collaboration is a win-win.

Horizon 2020 draft work programmes 2018-2020
The European Commission has published more draft work programmes. These can be found on the Commission website. The adoption and publication of the work programme are expected in October 2017.

German research organisation sets out its five principles for FP9

Fraunhofer has defined five guiding principles in setting out its postion in discussions for the preparation of the 9th European Framework Programme for Research and Innovation.
- Declare the competitiveness of European industry a top priority
- Increase impact and visibility through European missions
- Support innovation through the European Research Council in an assertive technology push approach
- Establish a separate defence research programme with additional resources and own rules
- Provide fair and simple funding conditions.
Read more here.

Commission publishes positive review of Horizon 2020 Joint Undertakings
The European Commission has published the conclusions of its mid-term review into the Public-Private Partnerships, known as Joint Undertakings (JUs), which have been established in the areas of bioscience, aeronautical technologies, graphene and more. Overall the review found that the JUs have become ‘leaner’ and more efficient than in previous Research and Development Programmes (FP7) and have been successful in engaging large actors in key sectors. The report acknowledges that certain JUs have yet to produce tangible outcomes and as a result their progress cannot be fully evaluated at this stage, however immediate changes are encouraged by the report’s authors such as including more SMEs in the JUs work and re-designing the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) used by JU Secretariats’ to judge their own progress.

October  (I) 2017

University and science organisations respond to the UK’s position paper on science and innovation
A range of organisations have been responding to the Department for Exiting the EU’s Collaboration on Science and Innovation Future Partnership paper. Including:
  • University Alliance Chief Executive Maddalaine Ansell said: “Collaboration with other European countries is crucial to maintaining the UK’s position as a world-leader in research and innovation. The government is right to prioritise this in its approach to exiting the EU and its latest position paper strikes a positive tone… Collaboration is not just about money though: working across borders gives us access to a much bigger community of researchers and helps us address the biggest challenges facing the world...”.
  • Universities UK Chief Executive Alistair Jarvis said: "We welcome the Government's commitment to maintaining collaboration on research with our European partners after we exit, and to continuing to attract the brightest minds to the UK's universities. The best way to achieve this is for the UK government to negotiate access to, and influence over, the next EU research and innovation programme.”
  • President of the Royal Society Venki Ramakrishnan said: “The Government have clearly recognised the many benefits to being a part of EU research and innovation and why the UK should seek a very close relationship after Brexit. The paper is very encouraging in both its tone and aspirations for an ambitious agreement to continue our close relationship with EU science and is very welcome. However, this is just a first step and much work needs to be done to work out the conditions that ensure our continued close collaboration with the EU… We also need to commit to being part of the next EU research programme and be part of discussions to shape it. We have to implement an immigration system that can attract the brightest and best minds to the UK, and a regulatory system that promotes seamless collaboration….”
  • Associate Director of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute Julia Wilson said: “We welcome the Government’s recognition of the crucial role of the EU in UK science. However, UK science does not only rely on funding but on recruiting the best and brightest minds. Protecting the rights of EU citizens in the UK, and creating an environment that welcomes great researchers at all stages of their careers and their families must be a priority for this Government.”
  • Global Head of Science at the British Council Dr Daniel Korbel said: “This is a positive first glance at how cultural cooperation between Britain and Europe will be shaped outside of the European Union, to our mutual social and economic benefit. Partners of the British Council, on both sides of the Channel, have expressed a strong desire to continue well-supported collaboration and exchange in the sciences, arts and education. …”
  • Cancer Research UK’s director of policy Emma Greenwood said: that the report’s focus on scientific collaboration is essential, and that details of future clinical trials and immigration should be agreed quickly. More than a quarter of Cancer Research UK’s clinical trials involve a European partner. “Clear priorities must be an aligned regulatory system for clinical trials, and a migration system that attracts global scientific talent and supports collaboration.” 

European to publish Horizon 2020 Work Programmes 2018-2020
The Commission is expected to publish the Horizon 2020 Work Programmes and launch first calls for proposals by the end of October.
A number of draft Work programmes have been made public before the adoption of the work programme 2018-2020 to provide potential participants with the currently expected main lines of the work programme. Please note that only the adopted work programme will have legal value.
Draft Work Programme for Future and Emerging Technologies for 2018-2020
The WP includes a call for Preparatory Actions for new FET Flagships: “Proposals for candidate FET Flagships must target a visionary unifying goal within one of the following three main areas: 
- ICT and Connected Society; 
- Health and Life Sciences; or 
- Energy, Environment and Climate change.”
Draft Work Programme for Smart, Green and Integrated Transport for 2018-2020
- Reminder: UK Info Day H2020 Societal Challenge 4 (Smart, Green and Integrated Transport) in Birmingham, 31 October.

European Institute of Innovation and Technology opens a base in Brussels
EIT House is intended to increase awareness of the EIT among its stakeholders, and provide a space for members of the EIT Community to network. It consists of one floor dedicated to its six Innovation Communities and one floor for exhibitions and meetings. Headquartered in Budapest, the EIT brings together business, education and research sectors to form cross-border partnerships (Knowledge and Innovation Communities).

The Royal Society reports on international researcher mobility
The Society has published new evidence on international mobility and collaboration, to deepen understanding of how, where and why researchers move to and from the UK. The UK is a hub for excellent science with 29% of the UK academic workforce coming from overseas, as are over half of PhD students. The commissioned survey of over 1,285 UK academics provides an up-to-date picture of the patterns, drivers, barriers and perceived outcomes of mobility. The report contributes to the Society’s ongoing work on Brexit.

EARTO paper on lump sums in FP9
EARTO (European Association of Research and Technology Organisations) has published a paper summarising the main issues that a possible ‘lump-sum’ approach in future EU Framework Programmes would raise. The paper will feed into discussions along with the Commission’s anticipated intention of piloting a new approach to claim re-imbursement based on lump-sums in two calls in the forthcoming Horizon 2020 Work Programmes 2018-2020.

Flood forecasting
The EU’s Joint Research Centre has developed a new forecasting tool to help disaster responders prevent the worst impacts of floods. The first of its kind in operation, the tool adds near real-time impact assessments to existing forecasts, allowing authorities to prepare and focus resources well ahead of potential floods. It has been integrated into the Copernicus European Flood Awareness System (EFAS).

September (II) 2017

Helsinki Challenge

The Helsinki Challenge is a science-based idea competition and accelerator and a platform for multidisciplinary collaboration with science and art, business, decision makers, the public sector, and other sectors of society coming together. The Challenge is a collaborative effort of ten Finnish universities in which teams of scientists work on solutions to help reach UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). A solution could be anything from a new scientific field to a commercialisable idea, entrepreneurship or pioneering research.

Information days for 2018-2020 Horizon 2020 Calls for proposals
The next - and final - work programme for calls under Horizon 2020 is expected to be published in October 2017. Information Days about the forthcoming calls and brokerage events to assist in building consortia are now opening for registration. Information on UK-based and European Commission Info Days can be found on our Events webpage.

September (I) 2017

UK paper on future collaboration on science and innovation
The UK Government has published a position paper on science and innovation and how continued collaboration in science and innovation is ‘an important part’ of the UK’s future partnership with the EU. It sets out areas for future collaboration that the UK will seek to discuss with the EU as part of the negotiations. It says the UK will seek ‘an ambitious science and innovation agreement’ with the EU. The terms of UK participation to be negotiated will ‘include the size of any financial contribution, which the UK would need to weigh against other spending priorities’.

The paper looks in particular at:
- Euratom programmes
- Research and Innovation Framework Programmes (Horizon 2020/ FP9+)
- The Space programmes
- The proposed new Defence R&D funding (currently being piloted)
- Cooperation with EU agencies and other bodies
- Strengthening bilateral and multilateral research relationships with EU Member States and other international partners.

Science Minister Jo Johnson said that ‘it’s in our mutual benefit to maintain this successful partnership, and this paper clearly outlines our desire to have a full and open discussion with the EU to shape our joint future.'

Chief Executive of Universities UK Alistair Jarvis said ‘we welcome the Government's commitment to maintaining collaboration on research with our European partners after we exit, and to continuing to attract the brightest minds to the UK's universities. The best way to achieve this is for the UK government to negotiate access to, and influence over, the next EU research and innovation programme.’

European Commission to pilot work internships in the digital field
The European Commission has announced plans for a pilot project to provide working experience in the digital field for 5,000-6,000 graduate students in 2018-2020. The paid internships of 4-5 months will be available for students of all disciplines. Internships could focus on "deep-tech" skills such as cybersecurity, big data, quantum or artificial intelligence, as well as web design, digital marketing, software development, coding or graphic design. The first internships could start in autumn 2018. Details for students and companies are to follow.

EIT Digital Challenge
The pan-European contest EIT Digital Challenge 2017 has been launched. Innovative tech businesses can apply in five categories: Digital Industry, Digital Cities, Digital Wellbeing, Digital Infrastructure and Digital Finance. The winner in each category will receive an international growth package worth €100,000 that includes a full year of dedicated support from the EIT Digital Accelerator worth €50,000 and a cash price of €50,000. EIT Digital is a Knowledge and Innovation Community of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology, it is focused on entrepreneurship and integrating education, research and business.

July (II) 2017

UK government speech further clarifies underwriting of Horizon 2020 funding post-Brexit
Speaking at the European Research Infrastructure Consortia (ERIC) inaugural event in London, Universities and Science Minister Jo Johnson provided clarification on how the UK government will underwrite competitive bids for EU funding in order to “put any uncertainty to rest”. In particular it will:

  • Underwrite the funding for all successful bids made by UK participants for Horizon 2020 projects that are submitted before EU exit. 
This covers:
- projects that are ongoing at the point of EU exit.
- funding applied for before the UK’s departure from the EU and that is subsequently successful post-Brexit.
- schemes where the application has two stages as long as the first application is submitted before the UK leaves the EU.

  • Underwrite those schemes not directly administered by the Commission but that award Horizon 2020 funding.

EU research ministers meet in Estonia
EU research ministers met in July at an informal meeting in Tallin under the Estonian presidency of the EU. The ministers “conceded that it is important to make the partnership approach more strategic, align resources and activities around common concrete objectives, and to reduce the number of different initiatives.” This will feed into the EU Council’s conclusions on the interim evaluation of Horizon 2020 and the next research framework programme (FP9). The Estonian Presidency aims to reach an agreement on the conclusions by the end of the year.
The press conference is available on video.

House of Lords launches inquiry into competition policy post-Brexit
The House of Lords has opened a new Brexit inquiry into the issue of UK competition policy following its withdrawal from the European Union and the current State Aid framework. The inquiry will look at three areas of competition policy: antitrust policy; the future role of the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA); and the role of State Aid post-Brexit. The inquiry is welcoming submissions until 15 September 2017 with full details, including a scoping document, available online. The European Partnership is considering its response to the inquiry and for more information contact Geoff Archer at the European Partnership.

July (I) 2017 

A vision for the future of research and innovation in the EU - Investing in the European Future we want
On 3rd July 2017 the much anticipated report of the independent group of experts chaired by Pascal Lamy (former Director-General of the WTO) was launched at a major conference in Brussels. The group’s work builds on the interim evaluation of the current Horizon 2020 programme and it was charged with drawing up a vision for future EU research and innovation programmes post-2020.

Its over-arching vision is that “investing in research and innovation is increasingly crucial for shaping a better European future in a rapidly globalising world, where success depends ever more on the production and conversion of knowledge into innovation.”

Europe needs research (“Lab”), innovation / competitive fabrication (“Fab”) and applications for the benefit of all (“App”).

Lamy has called for a €120-€160 billion budget for the 7-year R&I programme from 2021, and the report argues that doubling the overall budget for the post-2020 EU research and innovation programme “is the best investment the EU can make”. Anything below maintaining the average annual growth rate (i.e. a €120bn budget) would “call into question the EU’s commitment to deliver on its political priorities.” In the context of oversubscription to the current programme and falling success rates for high quality proposals, it stresses that the next programme should be able to ensure a success rate of 15-20% for projects submitted, with funding for at least 30% of high quality proposals.

 In addition, the report’s recommendations include:

  • Tackle the innovation deficit and build an EU innovation that creates future markets, supporting rapid scale-up potential through a new European Innovation Council; 
  • The report talks about research, innovation and education; and calls for increased resources for the European Research Council and Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions;
  • That the ‘three pillars’ of the programme should be driven by purpose and impact, fine-tuning the evaluation system, and increasing flexibility.
  • Be mission-focused and set missions that address global challenges; 
  • Rationalise the EU funding landscape, and essential use of structural (and agricultural) funds to focus on financing R&I capacity-building and infrastructures;
  • Simplify further;
  • Mobilise and involve citizens, stimulating co-design and co-creation with citizens, and encouraging citizen science;
  • Better align EU and national R&I investment – complementarity should prevail.
  • Make international R&I cooperation a trademark of the EU programme;
  • Better capture and communicate impacts.
"Investing in research, innovation and education is an economic necessity, a social obligation as well as a political opportunity for a shared project that makes Europe a pole of attraction in an increasingly connected world. The post-2020 budget discussion is the right moment to illustrate with clear determination the Europe we want."

At the launch conference, EU Commissioner Moedas said "without science and innovation, there is no growth and there are no jobs." 
Track the conversation on twitter at #H2020Future

EU4FACTS Conference calling for research contribution
A conference takes place in September on ‘Evidence for policy in a post-fact world’, looking into the debate between evidence and policy making. Young researchers are invited to submit their evidence on the subject, though a short video (90 seconds maximum) via either Twitter, Facebook or Youtube. A selection of the best videos will be shown during the event, with an award for the winners. The deadline for submission is 15 September, and read how to submit here.

Royal Society report on international collaboration and mobility in research
The UK National Academies commissioned a survey of UK researchers to find out about the importance of international collaboration and mobility. 
Europe was reported to be the most likely continent in which respondents travelled (95%) and collaborated with other researchers in (87%)
All types of funding sources were cited as playing an important role in supporting collaboration. EU research funding programmes, such as Horizon 2020, were noted to be important in expanding and formalising collaborations in ways that smaller, local funders cannot. They were also noted to provide wider-reaching opportunities, with a greater number of people who can bring other types of funding with them from overseas. The wider-reaching nature of such large-scale research funding programmes means that applications can be more complicated and time demanding.
Participants … discussed the importance of the EU in providing more funding and opportunities on an international scale, which has created more collaborations and greater ease of movement across countries.

EU-US cybersecurity and privacy dialogue project
AEGIS is a EU-US cooperation project in Cybersecurity and Privacy. Funded by Horizon 2020 it provides international collaboration platform. It will set up an outreach to relevant US funding programmes supporting cybersecurity and privacy R&I collaboration to be explicitly open to European researchers. It will promote collaboration and innovation partnerships between researchers, innovators, and industry from Europe and the US with the goal of coordinating the multiple research efforts underway in the areas of cybersecurity and privacy.

June 2017 (III)

European Parliament calls for €120 billion for FP9

The European Parliament has adopted its resolution on the interim evaluation of Horizon 2020. It welcomes the success of Horizon 2020 and the 1:11 leverage of investment, and calls on the Commission to propose an increased overall budget of €120 million for FP9. Among its recommendations relevant for the successor to Horizon 2020, it also calls for measures to tackle oversubscription and low success rates, and to separate defence research from civil research with a separate budget that does not affect FP9.

‘Beyond the Horizon’ universities report
The League of European Research Universities (LERU) has published a detailed advice paper with recommendations on how FP9 can increase efficiency and impact in the EU’s support for research and innovation. It also calls for a budget of €120 billion, highlighting the programme’s clear European added value and unique position in global funding. 

European Open Science Cloud initiative
The EU and stakeholders met in Brussels for a European Open Science Could Summit in June. The intention was to build consensus on an implementation plan and next steps. Commissioner Moedas announced that the EU itself would invest €200 million over the next two years. ‘We want to put our money where our mouth is and get the European Open Science Cloud running by 2020,’ he said. A plan on how to achieve the European Open Science Cloud is expected by the end of 2017, including a strategy for governance and funding.
Additionally, the European Commission has set-up a new High Level Expert Group to advise the Commission on the implementation measures needed. Chaired by Silvana Muscella, it is composed of experts from European countries, Australia and the US.

Interim evaluation of Horizon 2020 Societal Challenge 5
The European Commission has published a study as a contribution to the interim evaluation of Horizon 2020 Societal Challenge 5: climate action, environment, resource efficiency and raw materials. It covers the two first work programmes of Horizon 2020, and therefore its conclusions are based on expected rather than observed results.

Latest SME Instrument results
The EU is to invest €6.4 million in 129 innovative businesses under the latest round of Horizon 2020 SME Instrument funding. Each ‘phase I’ project will receive €50,000. Nine UK SMEs were successful in this highly competitive programme, including a Cambridgeshire-based company looking at passive thermal energy storage. Most of the projects funded were in the area of ICT, followed by transport and low-carbon and efficient energy systems.

Mapping of the European Research Infrastructure Landscape
An EU Horizon 2020 project (MERIL-2) will enable researchers and policy makers identify research infrastructures and access resources, services and facilities of which they may previously have been unaware. The database portal is under development.

June 2017 (II)

The Royal Society report: The role of EU funding in UK research and innovation
Conducted by Technopolis, the report looks at how EU funding is used across the UK – across organisations, disciplines, sectors, and regions - and how it interacts with other funding sources. The main report is supplemented by 11 more detailed case studies.

Russell Group top priorities for FP9
The Russell Group of universities has highlighted five top priorities for the next EU framework programme (FP9). While the future of the UK’s participation is a matter for negotiation, the Group hopes “an agreement can be reached which will allow UK universities to continue to engage constructively with future EU research projects and programmes… above all, we want to ensure the good relationship between the UK and the EU on science can be maintained – both UK and EU science will be stronger if we continue to work together”.
The priorities are:
  • Excellence: funding is allocated on the basis of excellence to drive up the quality of the science base across the EU and to ensure the best return for public investment, particularly through the European Research Council 
  • Support for the entire research and innovation ecosystem: a sustainable balance of funding between fundamental, curiosity-driven research and closer-to-market activities, with appropriate support across all discipline areas, including social sciences, arts and humanities.
  • Budget: increasing the budget for cutting-edge research and innovation will support growth and jobs across Europe. Focusing on grant funding for university research rather than loans will support vital fundamental research which is needed to deliver the innovations of the future.
  • Simplification:  continue to make efforts to reduce bureaucracy, streamline funding instruments where possible and to introduce a more risk-based, lighter-touch audit system.
  • Global reach: ensuring the next programme is truly open to the world with more flexibility to work with excellent research partners across the globe will maximise the impact of research funding by facilitating collaboration with a wider pool of top international researchers and expertise.

Horizon Prize to develop a tactile display for the visually impaired 
The European Commission will launch a new €3 million Horizon Prize, challenging innovators to develop the most affordable, internet-enabled, full-page tactile display.

First EU funding for defence research launched
The EU has launched its first ever funding calls for defence research. In 2016 the EU announced it would dedicate €90 million to research on defence up to 2020. Before now, EU funding could only be used to fund research activities with an exclusive focus on civil applications. These Preparatory Actions on Defence Research (PADR) are expected to pave the way for a more substantial defence research programme post 2020. Whether this will be through a dedicated research programme for defence, or be included in the FP9 programme, remains to be decided and the expansion into non-civil defence remains contentious.

Summary of funding for Future and Emerging Technologies
Horizon 2020’s FET-Open programme explores an open range of new and disruptive technological possibilities in all areas of Science & Technologies and attracts applicants from around the world. A booklet on the State of Play for 2014-16 explores who is participating and the fields of activity supported. It strikingly highlights the high level of competition for the available funds.

  • In the three years 2014-16, 2648 eligible proposals were submitted. A total of 68 projects were selected for funding for a budget of €238 million.
  • There were four cut-off dates at which proposals were evaluated. The average success rate for the 4 cut-offs is 2.6%, with the highest success rate of 4% in the fourth cut-off (May 2016).
  • 16% of participants in the May 2016 cut-off are SMEs.  The participation of SMEs is not obligatory but 62% of funded projects have one or more SMEs in the consortium.
  • The resubmission rate is steadily increasing and by May 2016 86% of the proposals selected for funding were resubmissions.
  • The highest number of participants is located in Germany, followed by UK. The top UK participants are: University of Oxford; Cranfield University; Exis Innovation (SME); Imperial College.
The booklet can be downloaded from the European Commission website.

June 2017 (I)

New horizons: Future scenarios for research & innovation policies in Europe

The Foresight study Beyond the Horizon: foresight in support of future EU Research and Innovation Policy (BOHEMIA), commissioned by the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Research and Innovation to feed into discussions about future research funding (FP9), has published its phase 1 report. 

The report draws on a broad range of sources about “megatrends” shaping the world today and projects them forward into the 2030s. It considers two possible outcomes: that the trends go on unmanaged and uncontrolled, or that society takes action. The report goes on to illustrate specific ways in which research and innovation could help Europe realise the positive scenario or at least minimise the harm of the negative.

It is not the intention to propose any specific policy or project, rather it highlights basic principles for research and innovation that emerge from the scenarios:

  • Build resilience by developing options before, rather than after, a crisis strikes
  • Experiment in real world settings
  • Learn from the best
  • Get the governance right - inclusiveness and fairness as policy principles
  • Look to the cities as laboratories
  • Connect and collaborate, across sectors
  • Be open
European investment in research and innovation needs to be driven towards three sets of key outcomes:

  • Social and economic returns to the EU’s investments in the short as well as the long run, recognising that a significant part of the returns on investment depend on the framework conditions for research and innovation in Europe;
  • Leveraging a step change in the levels of investment in the future we want, with Research and Innovation enabling Europeans to fulfil their individual and collective aspirations and leading the world towards the Sustainable Development Goals; and 
  • Establishing openness and inclusiveness as key principles of the organization of research and innovation across the EU.

The Commission, as part of its planning for the next research and innovation programme, FP9, is inviting views at RTD-Foresight@ec.europa.eu

The BOHEMIA study involves three phases:

  • Phase 1: A literature review and synthesis into a set of scenarios that aim to sketch possible future settings and boundary conditions for the development of future R&I policy and funding. This phase has been completed with the publication of the report.
  • Phase 2: Involves a Delphi survey to gain new insights into future technologies, societal issues, and R&I practices. The Delphi survey is now running. If you want to be included please contact BOHEMIA@isi.fraunhofer.de 
  • Phase 3: Analysis and deriving of policy recommendations, building on the scenarios, the results of the Delphi and on consultation and public engagement with the findings.
The final report is expected in autumn 2017.

Brexit: What will it mean for universities?
European Universities Association is hosting a webinar at 2pm, 7 June, to discuss the implications of Brexit. The webinar will present views from London and Brussels about how the current situation and what we can and cannot know about the future, and there will be opportunity to ask questions about the past, present and future of the UK and the rest of Europe.

Estonia aims to lure UK academics as ‘e-residents’ post-Brexit

Estonia aims to lure UK-based academics and entrepreneurs into becoming “e-residents” with the hope of continued access to EU funding and markets after Brexit. The country’s e-residency programme, which allows foreigners to receive a digital ID and to start an Estonian company online without visiting, has proved popular among technology entrepreneurs, not least because of the ease of filing taxes and setting up a business under Estonia’s laws. Estonia, which has a population of 1.3m, has had a surge of interest from the UK since the Brexit vote last year, with about 1,000 UK citizens already applying for e-residency at a cost of €100. That is double the pace of applications before the referendum, with a flurry of interest immediately after the vote on June 23. 
More information on e-residency 

May 2017 (II)

RISE Group report on the future of EU research and innovation policy

The RISE Group of high level experts provides direct strategic support to the European Commissioner for research, innovation, and science. It has published a book which will contribute to the discussions regarding future research and innovation strategy and funding.

“Europe’s Future” looks at how a shift to Open Innovation, Open Science and Open to the World could help reinforce the link between knowledge and innovation, if it is supported by a new policy vision. 

It includes a number of specific points particularly relevant to discussions about the shape and approach of FP9, including, for example:

  • A relative shift of funds away from large scale collaborative projects and towards Principal Investigator-driven funding schemes. 
  • Find better ways to encourage natural collaborations rather than mandating collaboration as a prerequisite to funding. 
  • Overall simplification - funding schemes should build on the most successful programs, such as the highly regarded European Research Council.
  • Fund allocation could be adjusted so that all applications that meet evaluation criteria and are considered fundable receive some funding, even if the total awarded for some or all grants needs to be reduced relative to their originally proposed budgets.
  • General adoption of two-stage application processes to minimize significant loss of research productivity that currently occurs on both preparation and evaluation sides due to extremely low grant success rates, along with the elimination of grant deadlines.

European Commissioner Moedas took four main points from the publication in looking forward to shaping FP9 (the successor funding programme to Horizon 2020):

  • need to master innovation support at all levels
  • need to be mission-driven
  • need to spread excellence
  • need to invest in science communication.
In his response to the presentation of the book he spoke of the need for radical reform, highlighting proposals for a European Innovation Council; making the SME Instrument entirely ‘bottom-up’ in approach; breaking down silos and focussing scientific efforts on specific targets, such as curing Alzheimer’s disease; Horizon2020 and Structural Funds should keep their distinct roles, but also have a common strategic approach to supporting research and investment; and the need to ‘shout out loud about our science in FP9’.

European Research Council statement calls for budget increase

The ERC’s Scientific Council has published a Statement on its position regarding the future and calls for a doubling of its budget. The 2019 budget will be €2 billion - a 17% overall share of Horizon 2020. It states that “the ERC can presently support only around 5000 running grants at a given time… To cement its emerging catalytic role in the overall European research ecosystem, and to achieve the structural impact originally envisaged, the ERC needs a broader reach in terms of the number of Principal Investigators accessing its funding. This requires not only more agility, but also a minimum yearly budget of €4 billion for ERC.”

Call for expressions of interest to join the Graphene Flagship

The Graphene Flagship launched by the European Commission in 2013 is steering towards higher technology readiness level and seeking new partners to join the Consortium. A call for expression of interest is open until 30 May for organisations that can bring specific industrial and technology transfer competences or capabilities on graphene and related materials to complement the current consortium.

May 2017 (I)

Major changes ahead with adoption of Higher Education and Research Act
The Higher Education and Research Bill has received Royal Assent, and is now law. The Higher Education and Research Act 2017 was passed on 27 April after the government accepted some concessions, including a delay to the introduction of measures linking the teaching excellence framework to tuition fee levels. The Act creates a regulatory Office for Students for English higher education. A Lords amendment whereby international student numbers would not be included net migration figures was rejected by the government.

Under the Act a new strategic body – UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) – will bring together the current research councils, Innovate UK, and the research functions of the Higher Education Funding Council for England through Research England.

Exiting the EU: challenges and opportunities for higher education

The House of Commons Education Committee has published its report on exiting the EU and makes recommendations for the Government with the aim of ensuring “that higher education in our country can deal with the challenges of leaving the EU and be in position to take advantage of local and global opportunities”.  The report looks at people (students and staff); EU programmes including Research and Innovation, Erasmus+ and ESIF; and opportunities, including for international partnership and collaboration. 

Among its 15 key conclusions and recommendations the select committee addresses: resolving the uncertainty of status for students and staff; tailoring an appropriate immigration system meeting the needs of higher education; excluding overseas students from the net migration target; a commitment to Horizon 2020 and future Framework Programmes and the development of a domestic plan to match the funding should this fail; continued membership of Erasmus+ and an ambitious mobility strategy with universities; a new regional growth programme to replace (and exceed) funding from EU structural funding; and finally:
- “To take advantage of the global reach of our universities, a bold cross-Government strategy is needed. Higher education should play an important role in upcoming trade deals with the rest of the world. The Government should pursue collaborations with major research nations and invest further resources into existing collaboration funding.”
The report in full

EU students 2018/19 update
The government has confirmed that EU students will continue to remain eligible for undergraduate, master’s, postgraduate and advanced learner financial support in academic year 2018 to 2019, retaining home fee status, including where the course concludes after the UK’s exit from the EU.

Assistance for innovation procurement 
The European Assistance for Innovation Procurement (eafip) initiative provides free assistance to European public procurers for implementing pre-commercial procurements and public procurements of innovative solutions to bring innovative ICT solutions to the market. It offers hands-on assistance which includes legal support. The new call is open until 15 June 2017.

Paper on Research and Technology Organisation start-ups
EARTO has published a new position paper detailing “How to Exploit the Untapped Potential of RTOs’ Deep-Tech Start-Ups in Europe”. It argues that “it is critical for Europe to refocus on strengthening the European Research Area and on developing a strong industrial base, where SMEs and midcap companies, often ‘the hidden champions’ … play a key role.”

April 2017 (II)

Leaked NHS document highlights potential shortage of 40,000 nurses
A leaked document from the Department of Health has revealed that the NHS could be hit by a shortage of more than 40,000 nurses by 2026 as a result of Brexit. The report showed that if nurses from EU and non-EU countries stop coming to the UK from 2019, within six years there would be a nursing staff shortage of between 26,000 and 42,000. More than 2,700 nurses left the NHS in 2016, according to freedom of information requests, an increase of 68% since 2014. There are already around 24,000 vacant nursing positions in the NHS, according to the Royal College of Nursing.

The path to Brexit – key decisions for the NHS
Highlighting workforce and recruitment, access, research, and law, the NHS Confederation has published an infographic of key concerns for the NHS. The negotiations following the triggering of Article 50 are discussed further in its podcast.

April 2017 (I)

Congratulations to the European Research Council on its 10th birthday

Tenth birthday wishes for the European Research Council, funded through Horizon 2020, included this thank you video from a researcher who recently hit the global headlines for the discovery of potentially habitable exoplanets. 
Since 2007 the ERC has seen:-
- around 7,000 researchers and over 50,000 team members funded with €12 billion,
- 6 Nobel Prizes, and
- over 800 patent applications.
In celebrating its success, ERC president Jean-Pierre Bourguignon called for the annual funds available to rise from around €2.2 billion in the last year of Horizon 2020 towards €4 billion a year by 20th anniversary in 2027.

European Code of Research Integrity

ALLEA, the European Federation of Academies of Sciences and Humanities, has published a revised version of The European Code of Conduct for Research Integrity.  The Code addresses recent and emerging challenges emanating from technological developments, open science, citizen science and social media, among other areas. ALLEA members include The Royal Society.

March 2017 (II)

European universities group looks at future EU research and innovation funding

The Guild of European research-intensive universities has published its proposals for the future of the EU’s research and innovation funding, outlining its vision for FP9 - the successor programme to the current Horizon 2020 programme: Serving Europe’s Societies: Research, Innovation, and the Future of Europe. It proposes:
-   Excellent science requires collaboration, communication, and competition – the EU must invest more in frontier-led science, to maximise its impact on the citizens’ social, economic and cultural well-being.
-   The anticipated new European Innovation Council must recognise universities as central actors in innovation eco-systems - strengthen innovation eco-systems across all areas of human knowledge and ensure they meet society’s needs.
-   Fuel a wider understanding of, and a passion for, science and innovation - links between Science, Innovation and Society must be strengthened, through research-led Education, Open Science, and Public Engagement.
-   European science and innovation must aspire to leadership in addressing the UN’s Global Sustainable Development Goals.
-   Focus on collaboration and facilitating the movement of excellent researchers and ideas through strategic collaboration with international research agencies - the engagement of European researchers worldwide is central not only to the quality of European research, it also forms a critical contribution to global issues.
-   The framework programme for research and innovation must be clear and intelligible to citizens and researchers - actions must be simplified and streamlined.
-   Never to compromise on quality and the pursuit of excellence, but also find ways to enhance the capacity for excellence across Europe.
-   Investment in research, innovation and education must be a core component of regional policy.

Horizon 2020 – the next work programme
The shape and scope of the next (and final) Horizon 2020 Work Programme is beginning to come into focus. The European Commission has published a series of thematic “Scoping Papers” covering all parts of Horizon 2020 (except the European Research Council), as well as a “Strategic Programme Overarching Scoping Paper” to prepare for the Work Programme 2018-2020. The finalised work programme and first tranche of calls is expected in October 2017. 

Report on the economic rationale for public R&I funding and its impact 
A report by the Commission’s research directorate highlights that importance of public R&I funding. The study, advised by the University of Manchester, will inform the work currently underway by a group of experts led by Pascal Lamy who will be reporting  by June, providing a vision for the successor programme to Horizon 2020 (known as FP9). The aim is to contribute to the evidence-base in negotiations for the future programme and its budget. 

At the EU level:
-   the economic return of FP7 is expected to result in a cumulative increase in GDP of €500 billion until 2030, i.e. an extra 0.15% annual GDP growth; 
-   it is estimated that FP7 has generated around 11 euros of direct and indirect economic effects through innovations, new technologies and products, per euro invested; 
-   FP7 is expected to create over 130,000 research jobs directly over a period of 10 years, and additional 160,000 additional jobs indirectly over a period of 25 years; 
-   scientific production involves over 200,000 publications from FP7 projects; 
-   more than 1700 patent applications have been filed; 
-   50,000 researchers, including 10,000 PhD students, have been funded.

The paper concludes that:
-   the impact of public R&I funding is large and significant as it acts as a catalyser to boost the productivity growth needed to accelerate economic growth and the creation of more and better job opportunities. 
-   maximising the impact of public R&I funding will require the adoption of holistic strategies that enable faster and deeper innovation development and diffusion across companies, sectors and countries that have been holding back the positive impacts of R&I in recent years. 
-   the implementation of public R&I funding should be well targeted to cover the whole research-innovation spectrum… and channelled through the appropriate R&I instruments….

Report on How Joint Undertakings Boost RTOs-Industry Collaboration & Leverage Private R&I Investment
EARTO has published this new paper as a contribution to the European Commission's public consultation on Joint Undertakings. It hopes the analysis will bring forward some further thinking on those instruments for the Horizon 2020 interim evaluation and as first thoughts towards FP9. 

Food Scanner Challenge - H2020 Inducement Prize
The European Commission has awarded €1 m to three innovative companies who cracked the challenge of developing a food scanner solution: an affordable and non-invasive mobile solution that enables users to measure and analyse their food intake.
The Finnish start-up SpectralEngines received €800k ,while the two runners-up - SCiOscan, from Israel, and Tellspec, a London-based branch of a Canadian company - each received €100k. 

March 2017 (I)

European Research Council marks its 10th birthday

The European Research Council (ERC) is holding an ERC week on 13 - 19 March with over a hundred events taking place across Europe and beyond to mark the Council’s tenth year of funding world-leading research.  Events will be held as far afield as Australia, the United States, India and Japan.

Closer to home, the University of Cambridge is showcasing ERC funded research at a series of public events as part of the Cambridge Science Festival.

Economic impact of international students studying in the UK 
The UK is the second most popular destination for international students (EU and non-EU) after the United States, and new research carried out by Oxford Economics for Universities UK examines the contribution they made to jobs, GDP and export earnings in 2014-2015. 
  • The 437,000 international students made up 19% of all students at UK universities. 
  • They and their visitors generated £25.8 billion in gross output for the UK economy, and their spending supported 206,600 full-time equivalent jobs nationally.
  • Through their payments to universities (for tuition fees and accommodation), international students supported an additional estimated £13.5 billion in gross output and contributed £13.8 billion gross value added to GDP in the UK. 
In the East of England it estimates:-
  • 27,980 students from outside the UK came to the region’s universities.
  • International revenue of £586 million which, together with the estimated off-campus expenditure of international students and their visitors, represented a total of £988 million of export earnings. Overall, international student spending on and off campus was responsible for £781 million of this total. 
  • International students’ off-campus expenditure (£368 million) in the East of England generated £419 million of gross output, a £215 million GVA contribution to GDP, and 3,081 full-time equivalent jobs in the region.
The data is part of a larger study analysing the economic impact of UK universities and of international students which is expected to be published shortly.
Read the report.
Regional impact summary.

Horizon 2020 funding for Future and Emerging Technologies – where are the projects?
Future and Emerging Technologies (FET) funding under Horizon 2020 supports collaboration in high risk, long term, multidisciplinary and collaborative frontier research, laying the foundations for next generation technologies. The Commission has released a by-country  infographic showing that by the end of 2016, a total of €659 million has been allocated to 131 projects. The FET participants come from 36 different countries. Germany, United Kingdom and France are the countries with the highest number of participants. UK participants have benefitted from over €100 million.

Prize for women innovators
An entrepreneur who helps innovative products get to market by creating collaborations between the arts, sciences, academia and industry, has won the €100,000 first prize in the 2017 EU Prize for Women Innovators. Michela Magas is the co-founder of Stromatolite, a Swedish/UK-based company that creates “innovation ecosystems” bringing together people from different sectors to share ideas, develop new products and create new business models. Michela Margas explains, “for instance, there would be a neuroscientist who was interested in music from a neurological and psychological point of view, they would come in (to the ecosystem) as a place for research, they would get engaged in creating new applications for others and suddenly this thing would explode in all sorts of directions and new ideas for neuroscience and neuroscientific investigations would come out of it.” 

February 2017 (II)

Universities and Brexit
Universities UK has produced a briefing paper setting out what the government’s priorities should be to help universities maximise their contribution to a successful and global UK post-exit. It calls for actions in the immediate term, in the course of Brexit negotiations, and through domestic policy actions. These address in particular the position of EU nationals working in the university sector, students, funding, mobility, collaborative research, research infrastructures, and regulatory requirements.

Report on the Internationalisation of Research and Technology Organisations
This report looks at how Research and Technology Organisations (RTOs) have progressively extended the scope of their activities outside their country of origin to produce high impact R&I. It builds academic literature and practical experiences of RTOs, and covers:
Drivers & Motivations - Why do RTOs engage in internationalisation?
Barriers to internationalisation, and
Strategies – How do RTOs internationalise?

Research Infrastructures
Science Europe has published a policy brief contributing to a review of Research Infrastructures (RIs) in Horizon 2020 and in future Framework Programmes. It accompanies the Science Europe Position Statement on ‘The Framework Programme that Europe Needs. Funding for RIs, including e-infrastructures, under Horizon 2020 is provided under the first pillar - Excellent Science.

ESPON consultation
The EU’s ESPON programme has launched a questionnaire in order to understand better stakeholders’ needs for pan-European evidence, knowledge transfer and policy learning to public authorities and other policy actors at all levels. The survey is open until 20 February 2017. 

February (I)

UK and the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom)
Euratom sets standards for handling nuclear materials and promotes nuclear safety standards. It predates the EU, and is covered by a separate treaty, however, Article 50 applies to the Euratom Treaty. Looking post-Brexit, if the UK wishes to form a new relationship, Euratom can enter into treaties with non-EU countries. Article 101 of the Euratom Treaty says that the Euratom Community may enter into ‘agreements’ with non-Euratom countries, and Article 206 allows association agreements, such as with Ukraine. There are also several treaties specifically on atomic energy cooperation, such as with Switzerland, India, and the United States.

Universities and collaborative innovation in EC-funded research projects
This analysis looks at Innovation Radar data and the relationship between the type of innovators and the potential of their innovations, in particular the collaborations between universities and private organisations. It also analyses whether universities and private organisations face different needs and bottlenecks to bring their innovations to the market. Findings include:
There is a strong geographic concentration of innovators. Germany, the UK, Italy and Spain are the countries with the most organisations identified as key players in delivering innovations.
Innovations with high potential are often delivered by SMEs, with 44% of the organisations behind the innovations being SMEs.
70% of innovations with high potential are co-developed with universities. Collaboration between universities and SMEs seems to be particularly fruitful.
innovations co-developed with universities have equal chances of commercial exploitation as those that are introduced by private-private collaborations.
Innovations produced within EU-funded research projects are a result of collaborative work. On average, there are 1.9 innovators per innovation.
ICT FP7/CIP projects funded under FP7 and Competitiveness and innovation Programme (CIP) deliver a substantial number of innovations. On average, nearly 2 new or substantially improved products or services are developed within each project. Most of the innovations are related to data processing or software development.

East of England and Horizon 2020 interim evaluation
The East of England European Partnership has submitted a response to the European Commission’s stakeholder consultation on the interim evaluation of Horizon 2020. A copy can be downloaded from the members’ website.

Looking towards FP9
Discussions are already underway about the shape of the EU’s successor programme for research and innovation when Horizon 2020 ends in 2020. 
The Science|Network of universities, companies and innovation organisations met in Brussels to debate the future of programmes. The conference included contributions from foresight experts for the Commission. A report has been published distilling the conversations into a set of suggestions for the next Framework Programme. They do not represent official policy. 
Deutsche Stiftung Weltbevölkerung, a youth-focused organisation addressing global poverty, has published a report highlighting ten recommendations for Global Health in FP9. 

University applications figures

UCAS has released data on the number of applicants to January finding that the total number of applications are down on last year. Overall, UK applicant figures have decreased by 5% to 469,490 and EU applicant figures decreased by 7% to 42,070. However, Universities UK notes that “applicants from the EU in particular are only very slightly below 2015, which at that time was the highest they'd ever been.” Figures have also been released about students enrolled in UK higher education in 2015–16. The number of EU students increased by 2%, now making up 6% of the student body.

Fast Track to Innovation projects

The European Commission has allocated €33.5 million for 17 projects from 19 countries under the Fast Track to Innovation pilot initiative in Horizon 2020. Five of the projects are led by UK organisations, and 13 of the projects include UK partners. A list of all projects is available online. 

Mid-term evaluation of Regulation on food and feed expenditure
A consultation is underway on the EU regulation (No 652/2014) which covers spending for animal health measures, plant health measures, official controls and other activities. The deadline for response to the consultation is 17 March 23017.

January 2017

Switzerland and Horizon 2020
Swiss scientists, innovators and businesses will be able fully to take part in the Horizon 2020 programme in 2017. Swiss eligibility had been reduced following a referendum in 2014 and a decision not to sign the protocol granting free movement to Croatia on becoming a Member State of the EU. On 16 December 2016 the Swiss Federal Council ratified the Protocol on the extension to Croatia of the Free Movement of Persons Agreement between the EU and Switzerland. That means that as of 1 January 2017 the Association Agreement will again cover the whole of Horizon 2020, Euratom Programme, and activities carried out by Fusion for Energy. In practical terms this means that for all Horizon 2020 projects signed as from 1 January Swiss participants are automatically eligible for funding and may count towards the minimum number of participants required for a project.
The EU has updated its advice on Swiss participation.
Further information is also available on the Swiss website EUResearch.

University of Leuven rector urges British universities to set up Brussels campuses
University of Leuven (KU Leuven) rector Rik Torfs has asked for collaboration with UK universities following Brexit. In the Times Higher Education supplement, he has proposed setting up associations of British and European universities. Mr Torfs has proposed the establishment of “one or more British universities on the mainland”. This would allow British researchers to continue collaborating with their colleagues and access EU funding. He said this could conceivably be established before Brexit concludes.

“You could imagine an association of a few excellent UK universities on the mainland, as a legal entity somewhere in Brussels, close to EU headquarters for practical reasons,” he told the Times. “Education remains an area where division leads nowhere.”

KU Leuven currently collaborates with British universities, including Cambridge, through the League of European Research Universities as well as other networking associations.

Research representatives call for changes to copyright proposal
In September 2016, the European Commission presented its legislative proposal to update the EU framework on copyright in the Digital Single Market. In a joint statement organisations in the public research sector (LERU, CESAER, EUA, LIBER and Science Europe) are calling for the removal of barriers to research and innovation that they see in the current proposal in the areas of:
Text and Data Mining
Education and Research
Transparency obligation
Ancillary copyright.

Interreg Europe and R&I
One of the Interreg Europe Programme’s aims is to “support sustainable growth that is increasingly related to the capacity of regional economies to innovate, transform and adapt to challenges.” Through its Research and Innovation theme, it fosters exchange of experience, capacity building and networking aimed at achieving ‘smart growth’. 

Under the 2016 second call for proposals 66 projects were approved from 211 applications. Nineteen of the approved projects fall under the R&I theme, and include:
INNOTRANS: Enhancing transport innovation capacity of regions, Lead partner: Coventry University Enterprises Ltd, United Kingdom
URBAN M: Urban Manufacturing - Stimulating Innovation Through Collaborative Maker Spaces, Lead partner: Birmingham City University, United Kingdom
ITHACA: InnovaTion in Health And Care for All, Lead partner: Province of Noord-Brabant, Netherlands
Find a list of the approved projects here.

December (II)

Future and Emerging Technologies
In December 2016, EU Commissioner Oettinger hosted a round table to explore possible topics for future FET Flagships and ensure that top level priorities on grand science and technology challenges are taken into consideration. Participants included high level representatives from Member States and from the scientific and industrial communities. Together, they identified major Science and Technology challenges that could be addressed by future FET-Flagships in key areas including: ICT for connected society; health and life science; environment, climate and energy.

As a next step in the Horizon 2020 Work Programme 2018-2020, the EU will launch a competitive call for 4 to 6 preparatory actions for future Flagships within these areas.

The Future & Emerging Technologies (FET) Flagships are visionary, large-scale, science-driven research initiatives which tackle scientific and technological challenges across scientific disciplines. Find out more about the current FET flagships, Graphene and the Human Brain Project.

Cluster 4.0: Shaping Smart Industries
The fifth European Cluster Conference was held in December, focussing on “Shaping Smart Industries” and how to use clusters to capitalise upon new technologies and service offerings that drive the digitalisation and industrial transformation trends, where everything is becoming interlinked: factories, machines, autonomous production systems and the actors along the value chains. The conference is linked to the European Commission’s efforts to support European Strategic Cluster Partnerships and to support entrepreneurship and growth acceleration of SMEs in order to turn more start-ups into scale-ups across Europe. A short video and all the conference documentation are now available online.

Horizon Prize for Materials for Clean Air
The European Commission has announced that a Horizon Prize for Materials for Clean Air will be launched on 26 January 2017 with a deadline of 23 January 2018. The Materials for Clean Air prize aims to develop material solutions that can effectively remove or prevent the formation of particulate matter in the atmosphere (vehicle exhaust systems will be excluded) and works in the environment targeted for application.

December (I)

Eurostat figures for 2015 investment in research and innovation
The latest Eurostat data analysis has found that in 2015 EU Member States spent almost €300 billion on Research & Development (R&D).R&D expenditure as a percentage of GDP (called research intensity) stood at 2.03% in 2015. Ten years ago R&D intensity was 1.74%. The highest R&D intensities were recorded in Sweden (3.26%), Austria (3.07%) and Denmark (3.03%). In contrast, the UK falls well below 3%, and is remains below the EU average with an R&D intensity of 1.70%. Ten years ago the UK’s figure was 1.57%.
The UK also lies behind South Korea (4.29% in 2014) Japan (3.59% in 2014) and the United States (2.73% in 2013). China (excluding Hong Kong) increased 1.52% in 2005 to 2.05% in 2014. 
In recognition of the role research and innovation plays in stimulating growth, jobs and competitiveness, the EU has a target to increase R&D intensity to 3% by 2020.

Horizon 2020 facts and figures for the first two years of the programme
The Commission has published a review of the operation of the first two years of Horizon 2020. In summary:

  • Over 76,400 eligible proposals were submitted for calls in the first two years of Horizon 2020, requesting a total EU financial contribution of €125.4bn.
  • Around 9,200 proposals were retained for funding. The overall success rate of eligible full proposals in the first two years is 11.8%. Oversubscription is therefore a main concern.
  • Over 9,000 grant agreements were signed by 1 September 2016, with a budget allocation of over €15.9bn in EU funding.
  • More than 90% of all grant agreements were signed within the legal target of eight months.
  • Around 49% of the participants in Horizon 2020 are newcomers. 
  • The 20% budget target for the funding of small and medium-sized enterprises was achieved.
On the pressing matter of over-subscription, the success rate has decreased from 13.2% in 2014 to 10.7% in 2015. This means there is about half the chance of success than there was under the preceding programme (FP7). The success rate for UK applicants in 2015 was 12.1% overall.

In 2015 the UK was the top beneficiary with 15.9% share of the funding allocated, marginally ahead of Germany (15.7%). The UK remains the top participating country:

Young researchers

EU Ministers have adopted conclusions on measures to support young researchers and raise the attractiveness of scientific careers. This builds on the Bratislava Declaration of Young Researchers which called on Member States and the European Commission to recognise the special role that young researchers play, and included:

  • We aspire to enable great people to realise their ideas to understand and improve the world. 
  • We aspire to sustainable and transparent career trajectories. 
  • We aspire to a diverse, collaborative, inter-disciplinary, open, and ethical research environment. 
  • We aspire to a healthy work-life balance.
The Competitiveness Council’s conclusions have been welcomed by the League of European Research Universities.

Human Brain Project
The Human Brain Project, supported by Horizon 2020, held an interactive exhibition at the European Parliament. The exhibition accompanied a workshop “Understanding the Human Brain – A new era of big neuroscience”, with a panel discussion between three global brain initiatives, i.e. The Human Brain Project, the US Brain Initiative and the Japanese BRAIN/MIND project. To find out more see the workshop recordings.

November (II)

FoodConnects consortium will set up EIT Food
The European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) has announced the winning team selected to set up EIT Food, a new pan-European partnership bringing together leading businesses, universities and research organisations. FoodConnects is a consortium of 50 partners from 13 countries, including the University of Cambridge.  The EIT will provide a start-up grant of up to €4 million to ensure that it is fully operational as soon as possible. EIT Food aims to, among others:
Support the creation of 350 start-ups within seven years
Train over 10 000 graduates from EIT-labelled Master and programmes over seven years
Develop 290 new or improved products, services, and processes by 2024
Decrease greenhouse-gas emissions in the European food system by 40% by 2030

Additional UK funds for research and innovation announced
The UK government will put an extra £4.745 billion into science and innovation over the next four years. The money will come from a new National Productivity Investment Fund. Some of the extra funding will target priority technologies such as robotics, artificial intelligence, industrial biotechnology and advanced materials manufacturing. The remainder will be devoted to innovation, applied science and research. The funds will be distributed through UK Research and Innovation, a new public grant funding agency that brings together seven research councils and Innovate UK.

November (I)

Consultation on Horizon 2020 opens
On 20 October the European Commission launched its public stakeholder consultation as part of the interim evaluation of Horizon 2020. Not only will this contribute to the operation of the final three years of the current programme, but will also be an important element in preparations of a next EU research and innovation programme, dubbed “FP9”. The Commission invites as many responses as possible, from all sectors, and including from those who have chosen not to participate or have been unsuccessful in proposal submissions.

The consultation will be open until 15 January 2017.

There are also other consultations open on: 
  • The Euratom Research and Training Programme until 15 January 2016
  • The European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) until 20 November 2016
  • A consultation on public-public and public-private partnerships under Horizon 2020 will be launched shortly.

Foresight exercise on EU Research and Innovation funding post-2020 "FP9"
The European Commission has asked experts to do a 'stock-take', explore the context for a future Research and Innovation Programme and consider scenarios.

The foresight exercise - dubbed The Bohemia Study - is led by the Austrian Institute of Technology. The group of experts is examining the Global and European context, in two overarching scenarios: one with slow growth and turbulent transitions; a second for change, transforming the world for the better.

It is also examining key topical areas:
  • Climate and energy 
  • Resources and production system transformation
  • Towards a world of cities 
  • Health 
  • Accelerating innovation / digital society 
  • Security and resilience
Study milestones:-
  • Refinement of scenarios: global, European and topical – until end of 2016
  • Delphi process to elaborate on European transition paths, critical milestones, and more specific future R&I policy issues – until Spring 2017
  • Interpretation of results and policy recommendations – until Summer 2017
An introduction to the Bohemia Study

European Parliament backs research funding in budget discussions
The European Parliament has adopted in plenary its position on the EU budget for 2017. Under “Competitiveness for growth and jobs” it:-
  • reasserts the need to “fully restore the original pre-EFSI profile of the Horizon 2020 and CEF lines that were cut for the provisioning of the EFSI Guarantee Fund”; 
  • stresses the importance of Horizon 2020 “which transforms great ideas into products and services, thus stimulating growth and jobs”; 
  • proposes some increases to the amounts in the draft budget, including Marie Curie, European Research Council, and Erasmus+ programmes. 

Experts report on the European Open Science Cloud
The European Commission has published the first report of the Commission's High Level Expert Group on the European Open Science Cloud. The Report recommends taking speedy in cooperation with Member States, and preparing Rules of Engagement on access and services based on research data. It sees the EOSC as the EU contribution to a global Internet of FAIR Data and Services. It estimates that half a million 'core data scientists' are needed to make the most of open research data in Europe. The Recommendations are a starting point for further discussion with scientific user communities, research funders and Member States.

Leaving the EU: Implications and opportunities for science and research
On 26 October the House of Commons Science and Technology Select Committee met to discuss the implications of leaving the EU for science and research. The witnesses were: 

  • Robin Walker MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Exiting the European Union
  • Jo Johnson MP, Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
  • Gareth Davies, Director General, Business and Science, Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
The Committee's discussion included the importance of the reassurance that Horizon 2020 funding commitments entered into prior to departure will be honoured, especially as two-thirds of enquiries received have related to this.  Robin Walker: “the assurances that the Treasury has provided also give people confidence in coming forward with future bids for funding and we remain through this process, through the whole Art 50 process we will remain a member of the EU with all the rights and responsibilities that it entails. It’s very important that UK businesses, UK universities, people who can access research funding, continue to put their bids in. That’s one of the reasons the guarantees that have been given are so important is that they do provide that reassurance that it’s worth continuing to bid.”

Jo Johnson spoke about the global opportunities and looking at regulatory frameworks and funding international science and research collaboration, looking at which countries provide the highest returns for collaboration “that’s not to prejudge any relationship we might or might not have with H2020 and successor framework programmes”.

Any concrete examples of where European partners have not wished to collaborate are still invited although it is recognised that by its nature it's difficult to know when UK organisations have not been invited. 

The meeting is available to watch 

October (II)

Ukraine research framework agreement
In September the EU’s Joint Research Council (JRC) and the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine (NASU) signed a research framework arrangement. This general agreement opens the path to strengthening and intensifying of scientific cooperation between the two organisations. Discussions focussed on smart specialisation as a strategic approach to economic development through targeted support for research and innovation, and on agriculture and disaster risk reduction. 

The agreement follows previous collaboration and joint activities, in particular within the JRC initiative for the Scientific Support to the Danube Region, as well as in the areas of nuclear safety and security, remote sensing, food security and food safety and energy.

Ukraine joined Horizon 2020 in March 2015, allowing Ukraine's researchers, businesses and innovators to participate on equal terms with EU Member States and other associated countries. In June 2016, the European Union and Ukraine concluded an agreement on the association of Ukraine to the Euratom Research and Training Programme.

October (I)

Consultation on the future direction of European Institute of Innovation and Technology
The European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) is an independent EU body which brings together business, education and research to form cross-border partnerships known as Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs).

A public consultation has been launched to help shape the future of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT). Stakeholders in innovation, research and education are invited to share their views of the EIT and on how the EIT’s work might be improved. It will provide the Commission with evidence and data for designing the EIT’s future, including the next Strategic Innovation Agenda for the years 2021-2027. The public consultation will be open until 20 November 2016.  

European Biotechnology Network – Brexit survey
The European Biotechnology Network has been making an assessment of the potential impact of Brexit on the scientific community in Europe and is launching a survey for actors in the science community in the UK and also across the rest of the EU. The European Biotechnology Network is collecting survey responses from members and the wider community and will produce a report that reflects how UK scientists think they will be impacted and how the rest of the EU now views the UK as a science and business centre.

Coaching for SMEs under Horizon 2020 SME Instrument
In addition to direct funding, the SME Instrument can offer intensive coaching and mentoring to increase the chances of companies to survive and grow. Coaching under the SME Instrument includes 3 days of coaching under phase 1 and 12 days under phase 2.

Coaches are recruited through a call and assigned to companies by the regional Enterprise Europe Network (EEN). A list of coaches that have worked for the SME Instrument beneficiaries has been made available. To apply to become a coach, there is the call for expression of interest and the rules of the game

In October the CEOs of more than 400 SMEs with high innovation potential are invited to the first ever SME Instrument Innovators' Summit. The Summit gives SMEs the opportunity to meet peers, learn to pitch and try their ideas in front of a panel of investors, while participatory workshops and matchmaking will open the door to finding new partnerships. 

Following the closure of the European Partnership at the end of March 2019, this website is no longer active and will not be updated. However, it will be kept live for a period of time as an archive resource.