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December 11, 2013

Horizon 2020 - Calls Day Live Blog

Welcome to our Horizon 2020 Calls Day live blog. We'll bring you the latest news on calls and funding, plus reaction and analysis, thoughout the day. All times are UK local.

For more in-depth analysis check out our summary of all Horizon 2020 Work Programmes

Please refresh this page regularly to see the latest entries. And do check us out on Twitter—@ResearchEurope. Enjoy!

15:41 - A word of warning on the deadlines included in the call summaries on the participant portal: don’t take them as guaranteed. Several of the calls have more than one round of funding, and for these the Commission has only listed the latest cut off dates. Ones we have spotted already under pillar one are the ERC Proof of Concept grants, and the FET Open calls. So make sure you check the call details (or our database, of course) carefully: there may be a chance to get your proposal evaluated and get some money sooner than you think! 

14:23 - Daan du Toit, South Africa’s science and technology representative to the EU, has expressed his congratulations on Horizon 2020 call launch on Twitter, writing that “South Africa looks forward to research innovation partnerships with Europe”. South Africa will be one of many countries looking to tap into this new source of research income, the rules of which will be governed by the Commission’s internationalisation strategy for Horizon 2020 (full blown pdf version here). The basic jist is that H2020 is fully open to participation from researchers anywhere, but only certain groups can automatically receive funding. Aside from member states and associated countries, this is limited to International Cooperation Partner countries (less developed economies)—and importantly, this classification has been changed from Framework 7 to exclude emerging economies like Brazil, India, and China, which will now be expected to pay their own way. Exceptions are when the EU has specific reciprocal agreements to provide funding (like it does with the US), or if a country's participation is deemed to be crucial to the success of the project. 

14:01 - Cost, the European cooperation in science and technology, has branded the call launch an “essential milestone” in making Europe more innovative and competitive. In a statement just published, the organisation highlights its own role under Horizon 2020 in continuing to encourage coordination between researchers in different countries. This has involved a change in legal structure for the organisation, to help it function better under Horizon 2020. The organisation will mostly be funded through the sixth societal challenge—inclusive, innovative and secure societies.  

14:00 -  This is Laura, taking over the blogging for the rest of the day!

13.41 - Cefic, the lobby group for the chemicals industry, has issued a statement welcoming Horizon 2020. The programme's focus on industry and applied spending suits chemicals businesses well, said Cefic director for research Gernot Klotz. He added that EU funding, especially grants and loans to small businesses, are important in the face of "fierce" international competition. 

13.14 - Our funding opportunities team has uploaded the first batch of Horizon 2020 calls. These should appear in our database within the hour. 

12.55 - The Smart Cites initiative is apparently generating some buzz. There's €92 million in Horizon 2020 in 2014 for this programme, which aims to boost citizen involvement in innovation. However, the idea came under fire during a conference last month, when scientists said they are tired of large-scale pilot programmes on this, and would like more substantial and long-term funding to get on with the task at hand.

12.37 - Statement comes out on Marie Sklodowska-Curie actions. There's €800 million in 2014. The total budget, about €6 billion, is expected to fund about 65,000 researcher exchanges, the Commission says. Marie Sklodowska-Curie actions were supported strongly by researchers, who worried that they might lose funding to the more dominant ERC, as both programmes are in the excellent science pillar. The programme is certainly one of the most-loved parts of the Framework programme, and some participants welcomed the addition of Curie's maiden name to the title. 

12.19 - Commission issues statement on transport funding, which mentioned Shift2Rail, the planned Joint Technology Initiative for a pan-European railway network. Transport will get a total of €6.3 billion under Horizon 2020, which is about 8 per cent of the total budget. About €1.9bn comes from DG Transport, which will be involved in several of the calls. 

12.04 - Quick summary of research commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn's launch speech. She says Europe badly needs new ideas, and that the calls represent the EU asking directly for these ideas. The three pillars are the mainstay, but there is plenty of funding for cross-cutting issues, such as gender, climate change, ect. "We are defining the problem, but we are asking the participants to find the best solution to get the job done," Geoghegan-Quinn said.

Questions were asked about SME participation, stem cell science and brain drain. SME participation target under Horizon 2020 is up to 20 per cent, and Geoghegan-Quinn is positive that this will be met. The applied science focus of Horizon 2020 came under fire, though, with one Twitter user calling it the "bullshit bingo". But Geoghegan-Quinn stayed firm, saying it was the way to go. "I've been to seven launch events, and attendants included a strong segment of industry who want to be involved," she said. "I guess Horizon 2020 will be oversubscribed."

11.27 - Máire Geoghegan-Quinn is to give launch speech on Horizon 2020 at EU-midday briefing in a few minutes. Watch here. Ongoing briefing on Ukraine might overrun a bit, though.

11.20 - Commission press statement on Horizon 2020 is out, summarising the EU's favourite parts of the programme. "Horizon 2020 funding is vital for the future of research and innovation in Europe, and will contribute to growth, jobs and a better quality of life," says research commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn. There's €15 billion in total for 2014-2015, including €1.7bn for the ERC, €1.8bn for industrial leadership and €2.8bn for societal challenges. A press briefing is scheduled for 12.30 CET. 

11.04 - G8 Dementia summit has kicked off in London, with German health minister Daniel Bahr calling it the biggest problem facing western societies in the near future. Meanwhile, the Innovative Medicines Initiative has launched its last Framework 7 call, on clinical trials for Alzheimer's disease, worth (€53 million). Under the health societal challenge in Horizon 2020 there is a pot awarding €5 million each for projects that align research into dementia and brain diseases across Europe (HCO-11). The overall funding pot for health is about €7.5 billion over the duration of Horizon 2020.

10.34 - Pia Ahrenkilde Hansen, a spokeswoman for the European Commission, is interviewed on Vieuws. She says that the WASTE programme in Horizon 2020, which is to get €100 million over the next two years, could create up to 400,000 jobs. The energy saving programme, down for €200 million in the same time frame, could create 250,000 jobs. "We need to get cracking and get those projects going," she says. Watch the full interview here

9.58 - The European Commission has published a flyer on ICT-enabled public innovation, providing nformation on funding opportunities under societal challenge 6 and 7—inclusive and secure societies—for ICT infrastructures that could improve governance. This includes funding for emerging technologies, open participation in governance, mobile public services, and funding for privacy research under secure societies, for which there will be €47 million in 2014.

9.40 - Whilst celebrating Horizon 2020, spare a thought for our friend of seven years Framework 7. Manfred Horvat of the Vienna University of Technology has written an in-depth analysis of the outgoing Framework programme for us, saying that through Framework 7 "innumerable collaborative links have been built, strengthening and tightening the connections in the fabric of European R&D."

9.17 - Impressions on Horizon 2020 from EUREC's Greg Arrowsmith: In an article written earlier, he remarks on the strengthened position of energy research in this Framework programme, and says that a hike in funding will support Europe in achieving the 20-20-20 target of reducing emissions by 20 per cent by 2020, compared to 1990 levels. Arrowsmith, however, is critical of the more open concept of Horizon 2020, saying that this could lead to a diffusion of goals and a too-wide approach to solving societal problems. "Unless the Commission takes action, the stakeholders who do the writing (often volunteers) will lose motivation," Arrowsmith warns. Read the full comment here

8.55 - Research commmissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn will hold a briefing on the Horizon 2020 calls at 12.30 CET. We'll be there to tell you what she's got to say.

8.30 - Good morning! We've kicked off the day to the news that the Commision's participant portal is still empty - fortunately we've obtained all the calls info from other sources, so our funding team is already busy filling out the database to bring you the latest calls. Meanwhile, a screenshot for posterity:

Screen Shot 2013-12-11 at 08.33.06

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