среда, 29 апреля 2015 г.

Enterprise Europe Network Scotland » H2020 Hacks - Fast Track to Innovation - all you need to know

Enterprise Europe Network Scotland » H2020 Hacks - Fast Track to Innovation - all you need to know

 






Welcome to our April 2015 podcast, podcast episode number 97! 
This podcast is about the new Horizon 2020 pilot programme called Fast
Track to Innovation (FTI).


The Fast Track to Innovation pilot is a fully-bottom-up measure in
Horizon 2020 to promote close-to-the-market innovation activities, and open to all types of participants.
Launched at the beginning of this year, you might have seen it cropping
up on the internet and we though a podcast on the subject is long
overdue.


Recently Jane Watkins, the UK National Contact Point for SME
Instrument, Fast Track to Innovation and Access to Finance made a
presentation about FTI at an event in Edinburgh and Ken spoke to her
afterwards for you dear listeners.


If having listened to Jane you want to apply, you can contact her by email. Her email address is NCP-SME@innovateuk.gov.uk and we recommend you check out the official FTI website and the UK Horizon 2020 website,


On twitter for FTI news and events, follow @EU_H2020, @EEN_UK and of course us @eenscotland .


Finally here’s something brand new! If you are in Scotland and looking to do business in Europe, the new Scottish EU Funding Portal is designed to help companies access European funding.


Listening to this and not in Scotland? While that does not make you a bad person,  (visit Scotland!), we have good news, our network covers more than 50
countries!
We have valued colleagues in your country that will help
you. Find your local office contact details on the list on this page or drop us
an email or a comment on this page and we'll send you the details. It's good to connect up and they are all very helpful people.

понедельник, 27 апреля 2015 г.

Striving for tangible short-term impact in Horizon 2020 can stifle innovation

By today’s standards for assessing impact, EU research funding agencies would discard Einstein’s theory of relativity
Sergio Bertolucci, CERN & Rosalinde van der Vlies, DG RTD
Although only 15 months old, the EU’s Horizon 2020 science and research programme has already received over 45,000 applications, of which just over 14 per cent were approved for funding.
The Commission says these are signs of success, but representatives of leading science institutions and universities questioned what they see as an excessive focus on measuring the immediate economic impact of research projects at the Science|Business conference on Horizon 2020, held in Brussels last month.
Impact is not always immediate and not necessarily easy to measure. But even though it can take decades - if not centuries - for big science projects to have a tangible economic impact, everyone knows about the success stories and why it is worth investing in blue sky research.
Smartphones depend on two big discoveries of the last century: relativity and quantum mechanics. Google maps uses relativity to correct for space-time distortion around the Earth, while the entire semiconductor industry would not exist without the understanding of quantum mechanics.
“Imagine if Einstein [had] submitted a proposal to the European Research Council for his theory of relativity,” said Sergio Betolucci, the director for research and computing at CERN. “He has no record of previous achievements, he’s clearly crazy, and nobody understands the impact; His proposal would be discarded,” said Bertolucci.
Big science and the ‘real’ economy
The new Commission is cooking up an investment plan for more jobs & growth, which will likely lead to cutting €2.7 billion off the Horizon 2020 budget. Although the cuts are in the context of an almost 40 per cent rise in research funding from 2007 to 2013, researchers across Europe are concerned.
There are features of the jobs and growth plan which are commendable, such as tackling youth unemployment and the harmonisation of financial markets, but universities do not like the cuts the Commission wants to make to the Horizon 2020 programme. They also resent the premise that big science has little impact on the economy. “We don’t like this movement to suggest that basic research has less social and economic value than what they like to call investments in the real economy,” said Jonathan Wareham, ESADE’s dean of faculty and research.
Since Jean-Claude Juncker took over the reins of the European Commission, “Impact has become an absolute political necessity,” said Rosalinde van der Vlies, head of the Evaluation unit at the European Commission’s research and innovation directorate, DG RTD.  Juncker wants to “deliver concrete results for citizens,” she said.
EU institutions have a responsibility towards the taxpayer. “[We] have to measure impact because we are using taxpayer’s money and we need to report on how we are spending it,” said van der Vlies.
Impact under Horizon 2020
The Commission has three criteria on which Horizon 2020 evaluators assess the quality of research proposals: excellence, impact, and the quality of implementation. In order to measure impact, three indicators are considered: the capacity to innovate, the creation of new knowledge, and contributions to the wider societal and economic impact. However, “This is extremely difficult to measure,” said van der Vlies.
The Commission relies a lot on information coming from grant beneficiaries, to offer “a more complete story about the impact,” said van der Vlies. However, it takes a long time to gather all the necessary information, with the Commission still in the thick of ex-post evaluation of Framework Programme 7. Although only 44 per cent of the FP7 projects are finalised, the Commission has to deliver the impact evaluation to the Parliament and to the Council by the end of the year, van der Vlies noted.
This makes it almost impossible to give a rounded assessment of the impact of EU funded research. “It may take a decade” for the Commission to come up with a proper evaluation of the projects, said van der Vlies. To address this, the Commission is launching studies that look back at the impact of the Framework programmes all the way to FP2, with the aim of identifying the impact of research funding over time.
As for Horizon 2020, grant holders are now required to report on the impact for four years after the project ends. This may be a great step forward, but there is little incentive to comply, van der Vlies said. Beneficiaries agree to send this information back to the Commission but there is no enforcement mechanism. “For now we are depending on the goodwill of the beneficiaries for assessing the impact of the projects,” said van der Vlies.
Under Horizon 2020, “Impact has become very important but we need to make sure we are not becoming fundamentalists in assessing it,” said Bertolucci. There is nothing wrong with assessing impact but ignoring the long term perspective is a mistake. Horizon 2020 projects should be evaluated under, “a broader definition that takes into account the value of big science projects and long-term investments in science,” said Bertolucci.
Calculating the financial returns of big science is “ambiguous,” said Wareham. Although we may not see the immediate economic value of putting a satellite on a moving comet, the technologies required to achieve such a remarkable feat “will trickle down to the economy,” he said.
These views were expressed at the Science|Business Horizon 2020 conference on 24 March in Brussels
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Related subjects: Horizon 2020

Horizon 2020 Special Coverage

воскресенье, 26 апреля 2015 г.

Crowdfunding for a low carbon energy system: addressing major challenges for EU-wide public and private investments in energy and carbon saving measures










A
low carbon energy system is realizable with current proven technologies
provided that appropriate investments for installing these technologies
are made. The challenge with energy-efficiency measures is that they
require high initial investments and are only profitable in the long
run. Thus, many SMEs, non-profit organizations and local authorities
cannot afford that or simply lack the interest of investing in these
types of actions.bettervest bridges the gap between funding and action.
It is the first crowdfunding platform that focuses on energy-efficiency
projects from a size of 5.000 to 200.000 Euros and allows the crowd to
benefit from the savings generated through the reduced energy
consumption. A defined percentage of the savings is distributed to the
crowd until the investment plus a previously agreed upon profit has been
completely paid back. Additionally, the project owners can use the
crowdfunding project as a customer bonding and staff participation
measure that rise awareness for their corporate social responsibility
activities and increases identification with the firm. The Federal
Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) estimates that the
benefit of energy-efficiency measures in Germany belongs to 27 Billion
Euros in 2012 by avoiding imports of fossil energy carriers. McKinsey
estimates that again 850.000 jobs could be generated in the
energy-efficiency sector in Germany by 2020. Until 2012 around 500.000
jobs have been generated (BMWi 2014). Applied to the EU these numbers
should be multiplied accordingly. bettervest receives in sum a
theoretical impact over an average contract period of five years of
3.750 MWh energy-savings and 4.500 tons carbon reductions for every
1.000.000 Euros funded within the crowd. The already funded projects
would not have been implemented without the innovative finance
instrument of bettervest. This proposal aims to explore the opportunity
to expand bettervest's activities to other European countries.


Project Acronym: 
bettervest
EU Contribution: 
50.000
Project Date: 
Friday, 10 January, 2014 to Sunday, 4 January, 2015
Beneficiary: 

вторник, 21 апреля 2015 г.

Horizon 2020 Environment: 28 projects selected for funding



Evaluation
of the 115 proposals submitted in September 2014 in answer to Horizon
2020's Societal Challenge "Climate action, environment, resource
efficiency and raw materials" has now been completed
(H2020-SC5-WASTE-WATER-2014-Two-Stages calls) and grant agreements for
28 new projects are being prepared.


Experts
have selected 28 project proposals reaching the total amount of EUR
184.6 million of which 44.2% was designated to "Growing a low carbon,
resource efficient economy with a sustainable supply of raw materials"
(SC5), 28.1% to waste as a resource of raw materials, and 27.6% to water
innovation. The results from the three calls have been disclosed to all
applicants.


Budget designated for proposals funded under 2014 two-stage calls




Budget designated for proposals funded under 2014 two-stage calls

Proposals selected per topic

Among all the call topics of the two-stage 2014 call, the Water call
leads with 13 selected projects. The success rate was the highest among
proposals on “First application and market replication of near-market
water solutions" (WATER 1a-2014): 39.2% of the proposals were selected
for funding.


The 9 proposals of SC5 within research and innovation actions cover
five different call topics ranging from advanced earth-system models to
observation and monitoring data usable for ecosystem modelling and
services.


Horizon 2020 Environment 2014 calls: Number of proposals selected per call




Horizon 2020 Environment 2014 calls: Number of proposals selected per call
Over 80% of the six selected projects among the 27 Waste proposals
was designated to "Moving towards a circular economy through industrial
symbiosis" (WASTE-1-2014), a topic with a 26.3% success rate.


2014 two-stage calls: Proposals selected per topic


Open funding opportunities

The European Commission is currently looking for research and innovation projects and coordination and support actions on SC5 (two-stage), SC5 (one-stage) , Waste (one-stage), Waste (two-stage), Water (one-stage), Water (two-stage) . Deadline for submission of funding proposals: 21 April 2015.