Horizon 2020 (H2020) Funds 17 New Robotics Projects

Horizon 2020 is the biggest EU research and innovation program ever. With nearly €80 billion of funding available over seven years, in addition to the private investment that this money will attract, the program promises more breakthroughs, discoveries and world-firsts by taking great ideas more quickly from the lab to the market.

Thirteen of the successful projects focus on the development of abilities and key technologies relevant for industrial and service robotics. Four of them aim to introduce, test and validate robotic solutions in a real-world context.

Project Examples

A sample selection of these inventive robotics projects, each with a range of research partners, includes:

CENTAURO: The CENTAURO project aims to develop a human-robot symbiotic system, in which a human operator is tele-present within a Centaur-like robot. It will be capable of robust locomotion and dexterous manipulation in rough terrain and difficult conditions which characterizes disasters.

The CENTAURO system will be capable of using unmodified human tools for solving complex bimanual manipulation tasks, such as connecting a hose or opening a valve. A human operator will control the robot intuitively using a full-body telepresence suit that provides visual, auditory, and upper-body haptic feedback.

Robot preceptoins and suggested actions will be displayed to the operator using augmented reality techniques.

EurEyeCase: The EurEyeCase project will build up and validate a convincing robot-assisted operation suite, which will help surgeons in treating a selection of particularly demanding vitreo-retinal procedures. This includes the treatment of retinal vein/artery occlusion through cannulation and epiretinal membrane treatment.

Novel sensing technologies will be further developed and integrated with advanced control methods to deliver unprecedented levels of safety and performance.

RobDREAM: What if robots could also improve their capabilities in their inactive phases – by processing experiences made during the working day and by exploring – or “dreaming” of – possible future problems and how to solve them?

With RobDREAM industrial mobile manipulators’ perception, navigation, manipulation and grasping capabilities will be improved by automatic optimization of parameters, strategies and selection of tools within a portfolio of key algorithms. By means of learning and simulation, and through use case driven evaluation, capacities for perception, navigation, manipulation and grasping will be optimized.

As a result, mobile manipulation systems will adapt more quickly to new tasks, jobs, parts, areas of operation and various other constraints.

Flourish: The goal of the Flourish project is to bridge the gap between the current and desired capabilities of agricultural robots by developing an adaptable robotic solution for precision farming.

By combining the aerial survey capabilities of a small Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) with a multi-purpose agricultural Unmanned Ground Vehicle (UGV), the system will be able to survey a field from the air, perform targeted intervention on the ground, and provide detailed information for decision support, all with minimal user intervention.

The system can be adapted to a wide range of crops by choosing different sensors and ground treatment packages.


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Industrial Leadership – Horizon 2020

This pillar aims to speed up development of the technologies and innovations that will underpin tomorrow’s businesses and help innovative European SMEs to grow into world-leading companies.

It consists of three specific objectives:

  • “Leadership in enabling and industrial technologies” will provide dedicated support for research, development and demonstration and, where appropriate, for standardisation and certification, on information and communications technology (ICT), nanotechnology, advanced materials, biotechnology, advanced manufacturing and processing and space. Emphasis will be placed on interactions and convergence across and between the different technologies and their relations to societal challenges. User needs will be taken into account in all these fields.
  • “Access to risk finance” will aim to overcome deficits in the availability of debt and equity finance for R&D and innovation-driven companies and projects at all stages of development. Together with the equity instrument of the Programme for the Competitiveness of Enterprises and small and medium-sized enterprises (COSME) (2014‑2020) it will support the development of Union-level venture capital.
  • “Innovation in SMEs” will provide SME-tailored support to stimulate all forms of innovation in SMEs, targeting those with the potential to grow and internationalise across the single market and beyond.

The goal is to make Europe a more attractive location to invest in research and innovation (including eco-innovation), by promoting activities where businesses set the agenda. It will provide major investment in key industrial technologies, maximise the growth potential of European companies by providing them with adequate levels of finance and help innovative SMEs to grow into world-leading companies.

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SME Instrument Programme under Horizon 2020

Horizon 2020 will support Innovative Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) through a new dedicated SME instrument. SMEs can form collaborations according to their needs, including for subcontracting research and development work to apply for funding and support.

he new SME instrument will be a simpler and more easily accessible funding scheme for SMEs. It comes in addition to the support provided through the participation of SME in collaborative projects that will be continued in Horizon 2020, as well as to other measures for SME (such as the EU contribution of the Eurostar programme). Please check the Horizon 2020 website to understand how specific FP7 and CIP SME activities are taken up under the new programme.

What is it for?

The aim of the SME Instrument is to fill the gaps in funding for early-stage, Research and Innovation SMEs and accelerating the exploitation of innovations. Projects will be selected through a bottom-up approach within a given societal challenge or enabling technology of  H2020. They must be of clear interest and benefit to SMEs and have a clear European dimension.

How does it work?

The SME Instrument is structured in 3 phases covering different stages of the innovation cycle. The processes of evaluating the proposals are based on simple rules in order to reduce the time to contract.

  • Phase 1 aims to cover the assessment of technical feasibility and market potential of new ideas. Project will be supported through a lump sum of € 50,000 and the typical duration should be 6 months.
  • Phase 2 aims to cover R&I activities with a particular focus on demonstration activities (testing, prototype, scale-up studies, design, piloting innovative processes, products and services, validation, performance verification etc.) and market replication encouraging the involvement of end users or potential clients. Projects funding should be up to € 2,500,000 and the typical duration should range from 12 to 24 months (more funding and longer duration are possible if duly justified).
  • Phase 3 concerns support measures in view of helping SMEs toward commercialising their innovative products and services through measures like networking, training, coaching and mentoring, facilitating access to private capital or better interaction with key stakeholders. SME will be not funded directly under phase 3.

SMEs are recommended to apply for funding starting with part 1, however they are allowed to apply directly to part 2 or even part 3, depending on the stage of their project. Successful completion of one part will allow an SME to move on directly to the next one.

SMEs can apply for funds under phase 1 and phase 2 whenever they need. The calls under these parts will be open according to a ramp-up phase in 2014 (to be confirmed) and then on continuous basis till 2020. As for phase 3, the calls for projects should be open through fixed time-windows.

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Horizon 2020 – Updated FAQ

  • Q: What about traditional SMEs with limited innovation capacity? Will they have their place in H2020?
    A: SMEs will be encouraged to participate across the Horizon 2020 programme. The SME instrument is open to highly innovative SMEs showing a strong ambition to develop, grow and internationalise regardless of whether they are high-tech or not. The SME instrument will be competitive, business-oriented and focused on creating impact, bringing high-potential innovations closer to the market. Closer to the market activities under the rules of participation has a reimbursement rate of 70%. SMEs may still take part in collaborative R&D projects where the rules of participation state the reimbursement rate is 100%. A good chunk of the Horizon 2020 budgetary target for SMEs will be delivered through the dedicated SME instrument. The exact budget allocation is still to be decided.
  • Q: EU International Strategy for Research and Innovation – what are the next steps?
    A: As part of the preparation for the launch of Horizon 2020, the Commission services will start their work on identifying opportunities for international cooperation and developing the multi-annual roadmaps. These will subsequently be integrated in and implemented through Horizon 2020 and its work programmes.There will be a strengthened steering, monitoring and evaluation of the strategy, and in particular of the international cooperation aspects of Horizon 2020, in order to ensure coherent implementation across the programme. The Commission will track progress through a set of indicators and will report every two years.

  • Q: EU International Strategy for Research and Innovation – what will change for the growth economies?
    A: As the Communication points out, countries such as China, Brazil, Russia, India and other economies that have grown strongly over the past years will continue to be important partners for the EU. This is reflected in the fact that all of these countries will still be able to participate in all parts of Horizon 2020, allowing their researchers to cooperate with their counterparts in the EU on topics of their choice.Some of these countries, and in particular those where GDP is exceptionally large, will, however, no longer enjoy automatic access to EU funding, even if the country in question is classified as middle-income by the World Bank. This reflects the fact that these countries have over the past years made considerable efforts to invest in their research and innovation system and strengthen its quality. These countries are therefore now capable to cooperate with the EU on the basis of a partnership among equals. The new strategy foresees to complement this change in the approach to automatic funding by increased efforts to facilitate the funding of participants from these countries through their national channels.

    It should also be noted that, as is the case with the high income countries, EU funding for these countries will be possible under exceptional circumstances, for example where there is a reciprocal agreement in place or where it is clear that the contribution of third country partner would be essential for the project to go ahead successfully.

  • Q: What instruments will be used to implement the EU International Strategy for Research and Innovation?
    A: The Scientific and Technological Cooperation Agreements will be important vehicles for defining and implementing the roadmaps, as will the policy dialogues which have been established at the regional level.Horizon 2020 will be the main vehicle for implementing the Union’s international cooperation actions, for instance through the following instruments:

    • Research and innovation projects, where the participation of third country entities is required or preferentially evaluated;
    • Networking between projects or project managers;
    • Joint initiatives involving the Union and the international partners, such as joint calls, coordinated calls, contributions from the Union to funding programmes of third countries or international organisations, specific initiatives requiring joint funding from the Union, the third country and the Member States

    The implementation of the strategy will be closely coordinated with the instruments of the Union’s external policies, such as the Instrument for Pre-Accession, the Development Cooperation Instrument, the European Development Fund or the Partnership Instrument.

  • Q: How will priority areas and partners be selected for targeted activities under the EU International Strategy for Research and Innovation?
    A: A cornerstone of the strategy is the development of multi-annual roadmaps for cooperation with key partner countries and regions. These roadmaps will provide information on the areas and partners identified for international cooperation and will therefore offer a clear programme for enhancing and focusing cooperation. They will be developed as part of the preparation for Horizon 2020.
    The identification of areas for international cooperation will use the societal challenges and enabling and industrial technologies of the Horizon 2020 proposals as its starting point. The identification will be guided by making an analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the Union versus the rest of the world using the following set of criteria:

    • Research and innovation capacity (investment, output, human resources, infrastructure);
    • Opportunities for and risks of getting access to new markets;
    • Contribution made to meeting the Union’s international commitments (e.g. Millennium Development Goals);
    • Framework in place to engage in cooperation, including lessons learnt from previous cooperation

    A differentiation of activities by country and/or region will help provide further focus to the activities. In this respect, the following groupings will be considered:

    • EFTA countries, enlargement countries and countries covered by the European Neighbourhood Policy: where the focus will be on fostering the integration of these countries – of their alignment with – the European Research Area; these countries will be eligible for association to Horizon 2020;
    • Industrialised countries and emerging economies: where the focus will be strongly on competitiveness and tackling global challenges;
    • Developing countries: where the focus will be to assist these countries in their socio-economic development
  • Q: Why is a new International Strategy for Research and Innovation needed?
    A: The global research and innovation scene is changing rapidly. Emerging economies, such as China, Brazil, Russia or China, account for an increasing share of expenditure on research and innovation and are therefore gaining influence. Research and innovation in themselves are also increasingly globalised activities. The number of internationally co-authored publications is increasing, as is the international mobility of researchers. Companies are investing beyond their national borders, in particular in the emerging economies. Today’s societal challenges, such as combatting climate change, securing a steady supply of energy or feeding a growing world population, can only be dealt with through global action.The European Union is one of the world’s leading regions in research and innovation. With 7% of the world’s population, it accounts for 24% of the world expenditure on research, 32% of the high impact publications and 32% of the patent applications. However, as more and more knowledge is created in third countries, the Union must be in a position to access this knowledge, and the people creating it, in order to remain an attractive location for carrying out research and innovation and a partner of choice for engaging in international cooperation.

    The importance of the international dimension of research and innovation, as the

    external dimension of a vibrant European Research Area, was explicitly recognised in the Innovation Union flagship initiative and the proposals for Horizon 2020. This Communication therefore complements the Communication on A Reinforced European Research Area Partnership for Excellence and Growth.Fact sheet: International Participation in Horizon 2020 and FP7

  • Q: What are the core principles of the EU’s new International Strategy for Research and Innovation?
    A: International cooperation in research and innovation is not an end in itself. It is a means for the Union to achieve its higher level objectives, in particular by:

    • strengthening the Union’s excellence and attractiveness in research and innovation and its economic and industrial competitiveness;
    • tackling global societal challenges, such as food and energy security and climate change;
    • supporting the Union’s external policies.

    To achieve these objectives, the strategy will follow a dual approach:

    • Horizon 2020 will be open to participation from entities from across the world, although the approach to providing funding from the Union budget to these entities will be revised. Through this general opening, European researchers will be free to cooperate with their third country counterparts on topics of their own choice;
    • To complement the general opening, targeted activities will be developed where cooperation will be sought on particular topics and with well identified countries and/or regions

    A number of cross-cutting issues will also be an integral part of the strategy:

    • The partnership with the Member States will be strengthened, building on the work of the Strategy Forum for International S&T Cooperation;
    • Common principles for the conduct of international research and innovation activities will be developed and promoted together with key international partners, in order to create a global level playing field;
    • Research and innovation will make a stronger contribution to the Union’s external policies.
  • Q: How can the EU emblem be used by beneficiaries of EU programmes and other third parties?
    A: The European Union has a range of programmes which have been set up to support projects and initiatives in various domains across the EU and beyond. From 2012, most of these programmes will phase out their existing logos and no new logos will be created for upcoming programmes.FP7 is one of the exceptions and will continue to use its logo.

    The names of these programmes, such as Horizon 2020, will be used as verbal brands, i.e. references to them will be made without a logo.
    Commission services will apply the Commission’s visual identity guidelines when communicating about EU programmes. Beneficiaries of EU funding will use the European emblem in their communication to acknowledge the support received under EU programmes.
    The guidelines mentioned below are intended for beneficiaries of EU funding and other third parties who communicate about EU programmes to show how the European Union emblem can be used in conjunction with text which highlights the fact of EU funding.

  • Q: How will the rules for participation and dissemination change under Horizon 2020? And how will they be simplified?
    A: The Horizon 2020 Framework Programme represents a radically new and comprehensive approach to the EU’s research and innovation funding policies. The Rules for Participation and Dissemination are designed to implement this new approach in a way that means that researchers and businesses can benefit from it to the fullest extent.The new provisions ensure that three key objectives of the new Framework Programme – integration of support to innovation, coherence of the rules and simplification for the benefit of participants – will be realised.

  • Q: Where can I find out more about SME measures in Horizon 2020?
    A: Small- and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) will be encouraged to participate across Horizon 2020 programmes through a new dedicated SME instrument. It aims to fill gaps in funding for early-stage, high-risk research and innovation by SMEs as well as stimulating breakthrough innovations. It is expected that through this integrated strategy around 15%, or €6.8 billion, of the total combined budgets of the ‘Tackling societal challenges’ Specific Programme and the ‘Leadership in enabling and industrial technologies’ objective will be devoted to SMEs.
  • Q: What does the Commission propose for ICT funding in Horizon 2020?
    A: EU investments in ICTs are due to increase by 46% under Horizon 2020 compared to the current EU research programmes (FP7). This is in line with the Commission’s proposed increase in funding across all themes. This EU investment will support the riskier ICT research and innovation that can deliver new business breakthroughs, often on the basis of emerging technologies.
  • Q: How will international cooperation will be promoted under Horizon 2020?
    A: International cooperation in EU research and innovation programmes is important in order to strengthen the EU’s excellence in research, to tackle global challenges jointly and to support EU external policies. International cooperation will be promoted under Horizon 2020.Many of our international partner countries are investing more and more in research and innovation and cooperation will help European research to reach full potential. Active and more strategic international cooperation on research will also contribute to achieving EU policy objectives.

  • Q: How will Horizon 2020 address the variation across Member States and regions in terms of participation?
    A: The Framework Programmes for research and technology development (FP) have provided a vital contribution to the development of European competitiveness, growth and knowledge generation. There has however been considerable variation across Member States and regions in terms of FP participation. Horizon 2020 will continue to provide funding on the basis of excellence, regardless of geographical location. However, the European Commission will make a major effort under Horizon 2020 to recognise and promote excellence across Europe.
  • Q: How can I find out more about industrial participation in Horizon 2020?
    A: Horizon 2020 is designed to bring business into the research and innovation chain throughout its various components. Some of the key opportunities for participation and support are highlighted in the fact sheet mentioned below.
  • Q: How does Horizon 2020 implement the commitments made in the Innovation Union flagship initiative?
    A: Horizon 2020 implements the Innovation Union by bringing together all existing EU research and innovation funding, providing support in a seamless way from idea to market, through streamlined funding instruments and simpler programme architecture and rules for participation.
    Horizon 2020 will implement a number of the specific commitments made in the Innovation Union, notably in: focusing on societal challenges, simplifying access, involving SMEs, strengthening the ERC, strengthening financial instruments, supporting public procurement of innovation, facilitating collaboration, and supporting research on public and social innovation.
  • Q: How is innovation defined in Horizon 2020 and how does Horizon 2020 strengthen the approach to innovation?
    A: Horizon 2020 will support all forms of innovation. This includes innovation that results from research and development (R&D) activities. It also includes innovation that results from other activities, such as finding new uses or combinations of existing technologies or developing new business models or new ways of interacting with users. While innovation is generally understood as the commercial introduction of a new or significantly improved product or service, innovations can also be for non-commercial applications such as for better public services or for addressing social needs (‘social innovation’).
    Horizon 2020 will strengthen the approach to innovation in a number of ways. First, it will increase support for testing, piloting, and demonstrations of new technologies, such that their potential in real world environments can be better understood.
    Second, Horizon 2020 will support the market demand for innovation, including through the development of specifications for new standards and through supporting public bodies to procure R&D services or innovative products and services. New approaches are also foreseen, such as inducement prizes that reward the achievement of specific goals, encouraging a wider range of innovators to become involved. Furthermore, bottom-up activities will be strengthened, and call topic descriptions will be less prescriptive, allowing Europe’s brightest and most creative minds to propose their own solutions.
    Third, Horizon 2020 introduces a new SME instrument specifically designed to support SMEs to innovate.
    Fourth, Horizon 2020 will scale up financial instruments in which the public sector shares the risk with the private sector in make investments available for the development of innovative companies or projects.
  • Q: How will the seamless and integrated approach across the different specific objectives of Horizon 2020 be put in practice?
    A: There needs to be a strong interaction between the different specific objectives of Horizon 2020. For example, a European Research Council frontier research project could be result in new knowledge that can be applied commercially and/or is directly relevant to a societal challenge. Similarly, the development of enabling technologies may lead to new applications which are useful for tackling the societal challenges, or vice versa.
    Horizon 2020 will stimulate these interactions in a number of ways:
    – The same set of rules will apply to all parts, making it easier for participants who have experience in one part of the programme to apply to other parts;
    – In setting the priorities for calls for proposals, the Commission will seek advice widely from external and internal sources such that developments in one area can be captured in the priorities established in other areas;
    – Support will be provided to actions that have the explicit purpose of bringing together projects funded in different parts of Horizon 2020 in order to foster cross-fertilisation;
    – Flexible mechanisms have been included to allow joint actions that are co-funded between different specific objectives of Horizon 2020 where there is a need for a major action that serves different specific objectives.
  • Q: How does Horizon 2020 cover issues like non-technological innovation and social innovation?
    A: The activities cover both technological and non-technological innovation, corresponding to the broad approach to innovation taken in the Innovation Union. This approach recognises the need for Europe to develop a distinctive approach to innovation to be able to compete on the global scene. This includes building on EU strengths in design, creativity, services and social innovation. Funding for these activities is brought together with the support for research and technological development, allowing a full set of activities to be implemented in a strategic manner.
    Non-technological innovation can take place in all parts of the programme. In complement, regarding social innovation, the ‘Inclusive, innovative and secure societies’ challenge contains a specific objective on ‘social innovation and creativity’.
  • Q: What are the main novelties of Horizon 2020?
    A: Horizon 2020 will represent a clear break with the past in order have a stronger impact on Europe’s priority policy objectives.
    Important novelties include:
    – A single programme for all EU managed research and innovation funding, with a single set of participation rules.
    – Full integration of innovation in the programme, meaning more support that is closer to market application (e.g. demonstration, support for SMEs, innovation services, venture capital).
    – A focus on the major societal challenges Europe and the world face. This will mean bringing together different technologies, sectors, scientific disciplines, social sciences and humanities, and innovation actors to find new solutions to these challenges.
    – Radically simplified access for participants, including a single web portal for all information and projects, less paper work to make applications, and fewer controls and audits.
    – A more inclusive approach with specific actions to ensure excellent researchers and innovators from all European regions can participate, and reinforced support for partnerships with the private sector and with the public sector in order to pool resources and build more effective programmes.
    At the same time, successful elements in the current programmes are being scaled up, such as the European Research Council and trans-national collaborative projects.
  • Q: What are main elements of continuity with regards to FP7, CIP and EIT?
    A: While Horizon 2020 represents a clear break with the past in terms of its approach, the Commission has also taken great care in providing continuity, and in many cases even a strengthening, of those elements of the current programmes which have shown to be very successful.
    This includes in particular:
    – The European Research Council, which has in a few years time become the point of reference for excellent frontier research in Europe and which has therefore been significantly strengthened;
    – The Marie Curie actions for training, mobility and career development of researchers and the research infrastructure actions;
    – The collaborative research actions which have been at the heart of the successive Framework Programmes for Research and will now be extended to innovation aspects such as market-replication, demonstration, involvement of users, design, IP and standardisation issues;
    – The financial instruments of both FP7 and the CIP which have been met with great demand and which have been shown to be particular valuable in a time in which debt and equity financing have been severely constrained;
    – Demand side measures to stimulate innovation (in particular public procurement of innovative solutions), support through clusters, IPR management and exploitation, SME innovation capacity support, stemming from the CIP.
    While fully aligning with the strategy of Horizon 2020, the EIT will maintain its mission: integrating the knowledge triangle and experimenting with new approaches for innovation, notably involving the business community. It will also provide a stable base for its Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs). The EIT will consolidate existing KICs and will expand their number gradually. In order to fulfil its role as a test bed for new, simplified governance and funding innovation models, the EIT’s current flexibility is to be preserved.
  • Q: How will Horizon 2020 be able to adapt to developments and unforeseen circumstances during its lifetime?
    A: Horizon 2020 will enter into force on 1 January 2014. It will last until end 2020 and many of the projects it will fund in its final years will most likely go on until 2025. As some of its actions are aimed at the long term, the impact of Horizon 2020 will probably last until well beyond 2030.
    Given thise timescale, it is vital that Horizon 2020 retains an adequate amount of flexibility as to the priorities it sets and the areas of research and innovation it aims to fund. Prescribing in great detail technological priorities for Horizon 2020 would entail a grave risk of rendering the programme irrelevant or unable to cope with changes in the broader economic and policy context during its implementation.
    The proposals for Horizon 2020 have therefore been drafted to include a large element of flexibility by:
    – Including more bottom-up elements where researchers and innovators can propose breakthrough solutions of their choice, on the basis of their assessment of what is needed at a particular point in time. This will not be restricted to strengthening typical bottom-up instruments such as the ERC, Marie Curie or the SME actions, but also leaving more room for open calls in the societal challenges and enabling and industrial technologies;
    – Formulating priorities in terms of problems and challenges rather than on the basis of technologies and sectors, leaving the choice of solution up to the participants;
    – Including specific provisions for actions which cut across the different specific objectives of Horizon 2020, also through a pooling of the respective budgets, as solutions to today’s and future challenges will increasingly be interdisciplinary;
    – Including a specific flexibility clause on the budget distribution within Horizon 2020, which makes it possible to shift budget between the different specific objectives to respond to unforeseen situations or new developments and needs.
  • Q: What are the key features of Horizon 2020 and its Rules which will make it simpler to participate in?
    A: Simplification in Horizon 2020 will target three overarching goals: reducing the administrative costs of the participants; accelerating all processes of proposal and grant management and decreasing the financial error rate.
    These general objectives will be achieved along several dimensions:
    – Structural simplification, which is provided through a simpler programme architecture, bringing together all research and innovation funding in one programme. This includes a single set of participation rules covering all components of the programme.
    – Simpler funding rules, which will make the preparation of proposals and the management of projects easier. At the same time, they will reduce the number of financial errors.
    The following approach is proposed:
    • Simplified reimbursement of real direct costs, with a broader acceptance of beneficiaries’ usual accounting practices;
    • The possibility of using unit personnel costs (average personnel costs) for beneficiaries for which this is their usual accounting method, and for SME owners without a salary;
    • Simplification of time-recording by providing a clear and simple set of minimum conditions, in particular abolition of time-recording obligations for staff working full time on the EU project;
    • Only two reimbursement rates for all types of participants: 100% for research activities, 70% for piloting and demonstration;
    • One single flat rate of 20% to cover indirect costs, instead of the current four methods for calculation;
    • Continuation of the system of unit costs and flat rates for mobility and training actions (Marie Curie);
    • Output-based funding with lump sums for whole projects in specific areas.
    – Revised control strategy, which takes into account the policy objective of achieving a new balance between trust and control and reducing the administrative burden:
    • On the ex-ante side, the guarantee fund will cover all actions under Horizon 2020, leading to fewer ex-ante financial capacity checks and a reduced number of certificates on financial statements;
    • Ex-ante financial capacity checks in Horizon 2020 will be required only for coordinators (i.e. abolition of the threshold of EUR 500000 for other partners), reducing thus further the number of ex-ante checks;
    • Voluntary ex-ante certification of accounting methodologies of organisations using unit personnel costs will be offered, as means for preventing errors and for providing ex-ante assurance;
    • The focus of the ex-post audits will shift from a minimisation of the residual error rate towards risk-based audit and fraud detection. The overall number of ex-post audits will be limited with the Commission considering that as general guidance, a maximum of 7% of participants in Horizon 2020 would be subject to audit over the whole programming period.
    As a result, the Commission deems it possible to reduce the average time to grant in Horizon 2020 with 100 days as compared to the current situation.
    Further simplification of research and innovation funding will result from the revision of the Financial Regulation (e.g. no declaration of interest on pre-financing, eligibility of VAT, limitation of extrapolation of systematic errors).
    The whole set of practical arrangements for proposal and project implementation will also be revisited and streamlined. This includes the detailed provisions on the content and shape of proposals, the processes for turning proposals into projects, the requirements for reporting and monitoring, as well as the related guidance documents and support services. A major contribution to reduced administrative costs for participation will come from a single user-friendly IT platform for all interactions with participants, based on the FP7 Participant Portal.
  • Q: What will the role of the EIT be in Horizon 2020?
    A: Within Horizon 2020, the EIT will contribute to all priorities (excellent science, industrial leadership and societal challenges) by stimulating results-driven research, incentivising the creation of high growth innovative SMEs and fostering mobility across boundaries of disciplines, sectors and countries. The EIT will act in a complementary way to other Horizon 2020 initiatives in these areas.
    Moreover, the EIT will bring a fully fledged education dimension to the EU’s research and innovation policy. Notably through new, trans- and inter-disciplinary EIT-labelled degrees the EIT is leading a collaborative effort towards education for innovation and entrepreneurship with clear spill over effects on the broader European agenda for the modernisation of higher education institutions thereby promoting the European Higher Education Area.
  • Q: What are the links between Horizon 2020 and the Programme for the Competitiveness of Enterprises and SMEs?
    A: Both Horizon 2020 and the Programme for the Competitiveness of Enterprises and SMEs aim at creating growth and jobs in a complementary manner. Horizon 2020 activities will generate the scientific and technological breakthroughs to develop the innovative products, services and processes needed to tackle the urgent challenges society faces. These innovations will at the same time lead to huge business opportunities for European companies.
    The Programme for the Competitiveness of Enterprises and SMEs will further develop the actions in favour of competitiveness and entrepreneurship, with a special focus on SMEs, such as access to finance for their growth and the Enterprise Europe Network. It will aim at improving the sustainability of EU enterprises and at improving their access to markets, within the EU and internationally.
  • Q: What are the links between Horizon 2020 and the Cohesion policy funds?
    A: Horizon 2020 will promote excellence across the European Research Area, with projects selected in open competition and following an independent evaluation process. The purpose of the Cohesion Policy funds (also known as the Structural Funds) is to support capacity building and hereby reduce the significant economic, social and territorial disparities that still exist between Europe’s regions. Cohesion policy funds are distributed based on pre-allocated global envelopes to the Member States and regions. This funding is implemented through a series of Operational Programmes and individual projects, including those supporting research and innovation.
    There are already substantial interactions between the EU’s research and innovation policy and its Cohesion policy. In FP7, investments in building excellence and innovation capacity are made through the ‘Regions of Knowledge’, ‘Research Potential’ and ‘Research Infrastructures’ actions. At the same time, the Member States and regions have committed some EUR 86 billion from the EU’s cohesion budget in the current programming period for actions supporting research and innovation.
    For the next programming period, Horizon 2020 will also contribute to research and innovation in the regions mainly by improving policy support, in order to build efficient smart specialisation strategies in full cooperation with Cohesion policy. An increased effort will also be made in the new Cohesion policy funds where support for research and innovation will be one of the top investment priorities, in full accordance with the Europe 2020 Strategy and the Innovation Union flagship initiative in order to assist the less developed Member States and regions to climb the ‘staircase to excellence’.
  • Q: How will the Joint Research Centre contribute to achieving the objectives of Horizon 2020?
    A: The Joint Research Centre is the in-house science service of the European Commission. Its mission is to provide scientific and technical support to EU policy making, thus operating at the interface between research and EU policy. It provides input throughout the whole policy cycle from conception to implementation and evaluation.
    The direct actions of the JRC funded through Horizon 2020 will focus on the EU’s policy priorities and the societal challenges as spelled out in Europe 2020 and reflected in Horizon 2020. The JRC will provide independent and sound scientific input to evidence-based policy making and thus underpin Europe’s development towards smart, sustainable and inclusive growth.
    The JRC’s key competence areas are energy and transport, environment and climate change, agriculture and food security, health and consumer protection, information and communication technologies, reference materials, and all aspects of safety and security, including nuclear.
    JRC research will complement other Horizon 2020 funded research activities in finding answers to the challenges faced by Europe today.
    Examples of JRC activities include pre-normative research and contribution to standard-setting for e.g. electric cars or toxicological tests, thus strengthening Europe’s competitiveness and innovation and health and consumer protection. The JRC will contribute to maintain a high level of safety of operating nuclear power plants and relevant nuclear expertise in the EU. It will contribute to safety and security of EU citizens through e.g. nuclear forensics in the fight against illicit trafficking, and through early warning systems to enhance Europe’s capacity to manage crises and disasters. Its work on the measurement and risk analysis of nanomaterials will contribute to a responsible approach to their use and enabling the potential benefits of this technology to be reaped.
  • Q: Why has there been a shift towards a challenge based approach and what are the implications of this on the current FP7 Themes?
    A: A challenge based approach will be implemented in the priority “Societal challenges” of Horizon 2020. A challenge based approach makes sense at European level, because the challenges we are facing (e.g. climate change, energy, resource efficiency) requires a critical scale and scope of effort that is not possible for individual countries. This approach will also link directly to EU policy goals in areas such as agriculture, energy, environment, transport and security.
    Compared to FP7, this approach will emphasise funding for projects that solve specified challenges (or particular aspects of those), as opposed to prescribing the specific topics that must be addressed. In many cases, it will mean multi-disciplinary, multi-actor actions that bring together different competences across Europe and beyond. The challenges proposed for Horizon 2020 will take up the various FP7 themes broadly as follows:
    – FP7 Health: integrated in ‘Health, demographic change and wellbeing challenge';
    – FP7 Food, Agriculture and Fisheries, and Biotechnology: integrated in the ‘Food security, sustainable agriculture and the bio-economy’ challenge, although enabling biotechnologies will be supported under ‘Leadership in enabling and industrial technologies';
    – FP7 Information and communication technologies: support for enabling ICTs under ‘Leadership in enabling and industrial technologies’ and ICT applications within the relevant societal challenges;
    – FP7 Nanosciences, nanotechnologies, materials and new production technologies: support for enabling technologies under ‘Leadership in enabling and industrial technologies’ and applications within the relevant societal challenges;
    – FP7 Energy theme: in the ‘Secure, clean and efficient energy’ challenge (which also includes follow-up to CIP intelligent energy programme);
    – FP7 Environment (including Climate Change): integrated in ‘Climate action, resource efficiency and raw materials’ challenge (which also includes the CIP eco-innovation actions);
    – FP7 Transport (including Aeronautics): integrated in ‘Smart, green and integrated transport’ challenge;
    – FP7 Socio-economic Sciences and the Humanities: underpinning socio-economic and humanities in the ‘Inclusive, innovative and secure societies’ challenge; application of socio-economic sciences and humanities within all the societal challenges;
    – FP7 Space: integrated under ‘Leadership in enabling and industrial technologies';
    – FP7 Security: integrated within the ‘Inclusive, innovative and secure societies’ challenge.
    In addition, some elements of the current Themes cut across several of the Horizon 2020 challenges and the enabling and industrial technologies and will also be supported through the Future and Emerging Technologies objective.
  • Q: What is the approach taken to stimulate SME participation and what is the role of the new dedicated SME instrument?
    A: SME participation will be promoted across Horizon 2020 based on an integrated strategy that aims to fill gaps in funding for early-stage, high-risk research and innovation by SMEs as well as stimulating breakthrough innovations. It is expected that through this integrated strategy around 15% of the total combined budgets of the priority ‘Societal challenges’ and the specific objective ‘Leadership in enabling and industrial technologies’ will be go to SMEs.
    A new dedicated SME instrument will provide an easily accessible SME window, with simple rules and procedures. It will be used across all societal challenges and the enabling and industrial technologies. The new instrument will encourage SMEs to put forward, in a bottom-up manner, their most innovative ideas with an EU dimension. It will address highly innovative SMEs showing a strong ambition to develop, grow and internationalise, regardless of whether they are high-tech and research-driven or non-research conducting, social or service companies. Only SMEs will be able to apply for funding, even single company support will be possible so as to ensure market relevance and to increase commercialisation of project results. SMEs can decide how best to organise the project and with whom to collaborate, including subcontracting tasks where they lack in-house capabilities.
    Support will be provided in three different phases covering the whole innovation cycle (similar to the SBIR model). A feasibility phase will allow an assessment of the technological and commercial potential of a project; a main grant will be provided to undertake research and development with the emphasis on demonstration and market replication; and the commercialisation phase will be supported indirectly through simplified access to debt and equity financial instruments as well as various other measures, for example regarding IPR protection. While successful completion of one stage will allow an SME to move on to the next, each stage will be open to all SMEs.
    A specific action will promote market-oriented innovation of R&D-performing SMEs, building on the Eurostars initiative. Furthermore, SMEs will be encouraged to participate in other parts of Horizon 2020, such as the Marie Curie actions or the activity on Future and Emerging Technologies. The ‘Access to risk finance’ specific objective will also have a strong SME focus. Measures assisting the implementation of the instrument and complementing support for SMEs across Horizon 2020 will also be undertaken, notably to build SME innovation capacity. Reinforcing the innovation support, information and advice activities of the Enterprise Europe Network will further facilitate SMEs’ access to Horizon 2020.
  • Q: How have the current SME specific activities been taken up in Horizon 2020?
    A: The new dedicated SME instrument will integrate the specific SME measures of FP7 and the SME market replication projects of the CIP in one comprehensive, simple and easily accessible scheme. It will fully cover the possibility to outsource research and development critical to the innovation projects of non-research intensive SMEs, as currently supported under the FP7 activity ‘Research for the Benefit of SMEs’, with demonstration and market replication projects also being eligible. The dedicated SME instrument will also facilitate the collaboration of different types of SMEs along the value-chain and will foster complex innovation processes and forms of cooperation by supporting all forms of innovation. Furthermore, it will not distinguish between the research intensity of companies. SME associations or other organisations providing services to their SME members may continue to assist and to support their member companies in a European project as part of an SME-led consortium formed under the dedicated SME instrument.
    It is the Commission’s intention to continue supporting the Eurostars initiative, provided it meets the criteria laid down in the Horizon 2020 Regulation and taking into account the recommendations made in its interim evaluation report.
    Strengthening SMEs innovation capacity will be achieved by providing national and regional innovation support agents with room to experiment and develop new approaches and instruments for SME innovation support. In specific, well justified cases European level support services might be maintained or established. The IPR helpdesk is the most well known example of this. Also in this context the role of the Enterprise Europe Network, financed through the Programme for the Competitiveness of Enterprises and SMEs, will be strengthened.
  • Q: What is meant by a societal challenge and how have they been selected?
    A: A societal challenge corresponds to a concern which is shared by citizens across Europe and where a solution can not be found within in an acceptable timeframe without major technological breakthroughs. Societal challenges share a number of elements, including the complexity involved in finding a solution, the need for an interdisciplinary approach or the fact that the solution itself not only addresses the challenge, but at the same time generates huge business opportunities.
    The challenges selected for Horizon 2020 were chosen on the basis of a variety of sources of evidence on the state of the economy and society in Europe and worldwide, Europe’s performance in the related scientific and technological domains and the need for an approach coordinated at the EU level. Further information can be found in the ex-ante impact assessment which accompanies the Horizon 2020 proposal.
  • Q: How will socio-economic sciences and humanities be funded?
    A: Within the three priorities of Horizon 2020 – excellent science; industrial leadership and societal challenges – the social sciences and humanities will be fully integrated.
    They will be included as an integral part of the activities to address all societal challenges, working beyond the ‘silos’ of distinct disciplines. This includes: understanding the determinants of health and optimising the effectiveness of healthcare systems, support to policies empowering rural areas and promoting informed consumer choices, robust decision making on energy policy and in ensuring a consumer friendly European electricity grid, supporting evidence based transport policy and foresight, support to climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies, resource efficiency initiatives and measures towards a green and sustainable economy.
    In addition, the ‘Inclusive, Innovative and Secure Societies’ challenge will allow the social sciences and humanities scientific community to study issues such as smart and sustainable growth, social transformations in European societies, social innovation and creativity, the position of Europe as a global actor as well as the social dimension of a secure society.
    Finally, there will be ample bottom-up opportunities for social sciences and humanities researchers to receive funding via the European Research Council, Marie Curie actions and initiatives under the Research Infrastructures Programme.
  • Q: Why does Horizon 2020 put more emphasis on using financial instruments (equity and debt) to support SMEs and other participants?
    A: The two main EU financial instruments currently supporting research and innovation have been very successful. For debt, the Risk-Sharing Finance Facility (RSFF) combines EU budgetary resources and EIB funding to share the risks associated with investing in projects: EUR 1 billion comes from the FP7 budget, and another EUR 1 billion from the resources of the European Investment Bank. RSFF loans are available to public and private sector promoters of any size and ownership from the Member States and the countries associated to FP7. By mid-2011, funding for 91 projects worth over EUR 9 billion had been approved. A specific facility for SMEs will start up in early 2012. For equity, the High-Growth and Innovative SME Facility (GIF) under the CIP invests in specialised funds that provide venture capital for SME financing. Managed by the EIF, the GIF covers both early and growth-stage investments. By the end of 2010, some EUR 222 million had been committed to 19 funds supporting a target fund size of some EUR 1.5 billion.
    Greater use of financial instruments will help leverage yet further private research and innovation investments, including venture capital investments for innovative, high-tech companies, and in particular SMEs. In Horizon 2020, financial instruments will be expanded in both scope and scale. A debt facility will provide loans and guarantees, and an equity facility will provide finance for early and growth stage investments. Their aim will be to support the achievement of the R&I objectives of all sectors and policy areas crucial for tackling societal challenges, enhancing competitiveness and fostering sustainable growth. They will be implemented via a mandate to, or a partnership with, the European Investment Bank group and/or other international financial institutions and national intermediaries.
  • Q: What is the rationale for applying the same funding rate for all types of participants?
    A: The current situation under FP7 is defined by a complex matrix of funding rates, methods for determining indirect costs, activities and categories of legal entities (according to the legal status granted after validation by the services of the Unique Registration Facility). This complexity is difficult to explain, leads to long delays (in particular in the grant negotiation phase), hampers the expected flexibility in project implementation, and requires permanent maintenance of the legal status information, with a complex system for handling amendments.
    Having a single reimbursement rate for all types of participants (together with a single flat rate for indirect costs) will considerably reduce:
    – the length and complexity of guidance documents and the number of requests addressed to the help-desks;
    – the administrative costs, in particular for coordinators having to manage the previous complex system (as changes to consortium composition, distribution of work packages etc. will not entail difficult budget operations as it was now the case due to the variety of reimbursement rates and indirect cost methods applied by different organisations in the consortium);
    – the time-to-grant, as the validation of legal entities (particularly SMEs) and establishment of budgets of collaborative projects by the consortia will be simpler;
    – the number of financial errors (an analysis of errors identified during audits of FP7 suggests that around 25-35% of them would be avoided by the simplification measures proposed, and the error rate can then be expected to fall by 1.5%, i.e. from close to current 5% to around 3.5%)
  • Q: What approach does Horizon 2020 take towards international cooperation?
    A: International cooperation in research and innovation is an essential element for meeting the objectives of Europe 2020. Recognising the global nature of producing and using knowledge, Horizon 2020 builds on the success of international cooperation in previous framework programmes and is fully open to participation from third countries. While being open to participation to the world, funding will be more focused, allowing participants who bring exceptional cooperation skills and resources, and those from less wealthy countries, to benefit. There will be further emphasis on mutual access to research programmes. The association of countries to the programme, where participants have identical rights to those from Member States, will continue to include some of EU’s closest partner countries.
    A key part of international cooperation in Horizon 2020 will be developing partnerships with Member States through coordinated or joint ventures with third country partners and international organisations. As all the funding schemes allow the participation of international partners in consortia, and can be tailored to the specific requirements of the research and innovation being supported, no specific international cooperation funding schemes are foreseen in Horizon 2020. There will, however, be a mechanism for supporting joint calls and the possibility of programme co-funding with third countries or international organisations.
  • Q: How will the different parts of Horizon 2020 target international cooperation?
    A: While Horizon 2020 is open to participants from around the world, a new international cooperation strategy, currently being developed, will foresee targeting through three major country groupings: industrialised and emerging economies; the enlargement and neighbourhood countries; and developing countries. Horizon 2020 will continue to have bi-lateral agreements with major research players, but there will be increased emphasis on mutual access to programmes with these countries. There will be a priority towards bi-regional cooperation for other third countries.
    Each challenge within Horizon 2020 outlines the major areas seen as particularly relevant for international cooperation. Given the fully mainstreamed approach, and the recognition of the importance of international cooperation for delivering Horizon 2020, no specific budget for research activities is foreseen. There will, however, be a budget for specific coordination activities for international cooperation.
  • Q: Will the existing Joint Technology Initiatives, Recovery Package PPPs and Article 185 initiatives continue to receive funding under Horizon 2020?
    A: There is great value in combining EU funding with other public and private sources of funding in order to achieve critical mass in addressing EU level challenges. This was demonstrated clearly in the Commission’s Communication on partnering in research and innovation.
    This is why both public public and public private partnerhips have been explicitly included as implementation options in the Horizon 2020 proposal with a clear set of criteria guiding the selection of which initiatives to fund. As far as public private partnerships are concerned, the structure of the recovery package public private partnerships set up in the context of the European Economic Recovery Package has been formalised in the Horizon 2020 legislation, with the option of institutionalised public private partnerships (Joint Technology Initiatives) only being used in very limited cases.
    The Commission has the intention to continue supporting the existing partnering initiatives, where these meet the criteria laid down in the Horizon 2020 proposal and where these have been shown to make substantial progress during FP7.
  • Q: What role will the European Innovation Partnerships play in implementing Horizon 2020?
    A: As part of the Innovation Union Flagship initiative, European Innovation Partnerships were proposed as new fora for joining up resources to speed-up breakthrough innovations for societal challenges where there is also a new market potential for EU business.
    EIPs are not funding instruments of Horizon 2020, nor do they substitute the existing institutional decision mechanisms. However, the objectives developed in the EIPs’ Strategic Implementation Plans are key contributions to the definition of priorities in the annual work programmes of Horizon 2020, with obligations on both sides (the Commission and the EIP) to ensure dialogue and follow-up on proposed priorities.
  • Q: Will Joint Programming Initiatives receive funding through Horizon 2020?
    A: The Commission will support Joint Programming Initiatives (JPIs) during the development of their Strategic Research Agendas through co-ordination and support measures, where appropriate.
    Where the areas being addressed by a JPI fit with Horizon 2020 priorities, their instruments may be used to support JPIs where appropriate. In general, JPI joint actions will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis to assess whether the EU value-added justifies funding via the ERA-NET scheme or co-funding via thematic research calls.
    The Commission will only consider making a proposal for an Article 185 Initiative where a JPI has demonstrated in its Strategic Research Agenda that it has the capacity for significant collaboration and the necessary scale and scope to support full integration of national programmes.
  • Q: How will Horizon 2020 contribute to completing the European Research Area?
    A: The idea behind the European Research Area (ERA) is to reduce fragmentation of research in Europe and to create an environment in which researchers can work in laboratories and research settings in other Member States just as easily as they can move within their own countries, without facing difficulties, and get access to important scientific knowledge, and taking their acquired pension rights and social benefits with them. Horizon 2020 will also provide incentives to unify Europe’s research and innovation systems and support more collaboration between research programmes at all levels.
    Horizon 2020 will foster excellence in research by making grants available for the best young scientists of any nationality or researchers who have already established themselves as being independent research leaders in their own right and who would like to pursue frontier research of their choice (ERC grants), as well as long term research stays in Europe for young and experienced post-docs (Marie-Curie fellowships).
    Horizon 2020 will moreover fund the infrastructures to carry out advanced research, and to address the major challenges that we are facing in our time, give financial backing to joint programming of national research policies, and support activities that bring together European and government bodies of the Member States in public-public partnerships and between these bodies and private players in public-private partnerships.
    Finally, to inform us whether the projects that we fund reach the goals that we have set ourselves, Horizon 2020 will fund monitoring, evaluation and similar policy support actions under the specific objective ‘Inclusive, innovative and secure societies’.
  • Q: What will the role of programme committees be under Horizon 2020?
    A: Programme committees will continue to be asked to provide a formal opinion on the adoption of work programmes. The Horizon 2020 proposal does, however, not foresee a committee opinion on individual projects. Apart from having a positive effect on time to grant, this will allow the committee to free up time to engage in strategic discussions on priorities and budget allocations, within a clear multi-annual perspective. The programme committees will also assume a new role in ensuring vital links between EU funding and national funding, where there is a new provision to include explicit information on this aspect in the work programmes.
  • Q: How does Horizon 2020 promote gender equality and the gender dimension in research and innovation content?
    A: As requested in all EU activities, Horizon 2020 encompasses the aim to eliminate inequalities and to promote equality between men and women. In research and innovation, this implies the following dual approach:
    – To correct the imbalances in the participation of female scientists at all stages of research careers and in the various fields of research;
    – To consider gender as a dimension of research by taking into account the biological, social and economic differences between women and men all through the research process.
    Gender is, therefore, set in Horizon 2020 as a cross-cutting issue for all its research programmes. Work programmes will contain information on how imbalances between women and men will be addressed, and how a gender dimension will integrated. This will also be reflected at project level within the provisions of grant agreements.
  • Q: How will the construction of ITER be financed?
    A: When the Council capped the budget for ITER construction at EUR 6.6 billion in July 2010 it did not prescribe the modalities by which this funding would be provided. The Commission’s proposals for these modalities have now been presented in its Communication ‘A Budget for Europe 2020′ (COM(2011)500).
    The Commission’s view is that experience of large projects in the EU shows that they tend to be expensive in relation to the EU budget, and cost overruns trigger a need to redeploy funds that had already been earmarked for other priority needs. Recent examples of such redeployments (Galileo, the Food Facility and the European Economic Recovery Plan) show that reaching an agreement requires complex and time-consuming negotiations and can drastically compress the margins available for other headings. This needs to be addressed in the coming MFF, which does not have provisions for a mid-term review.
    To ensure flexibility when it comes to adjusting to unexpected events and new priorities a sustainable solution is required. The Commission is therefore proposing to fund ITER outside the MFF. This approach should ensure the success of the project at acceptable cost and with reasonable financial and technical risks, enabling the EU to fully meet its international commitments.
    The practical implementation for funding ITER construction is currently under discussion at the Commission level. In any case, all solutions under consideration imply the adoption of a separate legal basis, which means that ITER could not be included in the Horizon 2020 package adopted on 30 November 2011.
  • Q: How will Horizon 2020 contribute to achieving the objectives of the Europe 2020 strategy?
    A: Europe 2020, with its triple objectives of smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, is the Union’s strategy for succesfully exiting the financial and economic crisis and re-taking the path towards sustainable growth. In this respect, fiscal consolidation and structural reform measures are needed for short term stabilisation of the economy, but they are not sufficient to ensure long-term growth. This requires strong investment in research and innovation, which is also needed to address pressing societal challenges such as climate change, an ageing population, or the move towards a resource efficient society. Such investment offers direct stimulus to the economy, as well as being vital to securing an excellent knowledge base and a competitive industry. It is the only way for Europe to remain competitive in a globalised world and sustain high standards of wellbeing.This is why research and innovation are at the centre of the Europe 2020 strategy, which includes the headline objective of increasing spending on R&D to 3% GDP by 2020. It is also why its Innovation Union flagship initiative provides a comprehensive set of actions to step up research and innovation performance. Within this policy context, the Commission’s proposals for the post-2013 EU Budget, including the proposals for Horizon 2020, reflect its ambition to invest in Europe’s future while ensuring that EU funding benefits citizens even more than today, through a shift in resources to areas such as research and innovation.

  • Q: What will improving the way the EU funds research and innovation do for ordinary Europeans?
    A: In line with the Innovation Union, the Green Paper proposes an approach focused more directly on tackling today’s most pressing societal challenges and therefore the concerns of Europe’s citizens.Successful research and innovation are prerequisites for improving quality of life, enhancing social welfare and boosting economic competitiveness. Indeed, using research and innovation to tackle key challenges such as climate change and health not only has intrinsic value, it can also give Europe a technological lead in the world markets of the future and create growth and jobs in Europe.

    EU funding for research and innovation will have more impact if procedures are simplified and access widened. This will make things easier for participants, attract new applicants and drive up the already high quality of projects and of results. That in turn will help create new products and services – including better public services – that people want and will help Europe to create sustainable growth and jobs and be more resilient against crises.

    These positive effects will be all the stronger if another aspect of the Green Paper – better cooperation between Member States themselves – is also realised.

  • Q: What is Horizon 2020?
    A: Horizon 2020 is the future Framework Programme for Research and Innovation.The proposed Framework Programme for Research and Innovation, which will be introduced post-2013, will build upon the successes of the current Framework Programme for Research (FP7), the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP) and the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT).

    The ultimate aim is to maximise the contribution of EU-funded research and innovation to sustainable growth and jobs and to tackling the grand challenges facing Europe – for example climate change, energy and food security, health and our ageing population. This will be achieved by creating a coherent set of instruments, along the whole “innovation chain” starting from basic research, culminating in bringing innovative products and services to market; and also to support non-technological innovation, for example in design and marketing.

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New TSB Funding Opportunity

The Technology Strategy Board is investing up to £8m in collaborative research and development. They are looking for projects that stimulate innovation across the key enabling technology areas of advanced materials, biosciences, electronics, sensors and photonics, and information and communications technology.

Additional funding may be available from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), in line with the scope of this competition, for projects that contain a significant, high-quality academic research component, and contribute to the achievement of the relevant research council’s strategic objectives.
We are seeking innovative proposals that aim to build on recent technological discoveries or breakthroughs, in the context of significant and identifiable technological risk, and that have broad applications across a wide range of market opportunities and needs.
Proposals must be collaborative and business-led, with projects including one lead partner and at least one other project partner. At least one project partner must be an SME. We expect to fund mostly industrial research projects, in which a business partner will generally attract up to 50% public funding for their project costs (60% for SMEs). We expect projects to last between 12 and 24 months, and to range in size from £250k to £500k.
This is a two-stage competition that opens for applicants on 19 August 2013, with a deadline for completed expressions of interest of noon on 2 October 2013.


The technological scope of this competition is closely aligned with the core technologies outlined in our new Enabling Technologies Strategy.

All projects must contain a significant and identifiable element of technological innovation and risk (ie some uncertainty as to how significant technical limitations or barriers can be overcome). We are keen to encourage multi-disciplinary innovation based on recent technical developments or breakthroughs that could have applications in a range of markets. This can include taking a known technology into new application areas, where the significant technical challenges to be overcome are clearly described in the proposal.
We generally expect projects to be at the industrial research stage. Projects may include some work packages of industry- oriented basic research or experimental development, provided they are clearly shown to be an essential part, but not the main focus, of the innovation project.
We expect most projects to start from the ‘proof of concept’ maturity level and to work towards the ‘demonstrator’ level. The projects must align with one or more of the following technology areas. Where a proposal cuts across more than one technology area, the application must indicate the primary area of innovation and risk.

Advanced materials

  • Sustainability and materials security
  • lightweight materials, applied to vehicles, structures and devices to reduce energy consumption and emissions, and increase efficiency
  • materials with reduced environmental impact through life (including materials for packaging applications)
  • nanotechnology-enabled materials and functionality
  • substitution approaches to reduce the use of less sustainable materials or those that may become restricted or banned under EU REACH regulations
  • materials that help us use the world’s resources more sustainably, for example bio-based and natural materials and composites.

Materials for energy

  • materials for cheaper and more efficient energy storage and management (chemical, biological, electrochemical, electrical, mechanical, thermal)
  • materials for energy transmission/distribution
  • materials for high-durability energy generation.
High value markets
  • integration of new materials, coatings etc, for example for sensing and electronics applications
  • materials to survive in aggressive environments with extremes of temperature, corrosion, erosion or stress
  • bio-based materials. Biosciences Characterisation and discovery tools
  • commercial application of sequencing technologies focusing on genomics
  • phenotyping technologies
  • integration of ‘omics technologies
  • development of biological imaging systems, biosensors, probes/markers, diagnostic platforms.

Production and processing

  • metabolic engineering
  • novel manufacturing processes for producing biological products and novel biological production systems
  • formulation and delivery approaches for biological products including biopharmaceuticals and functional foods.


  • approaches to organising, filtering and interpreting biological data, including biological system modelling, data visualisation, and user-centred design
  • electronics, sensors and photonics
  • electronics, sensors and photonics technologies underpin innovations and competitiveness in diverse market sectors, including healthcare, transport, energy, space and the built environment. The following areas are in scope for this competition.


  • photonic devices and systems providing innovative advances in functionality, performance or size or cost reduction.
  • Sensor systems
  • devices and systems that measure a physical quantity and convert it into actionable information.

Plastic electronics

  • also known as printed, organic or large-area electronics. The innovation can be in any part of the value chain, including devices, systems, manufacturing, architectures, testing and measurement or modelling tools.

Electronic systems

  • a combination of computer hardware and software designed for a particular application device.

Power electronics

  • applying solid-state electronics to develop devices and systems to efficiently control and convert electrical power.


Big data exploration

  • designing data exploration systems for non-ICT specialists across different sectors, perhaps exploiting simpler user interfaces (see below)
  • automated and intelligent data cleansing and semantic annotation
  • exploring various types of data across application areas or sectors
  • reducing the cost of high-fidelity visualisation.

Simpler user experiences

  • going ‘beyond the screen’ – moving from traditional keyboard, mouse and screen to more immersive with machines (for example haptics, speech and gesture
  • recognition, emotion sensing)
  • improving the user experience of immanent pervasive computing
  • changing the software paradigm for existing applications
  • meeting the changing expectations of users
  • showing how multiple co-operating devices can create a joined-up, quality experience for the user.

Confidence in deploying internet- distributed systems

  • interoperability
  • data resilience, tracking and storage
  • identity assurance.

Advanced, modern software engineering

  • better tools and languages to support new approaches, such as inherent parallelism, design of new user interface paradigms
  • holistic design methods that focus on autonomous/ intelligent/ machine learning systems, where machines rather than people are making complex and less deterministic decisions
  • supporting organisations that can better prepare the UK’s talent base for the future ICT industry.
See general guidance on how projects are funded
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Horizon 2020 (FP8) – FAQ, IPR and more…

What will be the IPR situation for a company participating in Horizon 2020?

The general rules concerning intellectual property rights proposed in Horizon 2020 can be found in the Rules for Participation.  They would apply to all parts (specific programmes) of Horizon 2020. A company participating in Horizon 2020 and concluding an agreement with a funding organisation or the Commission, for example signing a grant agreement with the Commission, would have to comply with these rules.

Specific additional rules concerning intellectual property rights may also be laid down in the grant agreement in the case of particular projects: for example in areas related to security, infrastructures, ERC, training and mobility, coordination and support, SMEs and EIT. There are no templates of grant agreements available for Horizon 2020 since the legislative procedure is still not finalised: the Horizon 2020 framework programme has not been adopted (at January 2013).

In Horizon 2020 are there guidelines that recommend how IPR should be handled within a consortium?

Up to January 2013, the European Commission had not published guidelines on intellectual property rights in Horizon 2020. The only guidelines currently available concern FP7 projects: Guide to Intellectual property Rules in FP7 (ftp://ftp.cordis.europa.eu/pub/fp7/docs/ipr_en.pdf).

Are there any changes proposed between FP7 and Horizon 2020?

The European Commission has proposed the legal basis for Horizon 2020, which includes the rules on intellectual property rights. As in the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7), in Horizon 2020, these rules are included in the Rules for Participation.

While the Horizon 2020 framework is still under negotiation, the text of the Rules for Participation are not in force and may change until final agreement by the Council and the European Parliament is reached.

The proposed rules on intellectual property rights in Horizon 2020 are based on the FP7 rules, with some further improvements and clarifications. There are however a few differences, such as:

• Open access to research publications has more emphasis (information on open access in the framework of FP7 is available in the following URL: http://ec.europa.eu/research/science-society/document_library/pdf_06/open-access-pilot_en.pdf);

• Open access to other results (e.g. research data) may be established in specific grant agreements;

• Access rights for the European Union, and in the field of security research also for Member States, have been foreseen.

• Some definitions (e.g. definition of background) have been slightly changed.

What is new about Horizon 2020?

Horizon 2020 has a number of new features that make it fit for purpose to promote growth and tackle societal challenges. These include:

  • Major simplification through a simpler programme architecture, a single set of rules, an easier-to-use cost reimbursement model, a single point of access for participants, less paperwork in preparing proposals, fewer controls and audits, with the overall aim to reduce the average time to grant;
  • An inclusive approach open to new participants, including those with ideas outside of the mainstream, ensuring that excellent researchers and innovators from across Europe and beyond can and do participate;
  • The integration of research and innovation by providing seamless and coherent funding from idea to market;
  • More support for innovation and activities close to the market, leading to a direct economic stimulus;
  • A strong focus on creating business opportunities out of our response to the major concerns common to people in Europe and beyond, i.e. ‘societal challenges’;
  • More possibilities for new entrants and young, promising scientists to put forward their ideas and obtain funding.
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Brand New Technology – Millions of applications potential – The MYO gesture-control armband senses your muscle’s movements

Harnessing muscular activity to provide computer input has many advantages over Kinect-like devices that use cameras or inertial sensors. A new gesture-based wireless input device that works by sensing the electrical signature of forearm contractions is now available for pre-order from a new company for $150. The armband, dubbed the MYO, comes with a developer API that lets you fully utilize this sophisticated piece of equipment.

Similar prototype devices have been developed by Microsoft, which holds a few patents in the field, but making a device with comparable accuracy to a traditional mouse has proved elusive. The new MYO device, shown in the above video, lets you scroll through a webpage by lifting and lowering the whole hand, or move between desktop apps by swiping with two fingers.

Nature has not laid out the forearm musculature into an ideal X-Y grid for us, but with intelligent filtering, reliable signals can be captured from the morass of electrical activity each movement generates. Something as simple as balling up the hand to stop or start a track in iTunes, for example, generates signals that are highly dependent on the wrist position. When the muscles are already in a state of extension, the EMG signal does not map effectively to force output or position. Martial arts techniques, for example, capitalize on the fact that it is difficult to make a tight fist while the wrist in flexion to get attackers to release a weapon.

Myo electric
The armband may not yet have the accuracy of other new wireless products like the 3D mouse ring from Mycestro, but since there are more muscle signal generators than fingers in the body, myoelectrics may have the longer term advantage. The recently developed ultrasonic Spider-Man suit, that tingles your body in various places when objects loom from specific directions, would be the perfect vehicle to integrate EMG sensing into the total immersion control package. While this kind of thing would be great for adrenaline-primed gaming, for more relaxed work you might imagine some sort of Dali-esque crutch system being necessary to combat the tyranny of gravity.

Not everyone will afford their own non-conductive, viscous gel immersion tank just to support their myoelectric misadventures, but when properly decoupled from its support and postural roles, the musculature can be fully enabled as universal controller. In such a computing environment, a few extra provisions may be needed. The application of permanent smart tattoos to the skin as sensors or as impedance-matching devices will make these signals easier to transduce through the skin. Systems like the one used for the new Alpha IMS bionic eye, which rely on subcutaneous magnetic attraction to affix a battery pack or sensor to the head for transdermal inductive charging, would provide setup convenience. Bioencapsulated micro-magnets placed in the fingertips have also gained sudden popularity, at least among the transhumanist crowd, to acquire a crude sixth sense to feel magnetic fields.

We’re not far from a day when these seemingly disjointed pieces of tech can be combined into a powerful suite of controls.

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COSME vs Horizon 2020 – Programme for the Competitiveness of enterprises and SMEs (COSME) 2014-2020

The new Programme for the Competitiveness of Enterprises and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (COSME) will run from 2014 to 2020, with a planned budget of €2.5bn (current prices).


  • facilitating access to finance for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs)
  • creating an environment favourable to business creation and growth
  • encouraging an entrepreneurial culture in Europe
  • increasing the sustainable competitiveness of EU companies
  • helping small businesses operate outside their home countries and improving their access to markets

COSME will:

  • ensure continuity with initiatives and actions already undertaken under the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programme (EIP), such as the Enterprise Europe Network, building on results and lessons learnt.
  • continue the many successful features of the EIP, while simplifying management of the programme to make it easier for entrepreneurs and small businesses to benefit.
  • support, complement and help coordinate actions by EU member countries. COSME will specifically tackle transnational issues that – thanks to economies of scale and the demonstration effect – can be more effectively addressed at European level.

Expected results

  • easier access to finance for entrepreneurs and small businesses
  • more prominent role for self-employment and business development as important sources of growth and job creation
  • in individual EU countries: a more competitive industry, more entrepreneurs and higher employment rates.

Main beneficiaries

  • Existing entrepreneurs (small businesses in particular) – easier access to funding for development, consolidation and growth of their business.
  • Future entrepreneurs (including young people) – assistance in setting up their own business.
  • National, regional and local authorities – tools for effectively reforming policy: reliable, EU wide data and statistics, best practice and financial support to test and scale up sustainable solutions for improving global competitiveness.

Impact on competitiveness of businesses large and small

COSME is expected to contribute to an annual increase of €1.1bn in the EU’s GDP.

The Enterprise Europe Network is expected to assist 40,000 companies with partnership agreements, resulting in:

  • 1,200 new business products, services or processes annually
  • €400mn annually in additional turnover for assisted companies.

Access to finance will be easier for entrepreneurs, in particular those willing to launch cross-border activities, resulting in an expected annual increase of €3.5bn in additional lending and/or investment for EU companies.

What happens now?

The Commission’s proposal will be discussed by the European Parliament and the Council, which must agree to adopt it. COSME will start on 1 January 2014.

Learn more

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Top 10 Emerging Technology Trends – 2013

New challenges need new technologies to tackle them. Here, the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Emerging Technologies identifies the top 10 most promising technology trends that can help to deliver sustainable growth in decades to come as global population and material demands on the environment continue to grow rapidly. These are technologies that the Council considers have made development breakthroughs and are nearing large-scale deployment.

OnLine Electric Vehicles (OLEV)  

Wireless technology can now deliver electric power to moving vehicles. In next-generation electric cars, pick-up coil sets under the vehicle floor receive power remotely via an electromagnetic field broadcast from cables installed under the road. The current also charges an onboard battery used to power the vehicle when it is out of range. As electricity is supplied externally, these vehicles need only a fifth of the battery capacity of a standard electric car, and can achieve transmission efficiencies of over 80%. Online electric vehicles are currently undergoing road tests in Seoul, South Korea.

3-D printing and remote manufacturing

Three-dimensional printing allows the creation of solid structures from a digital computer file, potentially revolutionizing the economics of manufacturing if objects can be printed remotely in the home or office. The process involves layers of material being deposited on top of each other in to create free-standing structures from the bottom up. Blueprints from computer-aided design are sliced into cross-section for print templates, allowing virtually created objects to be used as models for “hard copies” made from plastics, metal alloys or other materials.

Self-healing materials

One of the defining characteristics of living organisms is their inherent ability to repair physical damage. A growing trend in biomimicry is the creation of non-living structural materials that also have the capacity to heal themselves when cut, torn or cracked. Self-healing materials which can repair damage without external human intervention could give manufactured goods longer lifetimes and reduce the demand for raw materials, as well as improving the inherent safety of materials used in construction or to form the bodies of aircraft.

Energy-efficient water purification

Water scarcity is a worsening ecological problem in many parts of the world due to competing demands from agriculture, cities and other human uses. Where freshwater systems are over-used or exhausted, desalination from the sea offers near-unlimited water but a considerable use of energy – mostly from fossil fuels – to drive evaporation or reverse-osmosis systems. Emerging technologies offer the potential for significantly higher energy efficiency in desalination or purification of wastewater, potentially reducing energy consumption by 50% or more. Techniques such as forward-osmosis can additionally improve efficiency by utilizing low-grade heat from thermal power production or renewable heat produced by solar-thermal geothermal installations.

Carbon dioxide (CO2) conversion and use

Long-promised technologies for the capture and underground sequestration of carbon dioxide have yet to be proven commercially viable, even at the scale of a single large power station. New technologies that convert the unwanted CO2 into saleable goods can potentially address both the economic and energetic shortcomings of conventional CCS strategies. One of the most promising approaches uses biologically engineered photosynthetic bacteria to turn waste CO2 into liquid fuels or chemicals, in low-cost, modular solar converter systems. Individual systems are expected to reach hundreds of acres within two years. Being 10 to 100 times as productive per unit of land area, these systems address one of the main environmental constraints on biofuels from agricultural or algal feedstock, and could supply lower carbon fuels for automobiles, aviation or other big liquid-fuel users.

Enhanced nutrition to drive health at the molecular level

Even in developed countries millions of people suffer from malnutrition due to nutrient deficiencies in their diets. Now modern genomic techniques can determine at the gene sequence level the vast number of naturally consumed proteins which are important in the human diet. The proteins identified may have advantages over standard protein supplements in that they can supply a greater percentage of essential amino acids, and have improved solubility, taste, texture and nutritional characteristics. The large-scale production of pure human dietary proteins based on the application of biotechnology to molecular nutrition can deliver health benefits such as muscle development, managing diabetes or reducing obesity.

Remote sensing

The increasingly widespread use of sensors that allow often passive responses to external stimulae will continue to change the way we respond to the environment, particularly in the area of health. Examples include sensors that continually monitor bodily function – such as heart rate, blood oxygen and blood sugar levels – and, if necessary, trigger a medical response such as insulin provision. Advances rely on wireless communication between devices, low power-sensing technologies and, sometimes, active energy harvesting. Other examples include vehicle-to-vehicle sensing for improved safety on the road.

Precise drug delivery through nanoscale engineering

Pharmaceuticals that can be precisely delivered at the molecular level within or around a diseased cell offer unprecedented opportunities for more effective treatments while reducing unwanted side effects. Targeted nanoparticles that adhere to diseased tissue allow for the micro-scale delivery of potent therapeutic compounds while minimizing their impact on healthy tissue, and are now advancing in medical trials. After almost a decade of research, these new approaches are finally showing signs of clinical utility.

Organic electronics and photovoltaics

Organic electronics – a type of printed electronics – is the use of organic materials such as polymers to create electronic circuits and devices. In contrast to traditional (silicon-based) semiconductors that are fabricated with expensive photolithographic techniques, organic electronics can be printed using low-cost, scalable processes such as ink jet printing, making them extremely cheap compared with traditional electronics devices, both in terms of the cost per device and the capital equipment required to produce them. While organic electronics are currently unlikely to compete with silicon in terms of speed and density, they have the potential to provide a significant edge in cost and versatility. The cost implications of printed mass-produced solar photovoltaic collectors, for example, could accelerate the transition to renewable energy.

Fourth-generation reactors and nuclear-waste recycling

Current once-through nuclear power reactors use only 1% of the potential energy available in uranium, leaving the rest radioactively contaminated as nuclear “waste”. While the technical challenge of geological disposal is manageable, the political challenge of nuclear waste seriously limits the appeal of this zero-carbon and highly scalable energy technology. Spent-fuel recycling and breeding uranium-238 into new fissile material – known as Nuclear 2.0 – would extend already-mined uranium resources for centuries while dramatically reducing the volume and long-term toxicity of wastes, whose radioactivity will drop below the level of the original uranium ore on a timescale of centuries rather millennia. This makes geological disposal much less of a challenge (and arguably even unnecessary) and nuclear waste a minor environmental issue compared to hazardous wastes produced by other industries. Fourth-generation technologies, including liquid metal-cooled fast reactors, are now being deployed in several countries and are offered by established nuclear engineering companies.

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Active ageing: Open call for robotic based pre-commercial solutions

In the European Union, countries are facing tough times in the health and elderly care sector: while populations age and require more care services, countries are under pressure to make these services more cost efficient and effective. The pan-European SILVER project (Supporting Independent LiVing for the Elderly through Robotics) aims to demonstrate how public services can be rejuvenated by procuring R&D services that will develop higher quality and more sustainable elderly care solutions.

The SILVER project searches for new, innovative ways to acquire public sector health services by utilizing a Pre-Commercial Procurement (PCP) process designed for optimally matching R&D with procurers’ needs. The goal is to find new technologies to assist elderly people’s ability to continue living independently at home. By the use of robotics or other related technologies, the elderly are able to enjoy homelife even if they have physical or cognitive disabilities.

Registrations for the competition can be made via the SILVER webpage at www.silverpcp.eu/call-for-tender/registration

SILVER (Supporting Independent LiVing for the Elderly through Robotics) is a research and development project to establish and to execute a Pre-Commercial Procurement process suitable for the conditions for cross-border project implementation across several EU countries. It is funded by the European Union under the ICT cooperation part of the Seventh Framework Programme for research and technological development (FP7). The project started in January 2012 and will run for 51 months. SILVER has partners in Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, Sweden and United Kingdom.

Open date: 01 March 2013
Registration close date: 05 June 2013
Close date: 12 June 2013
Website: www.silverpcp.eu
Email: competitions@silverpcp.eu
Phone number: +44(0) 300 321 4357

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