With the start of Horizon 2020, the European Commission’s new €70.2 billion funding programme for research and innovation, only a few months away the Research and Knowledge Transfer EU team joined forces with our EU counterparts at the other GW4 universities – Bath, Bristol and Cardiff – and hosted the GW4 Horizon 2020 Conference. Sam Irish from Research and Knowledge Transfer’s EU Team was there…
Horizon 2020 will be the first time research and innovation have been funded through a single EU programme, so it will challenge us all to address research needs while ensuring that Europe leads its future economic development by leading innovation. There will be increased opportunities for more applied and industry-ready technologies.
Many topics across Horizon 2020 will now include a socio-economic component, with a general mainstreaming of socio-economic sciences and humanities across the whole programme.
Overall, the event was a great success. The atmosphere was one of optimism, interest and enthusiasm, with plenty of breaks for meeting new people, networking and discussing future research collaborations. It also represented a unique opportunity to hear directly from European Commission speakers about the new schemes, and to ask questions: a valuable opportunity to better understand the inner workings of one of Exeter’s key research funders.
Messages from the day were positive and encouraging. There is a sense of continuity from previous funding cycles, with European Research Council (ERC) and Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions continuing with only minor modifications to previous years – and a significant increase in budget for the Europen Research Council.
During the conference, held at @Bristol on Wednesday 23 October, around 300 delegates from a wide range of disciplines across Exeter, Bath, Bristol and Cardiff met, networked and got to grips with the upcoming Horizon 2020 funding programmes.
The first part of the day was dedicated to three plenary sessions covering the key areas of European Research Council (ERC), Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions and Future and Emerging Technologies (FET). Sessions were introduced by Pro-Vice-Chancellors and Deputy Vice Chancellors from all of the GW4 universities, and high-profile European Commission speakers provided detailed insight into the new Work Programmes.
For the second part of the day delegates attended different parallel sessions, looking in more detail at areas of the Societal Challenges pillar which provides support for large-scale collaborative research projects. Sessions were run in the areas of Climate, Health, and Innovative, Inclusive and Reflective Societies, with European Commission and UK National Contact Point speakers. This was followed by a showcase of current research work in these areas by researchers from all of the GW4 universities.
A further session also took place on Leadership in Enabling and Industrial Technologies (LEIT), which aims to strengthen the EU’s capabilities in areas such as nanotechnology, space, advanced materials, and biotechnology.