The objective of this session was to introduce the Work Programme 2014 topics and the Instruments to fund these projects.
One important evolution of the instruments is their simplification.
Mr. Stancic first introduced this session by reminding the audience about the previous challenges and opportunities overseen in previous sessions about Horizon 2020 and how ICT 2013 is actually a good place for networking towards the project calls.
Then Mr. Moller presented the topics addressed in Horizon 2020, highlighting the ubiquitous position of ICT in the three pillars of the new framework programme, which are “Excellent Science”, “Industrial leadership” and “Societal Challenges”. He observes that funding is mainly directed (around 38%) to the last pillar with topics related to health, energy-efficient computing, smart and green transport or cybersecurity.
In his talk, Mr. Moller identified clearly the topics where ICT is involved since it is divided into different areas of the new framework programme. He stressed the fact the Horizon 2020 moves towards innovation, getting closer to the market, compared to FP7. In fact, Horizon 2020 covers the different parts of the innovation chain, with basic research mainly concentrated in the “Excellent Science” pillar, while technical research and development would be mostly found in “Industrial Leadership” and market related matters globally understood within the “Societal Challenges”.
In the last part of his talk, Mr. Moller listed the different calls and topics addressed by Horizon 2020, particularly the ones where ICT is involved.”Excellent Science” is covered in different calls such as Future and Emerging Technologies (FET), Open as well as Proactive calls, Flagship calls which focus on graphene and the human brain project, and the eInfrastructures calls. An important aspect of these calls covers the access and management of scientific data. Additionally, High Performance Computing was given specific focus in this pillar. “Industrial Leadership” covers 6 major areas: new generation of components and systems, next generation computing, future Internet, content technologies and information management, robotics, and micro and nano-technologies. Mr. Moller added that a joint initiative with the new materials area was proposed under the “Factory of the Future” calls. Other calls related to this pillar cover cross-cutting activities, ICT innovation actions where young entrepreneurs are given specific attention and international cooperation.
Finally, Mr. Moller addressed the “Societal Challenges” in which ICT is present in almost all of them. To get the most of his talk, the prospective applicants are invited to consult the “Guide to the presence of ICT in Horizon 2020” where calls and topics relevant to ICT are clearly identified. Since Work Programme calls are opening in late 2013 and January 2014, prospective applicants are encouraged to start networking with potential partners and building proposals. More information can be found at http://ec.europa.com/research/horizon2020/
The second talk of this session was given by Ingrid Mariën-Dusak who described the different funding instruments of Horizon 2020. The big objective of Horizon 2020 is “simplification”: as a matter of fact, there is now a single set of rules that cover not only research and innovation (RI) programs but also public-private partnerships, public-public partnerships as well as other programs outside the RI areas. There is a specific set of instrument to take care of innovative actions whereas intellectual property rights (IPR) handling remains the same as of FP7.
Mrs. Mariën-Dusak first presented the different forms of funding (grants, prizes, procurement, and financial instruments) before describing the types of actions supported in Horizon 2020: RI actions, Innovation actions, Coordination and Support actions, as well as a new SME instrument targeted specifically at the SMEs (including consortia of SMEs). She also covered the co-fund actions including the ERANET co-fund, the Pre-Commercial Procurement (PCP) and the Public Procurement of Innovation Solutions (PPI) co-fund for solutions that have not yet penetrated the market at a large scale.
Conditions of participation as well as eligibility conditions remain the same as of FP7: the awards criteria are composed of the excellence of the proposal, the quality and efficiency in the implementation, and the impact of the possible results.
Another simplification targets the selection criteria: while the operational capacity is still expected, the financial capacity only target coordinators that receive more than 500k€ from the EC, excluding public bodies and entities guaranteed by member states (MS) or associated countries (AC).
Mrs. Mariën-Dusak also highlighted the fact that now the time to grant is of 8 months (5 months from proposal to decision notification and 3 months for signature of the grant agreement).
As expected by prospective applicants, the funding model was also simplified: now, there will only be one single reimbursement rate per action, erasing the discrepancies between the different types of partners (academic, industrial, SME, public). However, no revolutions were introduced for eligible costs, with a slight change on how personnel costs are managed: applicants can either declare actual costs or “unit” costs that takes into account the average personnel costs as well as SME owner or natural persons without salary.
For ICT students/young researchers, the most interesting takeaway from the session would be that the EC is really taking actions towards the simplification of participation and funding conditions, making applications more accessible, while focusing on young entrepreneurs as for the “Industrial Leadership” pillars. It is time for you to get involved within your university or your company, and encourage innovative projects with disruptive ideas that will likely be funded by the EC.