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The Unit provides a co-ordination and facilitation role in targeting the range of support that exists at Welsh, UK and EU level for accessing Horizon 2020 funding.
The Unit also plays a role in the strategic planning of proposals for enhancing the support available for Horizon 2020 through key Higher Education and Welsh Government projects.
The Welsh European Funding Office (WEFO) is part of the Welsh Government and manages the delivery of the European Structural Funds Programmes in Wales, including the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
Although Horizon 2020 falls outside of the scope of the Structural Funds Programmes, given the potential links between ERDF and the Horizon 2020 initiative, in January 2013 a small team was established within WEFO to support organisations in Wales to access Horizon 2020 funding. The Unit forms part of the Business & Innovation Branch in the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) Division of WEFO.
The Branch already has responsibility for Research and Development under the existing 2007–2013 Structural Fund programmes and one of the interventions for the 2014–2020 Structural Fund programmes is to support capacity building directly linked to improving access to wider research funding, e.g. support to develop more competitive bids for Horizon 2020.
The operating model for the Unit is flexible, allowing resources and skills to be built up over time and the Unit’s role to evolve as required. The Unit will be demand rather than supply driven and will not duplicate existing support (for example, the support available from the UK National Contact Points for Horizon 2020). The Unit is also structured around WEFO’s ERDF teams in North and South Wales allowing a ‘local’ dimension to the service provided.
In 2017, the annual report "Horizon 2020 in Wales" was published, assessing the impact of the programme in the country.