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TOPIC : Twinning

Topic identifier: WIDESPREAD-03-2018
Publication date: 27 October 2017

Types of action: CSA Coordination and support action
DeadlineModel:
Planned opening date:
single-stage
15 May 2018
Deadline: 15 November 2018 17:00:00

Time Zone : (Brussels time)
  Horizon 2020 H2020 website
Pillar: Spreading excellence and widening participation
Work Programme Year: H2020-2018-2020
Topic Description
Specific Challenge:

The specific challenge is to enhance networking activities between the research institutions of the Widening countries and internationally-leading counterparts at EU level. Driven by the quest for excellence, research intensive institutions tend to collaborate increasingly in closed groups, producing a crowding-out effect for a large number of promising institutions. This is the challenge that a specific Twinning action will try to address.

Scope:

Twinning aims at significantly strengthening a defined field of research in a university or research organisation from a Widening country by linking it with at least two internationally-leading research institutions in other Member States or Associated Countries. Twinning will:

  1. Enhance the scientific and technological capacity of the linked institutions with a principal focus on the university or research organisation from the Widening Country;
  2. Help raise the research profile of the institution from the Widening country as well as the research profile of its staff.

Successful Twinning proposals will have to clearly outline the scientific strategy for stepping up and stimulating scientific excellence and innovation capacity in a defined area of research as well as the scientific quality of the partners involved in the twinning exercise. This scientific strategy should include arrangements for formulating new (or ongoing) joint research project(s) in the scientific area of choice and describe how Twinning will take this research to a new stage, by enlarging its scope and/or the research partnership. If relevant, any links with sustainable development objectives are to be outlined.

Such a strategy should include a comprehensive set of activities to be supported. These should include at least a number of the following: short term staff exchanges; expert visits and short-term on-site or virtual training; workshops; conference attendance; organisation of joint summer school type activities; dissemination and outreach activities.

A dedicated focus towards promoting the involvement of early stage researchers (as per the MSCA definition[1]) in the coordinating institution from the Widening country is expected. This should take the form of a dedicated work package in the proposal describing activities dedicated to early stage researchers from the coordinating institution that could include training, mentoring and networking measures within the Twinning exercise.

In general, costs relating to administration, networking, coordination, training, management, travel costs are acceptable under a Twinning project.

Therefore, for grants awarded under this topic and type of action the following cost categories will be ineligible costs:

- infrastructure costs;

- equipment;

- research costs (including consumables).

The respective option of Article 6.5.C of the Model Grant Agreement will be applied.

The duration of a Twinning project can be up to 3 years.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of EUR 0.8 million, would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting lower amounts.

Expected Impact:

- Increased research excellence of the coordinating institution in the particular field of research as a result of the twinning exercise.

- Enhancing the reputation, attractiveness and networking channels of the coordinating institution.

- Improved capability to compete successfully for national, EU and internationally competitive research funding.

- Illustrate quantitatively and qualitatively the expected potential impact of the twinning exercise within the coordinating institution (and possibly at regional/national level) based on indicators like expected future publications in peer reviewed journals, collaboration agreements with businesses, intellectual property, new innovative products or services.

- It should be explained how the leading scientific institutions in the partnership will contribute in terms of provision of access to new research avenues, creativity and the development of new approaches, as well as acting as a source for increased mobility (inwards and outwards) of qualified scientists.

- The benefits for the internationally leading scientific institutions and the way they would materialise through the partnership should be substantiated.

[1]Early stage researchers shall, at the time of recruitment by the host organisation, be in the first four years (full-time equivalent research experience) of their research careers and have not been awarded a doctoral degree. Full-time equivalent research experience is measured from the date when the researcher obtained the degree entitling him or her to embark on a doctorate, (either in the country in which the degree was obtained or in the country in which the researcher is recruited) even if a doctorate was never started or envisaged. Part-time research experience will be counted pro-rata.

Topic conditions and documents

1. Eligible countries: described in Annex A of the Work Programme.
A number of non-EU/non-Associated Countries that are not automatically eligible for funding have made specific provisions for making funding available for their participants in Horizon 2020 projects. See the information in the Online Manual.

 

2. Eligibility and admissibility conditions: described in Annex B and Annex C of the Work Programme.

1. The applicant organisation (coordinator) where a defined field of research aims to be strengthened as a result of the Twinning action should be established in a Member State or Associated Country that is ranked below 70% of the EU27 average of the composite indicator on Research Excellence[[The detailed scores of the composite indicator can be found in p. 5 (Excellence in S&T 2010) of the "Research and Innovation Performance in EU Member States and Associated Countries 2013" at http://ec.europa.eu/research/innovation-union/pdf/state-of-the-union/2012/innovation_union_progress_at_country_level_2013.pdf]].

The selected corrective threshold of 70% of the EU average has been chosen in line with the particular policy requirements of the measure, to ensure the greatest possible impact through targeting only the lowest performing Member States, and thereby maximising the real value of these actions.

Based on the above threshold, applicant organisations from the following Member States and Associated Countries (subject to valid association agreements of third countries with Horizon 2020) will be eligible to submit proposals as coordinators (the "low R&I performing" or "Widening" countries):

Member States: Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia.

Associated Countries: Albania, Armenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Faroe Islands, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Georgia, Moldova, Montenegro, Serbia, Tunisia, Turkey and Ukraine.

2. Twinning proposals must involve a minimum of three participants:

a. The applicant organisation must satisfy the condition set out in point 1 above, and must be the coordinator of the proposal.

b. At least two internationally-leading research intensive counterparts that must be coming from a Member State or Associated Country other than that of the coordinating applicant.

3. The requested EU contribution shall not exceed a maximum of EUR 0.8 million for a period of up to 3 years.

Proposal page limits and layout: please refer to Part B of the proposal template in the submission system below.

 

3. Evaluation:

  • Evaluation criteria, scoring and thresholds are described in Annex H of the Work Programme. 
  • Submission and evaluation processes are described in the Online Manual.

4. Indicative time for evaluation and grant agreements:

Information on the outcome of evaluation (single-stage call): maximum 5 months from the deadline for submission.
Signature of grant agreements: maximum 8 months from the deadline for submission.

5. Proposal templates, evaluation forms and model grant agreements (MGA):

Coordination and Support Action:

Specific provisions and funding rates
Standard proposal template
Standard evaluation form
General MGA - Multi-Beneficiary
Annotated Grant Agreement

6. Additional provisions:

For grants awarded under this topic for coordination and support actions the following cost categories will be ineligible costs:

- infrastructure costs;

- equipment;

- research costs (including consumables).

The respective option of Article 6.5(c) of the Model Grant Agreement will be applied.

7. Open access must be granted to all scientific publications resulting from Horizon 2020 actions.

Where relevant, proposals should also provide information on how the participants will manage the research data generated and/or collected during the project, such as details on what types of data the project will generate, whether and how this data will be exploited or made accessible for verification and re-use, and how it will be curated and preserved.

Open access to research data
The Open Research Data Pilot has been extended to cover all Horizon 2020 topics for which the submission is opened on 26 July 2016 or later. Projects funded under this topic will therefore by default provide open access to the research data they generate, except if they decide to opt-out under the conditions described in Annex L of the Work Programme. Projects can opt-out at any stage, that is both before and after the grant signature.

Note that the evaluation phase proposals will not be evaluated more favourably because they plan to open or share their data, and will not be penalised for opting out.

Open research data sharing applies to the data needed to validate the results presented in scientific publications. Additionally, projects can choose to make other data available open access and need to describe their approach in a Data Management Plan.

Projects need to create a Data Management Plan (DMP), except if they opt-out of making their research data open access. A first version of the DMP must be provided as an early deliverable within six months of the project and should be updated during the project as appropriate. The Commission already provides guidance documents, including a template for DMPs. See the Online Manual.

Eligibility of costs: costs related to data management and data sharing are eligible for reimbursement during the project duration.

The legal requirements for projects participating in this pilot are in the article 29.3 of the Model Grant Agreement.

 

8. Additional documents:

1. Introduction WP 2018-20
15. Spreading excellence and widening participation WP 2018-20
18. Dissemination, Exploitation and Evaluation WP 2018-20

General annexes to the Work Programme 2018-2020

Legal basis: Horizon 2020 Regulation of Establishment
Legal basis: Horizon 2020 Rules for Participation
Legal basis: Horizon 2020 Specific Programme


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