European Union: Cyprus' Significant Position In The EU ‘Horizon 2020'

Last Updated: 5 February 2018
Article by Shanda Consult Ltd
Most Popular Article in Cyprus, February 2018

Cyprus has ranked first in the EU in terms of per capita absorption of funds from 'Horizon 2020' Research and Innovation Programme, Dr. Vassilis Tsakalos, General Director of the Cyprus Research Promotion Foundation (RPF), has said CNA.

Cyprus has absorbed approximately €90 million funds so far which correspond to 245 projects implemented by research and innovation centres as well as educational enterprises, he continued.

The major areas which Cyprus managed to absorb funds are: The Marie Sklodowska-Curie actions (MSCA), information and communication technologies, energy, social issues, health, safety and the environment, he pointed.

According to Tsakalos, the Cyprus Research Promotion Foundation as the National Contact Point supports the participation of Cypriot enterprises and research centres by providing services such as information on calls for proposals, organisation of seminars, support in finding partners from abroad, solving questions about rules and procedures for participation, previewing proposals before submitting them, etc.

Investing in R&I will develop a country's competitiveness by improving productivity, introducing new products and services and addressing difficult social challenges, he said.

'Horizon 2020' Programme

The EU 'Horizon 2020' is the largest Research and Innovation funding programme in the EU with approximately €80 billion funding and seven years plan from 2014 to 2020. This programme initiatively formed with the aim of securing Europe's international competitiveness as Europe's leaders and the Members of the European Parliament agreed that research and innovation are investments for future and should be placed in the EU's blueprint for economic growth and job creation.

Horizon 2020 with emphasis on excellent science, industrial leadership and confronting challenges, is approachable by anyone by its simple structure with focus on projects' goals and achieving results faster. The main goals of the program are: to ensure Europe produces world-class science, removes barriers to innovation and makes it easier for the public and private sectors to work together in delivering innovation.

The EU Research and Innovation funding programme will be implemented by multi projects and measures with the aim of creating a single open market for knowledge, research and innovation and breaking down barriers.

Work Programme 2018 - 2020

According to the European Commission's fact sheet about Horizon 2020's work programme from 2018 to 2020, this Work Programme mainly focus on Market creating innovation, Political priorities and Strengthening International R&I cooperation.

• Market creating innovation

The Work Programme supports market creating innovation, through the European Innovation Council (EIC) which will be open to innovative firms and entrepreneurs in any sector, in order to scale up their businesses at European and International level, rapidly. Also, the EIC by bringing together the existing instruments such as: the SME Instrument, inducement prizes, FET-Open and Fast Track to Innovation, will help Europe in better capturing of innovative ideas in order to create new markets and strengthen the industrial base.

• Political priorities

The Work Programme intends to address political priorities of the European Commission by defining targeted research and innovation actions that can produce significant influence.

As stated in the fact sheet, the 2018-2020 Work Programme's focus areas have been designed around four political priorities. These are 'virtual calls' that cut across several parts of the Work Programme and are expected to create an exceptional influence, addressing 'big ticket' challenges. The political priorities are as follows:

'Building a low Carbon, Climate-resilient Future' (budget of €3.3 billion)

The goal is development of solutions to achieve carbon neutrality and climate resilience by the second half of the century. Also, Research and Innovation actions have planned to support the EU's Energy Union and improvement of renewables, energy efficiency in buildings, electro-mobility and energy storage solutions.

'The Circular Economy -to connect economic and environmental gains' (budget of €941 million)

Through R&I actions a strong contribution will be made to sustainable development goals, climate action, resource efficiency, jobs and growth and industrial competitiveness.

'Digitising and transforming European industry and services' (budget of €1.7 billion)

This area's focus is on creating growth and jobs and to tackle societal challenges such as personalised medical cares, more secure and efficient mobility, security and sustainable use of natural resources. For digitising the industry, the Digital Single Market strategy would be followed as well as combining digital technologies such as 5G, high-performance computing, artificial intelligence, robotics, big data, Internet of Things, with innovations in other technological areas.

'Boosting the effectiveness of the Security Union' (budget of €1 billion)

50% of overall public funding of Horizon 2020 allocates for security research in the EU. The main focus is to support the implementation of Security Union priorities such as preventing and fighting serious crime including terrorism, increasing border security and protecting infrastructure against threats and cyber-attacks.

• Strengthening international R&I cooperation

The Work Programme supports around 30 flagship initiative topics dedicated to International cooperation, to ensure the EU's scientific leadership and industrial competitiveness.

Read further information about the EU Horizon 2020 programme here.

CIMULACT

CIMULACT (CITIZEN AND MULTI-ACTOR CONSULTATION ON HORIZON2020) is a three-years project from June 2015 to March 2018, launched by the European Commission for 'Citizen and Multi-Actor Consultation on Horizon 2020'. It has 29 European consortium partners from Germany, Austria, France, Belgium, Czech Republic, Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary, Italy, United Kingdom, Spain, Switzerland, Finland, Norway, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Ireland, Netherlands, Portugal, Malta, Slovakia, Cyprus, Luxembourg, Croatia, Sweden, Greece and is led by the Danish Board of Technology Foundation as coordinators.

CIMULACT formed to involve society in defining new Horizon 2020 research areas. By engaging about 1500 EU citizens from 30 countries in a series of consultations, the European research agenda will be more accountable and ensure that it reflects social visions for sustainable and desirable future, more closely. Citizens' demands were discussed with policymakers, experts and other stakeholders in order to find the best way to invest in research and innovation projects for the benefit of society.

The CIMULACT results show that citizens are capable to collaborate with policymakers and researchers in the European research and innovation agenda to improve mutual understanding and producing significant and innovative inputs.

Comprehensive Agenda

According to Lars Klüver, Director of Danish Board of Technology Foundation, phase one of the project, was a brainstorming workshop that citizens from each of the 28 EU member states, as well as Switzerland and Norway, came up with ideas on how to develop sustainable societies and what are citizens' demands in their everyday lives. Then different ideas combined by experts, policymakers and creative thinkers, to get an extensive picture of European citizens' ideal future. In another workshop, research program scenarios drew up by experts, citizens and other actors, which would lead to the future vision. Eventually, in a single workshop, eight of these scenarios would be picked out for further development and to identify policy options and research areas for the EU Horizon 2020.

"CIMULACT has accomplished something new, which already demarcates a shift in the view on how research can be defined", Klüver said.

The Danish Board of Technology Foundation (DBT) with 30 years of experience in developing and implementing methods of public involvement in research and innovation, is leading the CIMULACT project. Previously, the DBT has coordinated several projects under FP5 (EUROPTA), FP6 (CIVISTI), FP7 (PACITA, Engage2020, DESSI). Furthermore, the DBT has joined as partner in numerous other European research projects, such as SurPRISE, SATORI, Res-AGora, Human Brain Project, Foresight, BASE, CASI, SUBSOL, EUth and ASSET.

Read more about the CIMULACT project here.

Using this multi-actor approach with high engagement of citizens, the CIMULACT project has identified 23 topics to be discussed in the European Commission's next call for projects in its 'Horizon 2020' research and innovation funding programme.

Sources: Cyprus News Agency (CNA) - The European Commission website

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