The first calls under the European Union’s new framework programme for research and innovation – Horizon 2020 – are expected towards the end of this year. The main differences with previous funding programmes will be
- a single programme, coupling research to innovation
- an emphasis on societal challenges, e.g. health, clean energy
- simplified access
One of the aspects to be simplified is the time to grant (TTG), meaning the period from the deadline for applications to the date of signing a grant agreement with the successful consortia. In future, the Commission will be obliged to
- inform applicants of the outcome of the call less than 6 months from the closing date for applications,
- sign an agreement with the successful applicants less than 3 months later.
This of course means squeezing quite a lot of administrative work into a shorter period. The Commission has a number of solutions in reserve, such as asking for more administrative information up-front as part of the bidding process or depending more on declarations of honour, for example. Another approach open to them is to implement a 2-stage submission procedure for certain calls. In such cases, the stopwatch would start running from the closing date of the second submission stage.
The 2-stage submission procedure has its supporters and detractors. Those not in support are generally industry representatives for whom time to market is essential to reap the commercial success of their innovations. Those in favour of a 2-stage approach are generally from the university side for whom a reduction in the administrative burden (20 page application at stage 1) and an increase in funding chances (if the application goes through to stage 2) are important considerations. An essential corollary here is that the feedback from evaluators in stage 1 can contribute effectively to shaping a full proposal with a good chance of success.
Another simplification planned (but not to be ready for the calls to be published at the end of 2013) is a more intergrated approach to the structure of the research proposal, moving away from the Parts A and B to a format containing possibly 4 different sections. Also in the pipeline is more web-based guidance on filling out an application and advice on the number of deliverables and milestones, underscoring the need for more quality and less quantity.
The European Commission has launched a public consultation regarding the revision of rules on technology transfer agreements with a view to changing the existing exemptions. The Commission may impose rules so as to avoid companies using license agreements to divide up markets among themselves or to block competing technologies from entering the market. The Technology Transfer Block Exemption Regulation (TTBER) bestows an exemption on certain technology transfer instruments, such as patents and know-how licenses, from European competition rules.
The current TTBER expires on 30 April 2013; the Commission is inviting comments on its proposals until 17 May 2013 at the following link: http://ec.europa.eu/competition/consultations/2013_technology_transfer/index_en.html
Call identifier: 62/G/ENT/CIP/13/C/N04C031
Deadline: 18 June 2013
The objective of this Call is to pursue the EU efforts aimed at strengthening cluster management excellence in Europe by further using the results and tools developed by the European Cluster Excellence Initiative (ECEI) and building upon the experience gained in the 2011 call for proposals and the current projects dealing with cluster excellence. Applicants are expected to develop all of the following specific activities:
- Participation in training on benchmarking of cluster organisations: training activities addressed to all project partners on how to use the benchmarking tool provided by the European Secretariat for Cluster Analysis (ESCA) for assessing the performance of the management of cluster organizations to select up to 6 cluster management organizations.
- Participation in training for cluster instructors and for cluster managers on how to assist cluster managers to improve their management skills and provide high quality services to their cluster members (using the training materials provided by the European Foundation for Cluster Excellence).
- Activities to support the efforts of cluster organisations, awarded with the bronze label of excellence, to acquire the gold one.
All training activities shall be organised in close collaboration with, and under the supervision of, the European Secretariat for Cluster Analysis and the European Foundation for Cluster Excellence. Moreover, each project shall develop a strategy and a plan on how they expect to continue their work on cluster excellence after the end of the project as well as a dissemination action (in a separate work package).
BUDGET AND FUNDING
The maximum budget allocated for EU financing under this call is € 1.377.000. Breakdown by individual objectives: € 344.250. EU funding rate up to 95%.
ELIGIBLE APPLICANTS AND CONSORTIA
Eligible members of the consortium shall be regional or national public authorities or agencies financing and/or managing cluster programmes in their territory. Each consortium should be composed of partners from at least 3 different CIP participating countries. Applications from legal entities established in one of the following countries are eligible:
- EU Member States
- EFTA and EEA countries, Switzerland, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway
- Candidates countries
- Non-EU Member countries participating in the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programme (EIP) such as Albania, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Israel, Montenegro, Serbia, and Turkey.
Consortia involving a majority of CIP participating countries having low experience in cluster management excellence will be considered as a priority for funding (for major details see the annexes of the call). The consortium is invited to use the stress test tool for cluster programmes developed by the project “The Perfect Cluster Programme” before submitting their proposal. Its recommendations should be part of the proposal.
The duration of the projects shall not exceed 24 months.
Foreseen starting date of the action/ work programme: November 2013
Faced with pressing societal challenges such as high unemployment and an ageing population, Europe is increasingly turning towards social innovation as a source of new solutions. It is therefore a sign of the times that for 2014-2020 social innovation has been explicitly integrated into the Structural Funds Regulations, offering further possibilities to Member States and regions to invest in social innovation both through the ERDF and the ESF. The report offers guidelines as to how public authorities can support social innovation and includes a good number of inspiring examples of social innovation in practice.
The report can be accessed at: http://ec.europa.eu/regional_policy/sources/docgener/presenta/social_innovation/social_innovation_2013.pdf
The Court of Justice of the European Union has dismissed the case brought by Italy and Spain who objected to the legality of the enhanced cooperation procedure used to bring in the unitary patent. Both countries objected to Italian and Spanish not being considered as official languages for the European patent (only English, French and German are) and claimed that the contested decision caused damage to the internal market and the economic, social and territorial cohesion of the EU. On the contrary, the Court of Justic found that the Council’s decision to authorise enhanced cooperation contributed to the process of integration as otherwise it had been impossible to reach common arrangements for the whole European Union within a reasonable time period.
The CJ also held to be unfounded Spain and Italy’s argument that the protection conferred by the unitary patent would not be advantageous in terms of uniformity, and so of integration, compared to the situation created by the operation of the rules laid down by the EPC. Furthermore, the court ruled that the contested decision did not prejudice any competence, rights or obligation of those Member States not participating in the enhanced cooperation procedure.
The Business and Innovation Development unit at the University of Turku is hosting Buscinessence, a conference focusing on the intersection between science and business. A line-up of prominent speakers will talk about science in business and business in science as keynote presentations and inspiring case studies, peppered with interactive workshops on concrete issues at the intersection between science and business. Speakers include Erkki Liikanen, Governor of the Bank of Finland, Senior Lecturer Gary Palin, University of Elon, Executive Director Riikka Heikinheimo, Tekes, Futurist Elina Hiltunen, What’s Next Consulting, and cases will be featured such as Google Finland, Uplause and many more. The interactive workshops include topics like Green Business, Sustainable Leadership, and Next Generation Teaching Technologies in Higher Education.
More information and registration can be found at http://buscinessence.org/
DG Enterprise and Industry is funding the activities of an ASEAN IPR SME Helpdesk to provide free information and services for European businesses to help protect and enforce their IPR in the ASEAN region, i.e. Brunei-Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. The Helpdesk services include guides, e-learning modules, webinars, training events, videos, podcasts, country IP factsheets and a dedicated enquiry helpline.
For information and access http://www.asean-iprhelpdesk.eu/