Recognising the importance of science and innovation to society, productivity and economic competitiveness, the government has now provided reassurance to UK participants of the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Programme with a commitment to safeguard funding for research and innovation projects.
The Treasury has confirmed that it will underwrite funding for approved Horizon 2020 projects applied for before the UK leaves the European Union. As a result, British organisations have certainty over future funding and should continue to bid for Horizon 2020 Calls while the UK remains a member of the EU. The Treasury will underwrite the payment of such awards, even when specific projects continue beyond the UK’s departure from the EU.
We have been working with the Energy National Contact Points from the other European countries that participate in Horizon 2020 to ensure the above message is being disseminated to relevant organisations so that UK organisations’ continued eligibility for funding is widely known to allow consortia to be maintained and built. Please let us know if you do come across European organisations that are not aware of the Treasury announcement.
On 18th July 2017, Jo Johnson spoke at the Instruct ERIC inauguration event in London. He highlighted the importance of collaboration with European and international partners on major science, research and technology initiatives and that modern scientific research nearly always involves the sharing of expertise to tackle the hardest questions, making a link between big science and big opportunities for collaboration. He also reaffirmed the parameters of the UK Government’s underwrite of Horizon 2020 funding, in which the Government has committed to underwrite all successful bids for competitive EU funding made by UK participants that are submitted before the UK leaves the EU. The latest Q&A on the guarantee can be found here.
The final 2017 Horizon 2020 Energy Call for Proposal opened on 11th May 2017 with a total budget of €105M. The Commission will fund demonstration projects in PV, concentrated solar power, solar heat, offshore wind, ocean energy, geothermal energy and biofuels. The deadline for submitting proposals is 7th September 2017.
Please contact the EU Energy Focus team if you are interested in submitting a proposal for any of these topics. The team will be reviewing draft proposals for these topics throughout July and August. Please contact the team by email if you would like to book a proposal review slot.
The Enabling Future Arrays in Tidal (EnFAIT) project was allocated €14.9M in the 2016 Horizon 2020 Call for Proposals for low carbon energy demonstration projects. The project is coordinated by Nova Innovation and involves partners from the UK (the University of Edinburgh, HMK Technical Services Ltd, Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult, Mojo Maritime Ltd), Belgium, France and Germany. The project will extend the existing Bluemull Sound array to six turbines and demonstrate that high array reliability and availability can be achieved using best practice maintenance regimes. The layout of the turbines will be adjusted to enable array interactions and optimisation to be studied for the first time at an operational tidal energy site. More information about the project can be found at here and here.
2017 Call for Proposals now closed
The 2017 Call for Proposals closed on 20th April 2017. Results are expected to be communicated to coordinators by 20th September 2017.
The Commission’s Participant Portal has introduced a new service for finding collaboration partners for proposals. It now allows searching of profiles of organisations that have previously received EU funding and then contact with these organisations via a web form. The functionalities of the currently available beta version will be extended in the coming months. The facility can be accessed here.
From autumn 2017, Horizon 2020 will support innovation projects from innovators, researchers, corporates and SMEs active in any sector or technology as the European Commission looks to support breakthrough innovations that have the potential to create new markets. The Commission aims to identify companies and entrepreneurs with the potential and ambition to grow internationally, as part of a pilot European Innovation Council (EIC). Applications for EIC funding will need to be evaluated by experts in innovation. The best SME applicants will be interviewed by a panel of expert evaluators. The Commission is therefore looking to expand its pool of expert evaluators to include:
More information on the application process can be found here.
In May 2017, the Commission published the interim evaluation of Horizon 2020. The interim evaluation aims to contribute to improving the implementation of Horizon 2020 in its last Work Programme 2018-2020, to provide the evidence-base for the report of the High Level Group on maximising the impact of EU Research and Innovation programmes and to inform the design of future Framework Programmes. The full report and a brochure on the key findings can be found here.
The European Commission has launched three Horizon 2020 energy prizes, which will encourage innovations and finding solutions in the areas of great importance to European citizens, culture and health, and by this contribute to one of the key challenges of Energy Union, which is to put citizens at its core. These prizes will reward innovative approaches to integrating solar energy into historical buildings, using renewable energy in hospitals, and developing products that help cut emissions by reusing CO2. The total value of the prizes is €3.25M. More information can be found here. There was a conference session on the prizes during the European Sustainable Energy Week conference. The presentations can be found here.
Now is a good time for you to consider joining one of our sector stakeholder groups. These continue to play an important role in helping to shape UK input to discussions on future European energy technology development spending priorities. But in parallel, in the light of the EU referendum result, they will increasingly now focus on providing input to the UK’s new, wider international energy innovation engagement priorities that are currently being developed and other possible activities related to international collaboration.
The UK Stakeholder Groups meet via conference call approximately four times per year. There are UK Stakeholder Groups for bioenergy, solar, wind, CCS, smart cities, smart grids, ocean and a group on energy efficiency is in the process of being set-up. Stakeholder group membership offers an opportunity to help influence policy at EU and UK levels; and to build your networks and knowledge to take advantage of the resulting opportunities.
It’s important to have representative groups made up of industry, academia and the public sector to help ensure feedback matches as closely as possible to UK priorities, strengths and interests. This should give UK organisations the best possible chance of success in securing EU funding and activity, along with wider international business opportunities against increasingly tough competition.
We are interested in hearing from organisations, particularly trade associations or industry, about joining the stakeholder groups. Please contact the EU Energy Focus team if you would like more information or would like to explore joining.