Tag: Horizon 2020

News: Recent developments in EU – new funding frame and upcoming programmes

EUAbout ten days ago, on 8th of February, the European Council (consisting of heads of state of EU countries) reached an agreement on the new multiannual framework (MFF) for  the budget cycle 2014-2020. This in itself is not a budget negotiation, but has three aims: (a) the limit of possible spending – the “ceiling”, (b) on what the money should be spent and (c) rules of where the expenditure is to come from.   (read more about what you need to know about the MFF here).

These decisions have important impacts on the policy focus of the EU, and the emphasis of EU activities during the cycle, and as such have also important consequences for education as a policy sector, especially as the role of EU as a supranational policy actor in education has often been linked to their capacity to provide funding and administrative capacity. As such, a more constrained funding environment can also have consequences for the opportunities of EU to take this role in an active manner.

For the first time, the overall available expenditure was less than during the previous budget year. The overall ceiling was set as  EUR 908.40 billion, compared to EUR 942.78 billion in the MFF 2007-2013, a reduction of 3,4% in real terms. However, in this context, education was clearly identified as a priority area, and the summary of the agreement provided by EU indicated that “EU leaders agreed on a substantial increase of the financial means for future geared expenditure such as research, innovation and education“. Furthermore, it is indicated that “the expenditure ceiling for sub-heading 1a (“competitiveness”) amounts to EUR 125.61 billion, which is an increase of more than 37% compared to the MFF 2007-2013“.

Data on research activities in Europe

The EU has a new resource page that features updated data (latest update in Nov 2012) on research activities in EU countries, sorted by country.

The map includes a list of projects in the countries that have received EU funding or have partners in that particular country. In addition, the individual country profiles have updated information about research and innovation in these countries. While not comprehensive, they provide a quick glance to the RDI landscape in Europe.

Some interesting bits of information can be extracted from the data available. For instance, did you know that:

  • Sweden invests 3.4 % of GDP in R&D,and is thus amongst the world leaders in terms of R&D intensity and as the leader of EUs Innovation scoreboard
  • Researchers from Germany most commonly work together with researchers from UK in European projects, and Germany receives the largest share of EU research budget

Call for Participants: European Gender Summit 2012

European Gender Summit 2012 is held this year with a overarching title “Aligning Agendas for Excellence and it will take place 29th and 30th November 2012 at the offices of the European Parliament in Brussels. The event is organised by European Science Foundation and genSET.

The target group for the event is researchers, science leaders, and policy makers who are working on issues related to gender and their impact on Horizon 2020, the European Research Area, and Innovation Union.

A number of keynote speakers have been announced in the programme who will hold sessinos over two days covering a wide range of topics, for example: Integrating the Gender Dimension in Research and Innovation LandscapeThe Role of Research Evidence in Shaping Science Making and Science Policies, and Advancing Science and Innovation through Inclusion: The Gender Factor. In addition, the event also includes parallel sessions focused on various topics, so-called Cafés Scientifiques.

You can download the invitation text here, and find more information about the registration process on the event homepage.

Open access movement – from advocacy to policy to practice?

Hedda associate and current Hedda blog research editor Mari Elken gives an overview of the recent developments regarding open access in Europe.  

Discussions around open access and various forms of open access have been on the agenda in a number of academic debates lately. Paraphrasing the developments in the Arab world, the movement was termed the “academic spring” in a number of articles in the Guardian.

While the debate on open access is not new, having also been featured here on the Hedda blog a while ago, the topic gained momentum in early 2012, when Tim Gowers, a renowned Cambridge mathematician wrote a blog entry about Elsevier and the practices about pricing and peer reviewing. Quickly picked up by a number of publications, including The Economist, this started up a heated campaign and a boycott by a number of academics world wide. On the website The Cost of Knowledge, more than 12 000 academics signed the petition of boycotting all journals by Elsevier. Newspapers such as the Guardians have given the topic a lot of news coverage as well, in many ways becoming a part of and driving the campaign.

However, there are strong business interest in play. The Guardian reports that subscriptions to journals and publishers cost almost one tenth of the basic operating costs of universities in the UK. Michael Taylor gave some interesting numbers to back this in his commentary in The ScientistFor example, Elsevier reported a profit margin of 37,3 in 2011 (in essence over €950 million in revenue), far exceeding the profit margin percentages of for example Apple – being therefore called the “most ruthless capitalists”. In essence it is almost a risk free enterprise with huge profit margins to all of the three major actors – Elsevier, Springer and Wiley – and as long as the academia is dependent on reputation and publication indexes in the high ranked journals, there seems to be continued demand.

Horizon 2020: Open Letter Calls for emphasis on Social Sciences and Humanities

Horizon 2020 is the new Framework Programme for Research and Innovation in the EU. The rationale is that this will compile together the Framework Programme (currently FP7), the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP) and the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT). A central focus is on the sustainability of European economies and focus on creating new jobs and growth.

A consortium called ‘Socio-economic Sciences and Humanities for the Future of Europe’ is seeking signatures to an open letter addressed to the European Commissioner for Research and Innovation, advocating for the inclusion of a socio-economic sciences and humanities (SSH) research programme in Horizon 2020.