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PEN looks at the TEAMING instrument, focusing in one of the projects to receive funding under the WIDESPREAD-1-2014 call, CAMART2. IN 2015, the European Commission announced it would be providing new grants to help bridge the research excellence gap between member states and strengthen competitiveness and growth across Europe. This was to be done via the new Teaming instrument, which was designed to help improve research performance and increase investment in countries with lower research excellence rankings. With funding from Horizon 2020, 31 projects from such countries were selected to prepare operational plans for new centres of excellence by teaming up with high-calibre institutions from all over Europe. The first Teaming projects selected for funding were led by research institutions or agencies as well as national or regional authorities, and phase one of this action saw projects receive up to €500,000 each (€14.5m in total) to prepare operational plans for new centres of excellence or for upgrading existing ones. Speaking at the time, European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation Carlos Moedas said: “Put simply, we want Horizon 2020 funds to benefit as wide a range of European universities and research institutes as possible. We are determined to see that no part of Europe is left behind in research and innovation. Teaming now helps to achieve this by creating partnerships between those at the top and those with the most potential. Horizon 2020 rewards excellence and, most importantly, the pursuit of excellence.” In phase two, up to ten of these projects could then be selected for further support to implement the centre, following a competitive review process. The funding for the first step proposals (31 selected out of 169 submitted) reached €14.5m and around €87m was, in 2015, foreseen for phase two. Under Horizon 2020, the commission has said, a strong packet of measures with up to €800m was made available for widening participation of low-research performing member states. Such actions include Teaming, Twinning (institutional networking that includes support on staff exchanges, expert advice and assistance), as well as special awards like the new ERA Chairs instrument. Widespread Outlining the ‘WIDESPREAD-1-2014’ Teaming topic, the Commission has explained that ‘Despite its strengths, the European Research and Innovation landscape presents a lot of structural disparities, with research and innovation excellence concentrated in a few geographical zones. These disparities are due to, among other reasons, the insufficient critical mass of science and centres having sufficient competence to engage countries and regions strategically in a path of innovative growth, building on newly developed capabilities. This could help countries and regions that are lagging behind in terms of research and innovation performance reclaim their competitive position in the global value chains. Teaming will address this challenge by creating or upgrading such centres of excellence, building on partnerships between leading scientific institutions and low performing partners that display the willingness to engage together for this purpose.’ The WIDESPREAD-1-2014 call therefore looked for projects able to lead to the creation of new (or significant upgrades of existing) centres of excellence in member states and regions currently identified as low performers in terms of research and innovation, increasing on the one hand their scientific capabilities and on the other, enabling them to engage in a strategic growth path in terms of economic development. It is also expected that improved scientific capabilities will allow them to improve their chances to seek competitive funding in international for a (including the EU framework programmes). ‘Over the medium to long term there will be a measurable and significant improvement in the research and innovation culture (as shown through indicators such as research intensity, innovation performance, enhanced strategy, values and attitudes towards research and innovation) within member states currently with low R&I performance. These will be fostered through constructive and sustainable partnerships achieved between research and innovation-intensive institutions of excellence and the partnering organisation in the low performing member state or region. Benefits will also accrue to the institutions from the more intensive research and innovation performers, in terms of issues such as access to new research avenues, creativity and the development of new approaches, as well as a source for increased mobility (inwards and outwards) of qualified scientists.’ Crossing the divide In November 2016, during the conference ‘Spreading Excellence and Crossing the Innovation Divide’ organised by the European Commission in Brussels, Commissioner Moedas, together with the Director-General of the Directorate-General for Research and Innovation, Robert-Jan Smits, announced the winners of the WIDESPREAD 1-2014: Teaming competition. At the event, Moedas argued that “one of the major political and economic challenges all countries are facing today is growing inequalities,” adding that a lack of diffusion of knowledge and technologies is the cause. “The new digital technologies are not diffusing. The knowledge is trapped in businesses that are investing in innovation. This lack of diffusion feeds inequality, which has a huge cost for all of us. It translates into wasted resources, wasted talent and wasted potential,” he said. “Research and innovation is key to overcoming these gaps. We need to feed the pipeline of talent and ideas and help them diffuse far and wide. Ensuring excellence is present in all EU member states. Encouraging openness so that knowledge, ideas and people will flow.” For Moedas, the answer as to why some countries get more impact from their spending on research than other countries (and he was referring to both scientific and economic impact) lies in the national research and innovation systems: “They vary widely. So one of the first challenges for countries with low levels of excellence is to introduce reforms to their systems. This is never easy. It requires a good diagnosis of the system. It requires a process to reach agreement between the different actors. And it requires expertise and persistence to implement reforms. “Then, of course, there is the varying degree of investment. But the newer member states have been given a big opportunity to build excellence. The European Structural and Investment Funds are putting €100bn into research and innovation. But to make sure these resources actually translate into progress, countries will need to connect the islands of excellence and network internationally. “And perhaps most important of all, countries need to attract talent. The best researchers and innovators are internationally mobile. If countries are not able to offer attractive opportunities, the most talented will leave,” the commissioner concluded. After discussing the role of Horizon 2020, Moedas then outlined his intention to “beef up and optimise investments in excellence.” He said: “Teaming actions have had an enormous impact, supporting the creation of new or upgraded centres of excellence in widening countries. CAMART² One of the ten projects to receive funding through the WIDESPREAD 1-2014: Teaming competition was CAMART2, the biggest project in the history of Latvian science to date. This was launched at a ceremony attended by representatives of the European Commission, Latvian government officials, foreign co-operation partners and guests, as well as the orchestrators of the project, i.e. the employees of the Institute of Solid State Physics. The objective of the project is to strengthen the position of both the institute and the Latvian state within the European science sector through the development of the centre into a regional institution of European renown in the field of materials science and technology transfer. Speaking at the launch, Robert-Jan Smits said: “The only way Europe can compete with the rest of the world is to be smarter than others and to prove itself in the field of innovation. This means that investments must be made in education, science and innovation development. Such investments must be made at national level, at regional level, and, of course, also at international level within the European Union. We are delighted to see that, in the face of stiff competition, this major project has been awarded not only Horizon 2020 funding, but has also received support from the Latvian government. “The strengths of the CAMART2 project are the high qualifications of the scientists involved and a strong plan for how to pass on this knowledge and experience, and how to encourage mutual collaboration between the academic and business sectors. This project has all the characteristics required to make it an exemplar: high level science, potential for innovation, the business sector, new enterprises, and powerful partnerships, as well as a convincing management structure, which is absolutely vital for a project of this scale.” The project will facilitate the formation of a more comprehensive innovation and technology transfer ecosystem in the realm of research into modern materials and the use of such materials in innovative products, thus paving the way for the launch of new advanced technology and high added value manufacturing companies – an effort which epitomises the ends for which Teaming was established. The post TEAMING up appeared first on Horizon 2020 Projects.
ProPhotonix Ltd announced on Tuesday that it had launched a new application of digital lasers for train wheel inspection systems. It added that it had delivered an initial set of eight prototype laser modules for use in a new wheel wear monitoring and control system called Wheelwatcher. Jeremy Lane, ProPhotonix managing director, said: “Upon completion of extensive field testing and refinement, Wheelwatcher is expected to be commercialised in the summer of 2018 with ProPhotonix supplying laser modules for installations throughout Europe and worldwide in 2010 and beyond. “In addition, the various features and technologies developed for Wheelwatcher are intended for broader applications and customer requirements.” Wheelwatcher will provide rail transport operators with precise real-time information which will improve preventive maintenance of rail systems, which ProPhotonix said could also enhance rail safety. ProPhotonix said that it has provided its “expertise in laser module design and manufacturing”. The system is designed to function in extreme climatic conditions within a temperature-regulated enclosure, it added. Its laser modules incorporate a host of digital control and monitoring features which allow the end user to set operating parameters appropriate to the local conditions and to maintain multiple lasers at remote on-track locations from a central control point. The Wheelwatcher system is being developed alongside a consortium of European partner companies and is partially funded by the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme. The post ProPhotonix applies lasers to train wheel inspections appeared first on Horizon 2020 Projects.
Researchers are assessing the possibility of using advanced materials for roads and pavements, creating the potential to generate electricity from passing traffic. Engineers from Lancaster University, UK, are developing smart materials such as piezoelectric ceramics, which, when embedded in road surfaces, would be able to harvest and convert vehicle vibrations into electrical energy. Led by Professor Mohamed Saafi, the project will design and optimise the energy recovery of around one to two megawatts per kilometre whilst under typical traffic volumes – around 2,000 to 3,000 cars an hour. “This research is about helping to produce the next generation of smart road surfaces,” Saafi said. When stored, this energy could power between 2,000 and 4,000 street lamps. In addition to providing environmental advantages, this form of energy harvesting would also deliver economical savings for taxpayers. It costs 15p (~€0.17) a kilowatt hour to power a street lamp. Researchers say that this new alternative, including the cost of installation and operation, would be around 20% of the cost. Saafi added: “We will be developing new materials to take advantage of the piezoelectric effect where passing vehicles cause stress on the road surface, producing voltage. The materials will need to withstand high strengths, and provide a good balance between cost and the energy they produce. “The system we develop will then convert this mechanical energy into electric energy to power things such as street lamps, traffic lights and electric car charging points. It could also be used to provide other smart street benefits, such as real-time traffic volume monitoring.” The research is part of the SAFERUP – Sustainable, Accessible, Safe, Resilient and Smart Urban Pavements) programme, which is funded by the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 and led by the University of Bologna, Italy. Lancaster University’s energy harvesting project has received around £195,000 in funding. Once the technology has been developed, it will undergo field trials in both the UK and EU. The post Generating power from passing traffic appeared first on Horizon 2020 Projects.
The European Commission has now launched its call for proposals for the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018. Some €5m is expected to be made available for transnational co-operation projects aimed at reinforcing a sense of belonging to a common European space. The commission is especially looking for projects that focus on awareness raising and communication activities and that will have a long-term impact. “Our rich cultural heritage is a great asset. It is about much more than the past – it has a key role in building our future,” explained Culture Commissioner Tibor Navracsics. “We are looking for projects that will highlight the European dimension of that rich cultural heritage in all its forms. As President [Jean-Claude] Juncker said in his State of the Union Address, we must celebrate cultural diversity in 2018.” The call is open to concert halls, opera houses, theatre groups and other cultural actors, and has been launched under the Creative Europe programme for the cultural and creative sectors. All projects should start between January and September 2018, and can run for a maximum duration of 24 months. Applications must be made by 22 November 2017. To find out more about the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018, visit the commission’s website. The post €5m cultural heritage call now open appeared first on Horizon 2020 Projects.
A research group from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Trondheim, hopes to re-evaluate the overtreatment of patients with prostate cancer. Prostate cancer is the most common cancer found in men in Europe. Each year in Norway, around 5,000 men are diagnosed with the disease. Previously, researchers have lacked the diagnostic tools to accurately differentiate more aggressive forms from those which are less aggressive. Some patients require aggressive treatment programmes; however, this isn’t always necessary. The inability to individually assess the extent of cancer from patient to patient leads to many being overtreated and subsequently suffer from unnecessary ailments. Researcher May-Britt Tessem is leading the research group, which is affiliated with the MR Cancer Group, Department of Circulation and Medical Imaging, NTNU. “We’ll be using new and groundbreaking imaging technology, called ‘multiomics technology’,” she said. The new technology facilitates a three-dimensional overview of tissue and what it consists of. The work being done by the group has led to Tessem being awarded a European Research Council (ERC) Starting Grant for her research on prostate cancer. The group intends to find clinical diagnostic markers which can help to prevent the overtreatment, alongside the subsequent side effects and reduced quality of life. Tessem and her colleagues hope to supply information about the molecular signature of each patient. Recently, the group detected two metabolic biomarkers which are substances in the body that can be analysed and that tell us something about the condition of the body. In particular, the two biomarkers identified can help to determine whether prostate cancer patients are likely to relapse following surgery, and operate as an important marker for aggressive prostate cancer. Tessem is the fourth NTNU researcher within the Horizon 2020 research programme to receive an ERC Starting Grant. The funding of €1.5m will be spread over five years. The post Improving assignation of prostate cancer treatments appeared first on Horizon 2020 Projects.
An EU report has called for local governments to limit the access which technology companies such as Google and Facebook have over citizen data. Decentralised Citizen-owned Data Ecosystems (DECODE) – part of the EU’s Horizon 2020 initiative – aims to secure Europe’s global competitiveness. In the report it argues that a shift from siloed data access to an inclusive digital economy is in the interest of cities across the world. It also proposes that the control which companies such as Google and Facebook currently have over data is stifling fair social and economic innovation. ‘There need to be new models of governance that move beyond simply trusting major internet providers to share our data for public good when and how they see fit,’ the report read. To highlight the potential of an alternative system, DECODE is to run four pilot project across Amsterdam and Barcelona between 2017 and 2019. In Barcelona, a new partnership with Barcelona City Council and the Decidim.Barcelona will enable data streams, including healthcare information. Meanwhile, in Amsterdam, the city will expand upon the Gebiedonline (Neighbourhood Online) platform which enables locals to share news, arrange meet-ups, and exchange products and services. Francesca Bria, DECODE co-ordinator and chief technology and digital innovation officer, Institut Municipal d’Informatica de Barcelona, said: “Today, citizens have little say in how their data is gathered or used. Data is accumulated in the hands of few online platforms that profit from its value, helping them to secure control over the digital economy. “Immense power has been shifted to just one sector of society as a result. We need a new social pact on data to make the most out of data for the public good, while guaranteeing privacy and information self-determination for citizens,” Bria added. The report preludes the introduction of tighter EU internet rules in the form of May 2018’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The post EU project claims sites have too much power over data appeared first on Horizon 2020 Projects.
EIT Digital has announced the first commercial application of its SIOTAD innovation activity, which is designed to support sustainable and efficient agriculture. Bilberry, a French start-up, signed a deal with Agrifac, an internationally operating manufacturer of crop protection sprayers and sugar beet harvesting technology. At the end of this year, the company will incorporate Bilberry’s weed detection solution in the sprayers sold on the Australian market, which will allow customers to determine in real time where it is necessary to treat, or not. CEO of Bilberry Guillaume Jourdain said: “This will allow farmers to save time and spray more effectively, reducing the amount of herbicides needed. Fighting weeds is a priority for Australian farmers, as [these] unwanted plants consume the resources of an already dry soil.” By the end of 2018, more than 10,000 hectares of Australian land are forecast to be scanned with the technology offered by Bilberry. The start-up initially intended to sell directly to farmers, however Jourdain added: “We quickly understood that was not the optimal solution; Agrifac’s sales network will allow us to reach many more customers in a shorter time.” Bilberry’s weed detection technology was developed in collaboration with Nokia, whose Innovation Platform was vital in providing a live development and trial environment, which enabled the start-up to access the sufficient computational power needed to train algorithms. EIT Digital is a business champion of Bilberry’s initiative. The post EIT Digital announces commercial application of SIOTAD appeared first on Horizon 2020 Projects.
Researchers at Brunel University, London, UK, have secured funding to develop a wireless network that aims to fuse LiFi with mmWave technology. The project builds upon the emerging visible light communications (LiFi) – or VLC – technology standard, using visible light to transmit data, and millimetre wave technology (mmWave), which has made an impact on what could be the 5G standard. Organisers aim to demonstrate 10Gbps connections within homes and buildings with a delay of one millisecond. The ‘remote radio-light head 5G’ project is led by Professor John Cosmas, who says that the ultra-low latency could revolutionise industrial applications such as in remote surgery, as well as increasing the viability of working from home. Cosmas said that the hybrid LiFi system provides health benefits due to the decreased power requirements for data transmission, which as a result “could reduce the ill effects on humans and potentially lower incidence of tumours and leukaemia”. LiFi bulls are installed in replacement of standard LEDs, which connect to a router via Ethernet and pass data to and from devices using a LiFi receiver. Brunel University’s hybrid LiFi network would take this and add mmWave emitters and receivers into light fittings which would then communicate with the 5G radios of phones within the home. Using around €710,200 from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 programme, Cosmas’ team aims to demonstrate the network in the Musée de la Carte à Jouer, Paris, and on the Madrid Underground over the next three years. The post H2020 funds 5G light bulb appeared first on Horizon 2020 Projects.
The UK government has published a science and innovation paper which outlines its position on how the UK can develop its future relationship with the EU. The paper acknowledges key arguments from the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) concerning the need to maintain a close relationship with the EU, whilst referencing the UK’s leading role in European research and innovation. Tom Thackray, CBI director of innovation, urged the government to seek bespoke association in any final deal to ensure that the UK would retain its position. In the paper, two points are articulated: the UK and EU should work together to seek an agreement and to establish a framework for future collaboration. Further, the paper outlines how the UK and the EU have benefitted from collaborations formed through the Horizon 2020 and through previous framework programmes. In negotiations, the government aims to develop the pre-existing relationship to inform what a future partnership could look like. A second emphasis is placed upon the importance of future agreements facilitating bilateral and multilateral research relationships and researcher mobility. The paper discusses the possibility of the UK maintaining links with individual member states post-Brexit, with access to high-level skills and the UK remaining as an attractive destination for international talent. The CBI will meet with stakeholders and policymakers to discuss options for the UK, and ways of ensuring that the UK can retain its participation in European innovation. The post Brexit: retaining the UK’s role in EU innovation appeared first on Horizon 2020 Projects.
Applications are now open for the 2018 edition of the EU Prize for Women Innovators. The award, launched by the European Commission in 2011, recognises women entrepreneurs who have achieved outstanding innovations and brought them to market. It is open to any woman in the EU (or a country associated to Horizon 2020) who founded or co-founded their existing and active company before 1 January 2016 and who has benefitted from public or private research and innovation funding. The winning contestant will receive a prize of €100,000, while the second- and third-place runners up will receive €50,000 and €30,000 respectively. A €20,000 Rising Innovator Award – available to women aged 30 and under – will also be given to an exceptional innovator at the beginning of her career. “The EU Prize for Women Innovators gives public recognition to outstanding women entrepreneurs and inspires other women to follow in their footsteps,” said Science and Innovation Commissioner Carlos Moedas. “We have seen some exceptional achievements since the start of the competition. For example, the 2017 winners created an innovation lab bringing together scientists and artists, or invented the first ever digital tablet for blind users. I look forward to seeing many more fresh ideas and talent in the new edition of the contest.” Applications close on 15 November 2017. The winners will be selected by a high-level jury and announced on International Women’s Day on 8 March 2018. See the Application Guide for more information on how to apply. The post 2018 women innovators prize now open appeared first on Horizon 2020 Projects.

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