Some features of H2020 participation in the environmental area

Calls for proposals in H2020 societal challenge 5 – “Climate action, environment, resource efficiency and raw materials” – covering period 2014-2017 were evaluated and there is an appropriate time for the brief overview now. Analysed data were taken from the E-CORDA database (version 9.1, 30/09/2017). Please note that for 2017 the results of one-stage calls are included only. Altogether 4 634 proposals were submitted with 18 733 participants. During evaluation 427 projects with 3 537 participants from 85 countries were selected for funding. Share of participants from EU countries amounts to 89 %.

Participation of all EU countries is summarised in Table 1.

Country Teams Projects Eligible costs – € H2020 funding – €
AT 96 63 32 943 337,2 26 829 814,2
BE 191 101 66 466 110,6 57 236 189,8
BG 14 10 2 318 388,8 1 508 919,9
CY 22 20 6 598 037,2 4 914 810,7
CZ 29 22 9 923 629,6 6 566 549,9
DE 349 151 197 186 183,7 142 307 789,3
DK 85 54 37 608 772,4 28 290 732,2
EE 20 18 5 099 888,1 3 156 626,4
EL 95 55 35 600 224,2 30 774 913,2
ES 421 174 184 995 259,1 147 297 752,9
FI 95 63 49 289 948,4 36 964 322,0
FR 240 124 107 462 525,3 81 043 409,2
HR 16 12 2 563 847,0 2 011 979,7
HU 32 22 8 089 357,2 6 729 570,3
IE 42 28 16 787 690,1 12 374 683,1
IT 358 165 133 899 768,7 105 512 105,7
LT 10 9 2 375 336,9 1 889 396,0
LU 6 6 1 840 648,1 1 267 435,8
LV 7 7 1 408 998,6 765 073,9
MT 7 7 1 249 625,0 1 249 625,0
NL 234 116 107 439 218,2 92 541 883,0
PL 62 46 18 293 034,1 14 744 639,3
PT 121 65 39 541 013,1 33 349 117,7
RO 53 34 11 175 440,6 7 391 179,0
SE 125 80 73 691 288,3 52 939 480,7
SI 44 32 16 210 829,5 11 422 265,4
SK 19 15 2 791 659,5 2 022 537,2
UK 345 161 161 043 791,3 141 658 782,4
Total 3138   1 333 893 850,8 1 054 761 583,7

Table 1. Projects selected for funding in EU countries (number of projects, number of teams, total eligible costs and requested H2020 funding).

Participation success rate (ratio of all teams of given country in project proposals recommended for funding to the overall number of teams of given country in all project proposals) for EU and selected associated countries is very diverse (in range from 9,6 to 29 %), see Figure 1. Associated countries with very small number of participation were excluded from the comparison.  Average participation success rate of EU countries amounts to 21,1 % and it is clear from the figure that participation success rate of most EU-13 countries remain below this level.

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Summary of EU participation in raw materials area of Horizon 2020

Primary and secondary raw materials are essential for the economy of all countries and influence significantly their competitiveness. EU faces two main challenges, high dependence on the import of raw materials and the security of supply of raw materials. EU addresses these challenges among others in the EU Raw Materials Initiative and in the Innovation Partnership on Raw materials and of course this issue is reflected in Horizon 2020 as well.

Raw materials part of Societal Challenge 5 (SC5) is focused mainly on non-energy and non-agricultural raw materials used in industry. Since the launch of Horizon 2020 in 2014 till February 2017 altogether 6 calls for proposals have been evaluated in the frame of SC5 containing 21 topics focused on raw materials. Budget for H2020 research focused on raw materials amounts to 600 mil. €. European Commission received 198 proposals from which 40 were recommended for funding. 594 teams from 43 countries participate in those 40 projects altogether requesting 211 mil. €.

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Future of the oceans

The Maltese presidency organised an Informal Ministerial Meeting on Blue Growth and Ocean Governance in the EU and the Mediterranean; Innovation, and Nautical Tourism on 20 April 2017 in Valletta. Blue Growth is the long-term strategy to support sustainable growth in the maritime sector and represents the maritime input to attaining the goals of Europe 2020. The Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Karmenu Vella gave the opening speech at the conference. He highlighted some achievements like global leadership of Europe in the development of ocean energy technologies (Europe host 52% of all tidal stream developers and 60% of all wave energy developers in the world) or the fact that in the last 10 years, EU research programmes have provided some 150 million euros to fund ocean energy research, development and innovation. He also mentioned that the value of sustainable aquaculture production in the EU is up by more than 40% compared to a decade ago. Vella also flagged three areas where more needs to be done: access to finance, skills and qualifications connected to new jobs and finally the regional cooperation.

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Coordinators of the H2020 projects in the environmental area

The role of coordinators, especially in collaborative projects based on the cooperation of high number of participants, is very important and demanding. Administrative as well as expert skills are necessary for the management of the teams from different national environments. As a benefit in addition to the higher contribution from the EC, the coordination brings also a so called ‘pull effect’ – it means the coordinator usually pulls up other partners from his/her country. The pull effect has also positive impact on the involvement of the institutions with no previous experience with the framework programmes´ projects.

Analysed data shown in Fig. 1 are taken from the E-CORDA database (version 7, 28/02/2017)

Fig. 1 Number of coordinators from EU15 (blue columns) and EU13 (grey columns) and share of coordinators in projects financed in SC5.

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Participation in the environmental area of H2020

The beginning of 2017 can be considered as a proper time to look back at Horizon 2020 participation, as  the programme  is in the middle of its duration. In this article, we concentrate on the basic characteristics of participation in Societal Challenge 5: Climate action, environment, resource efficiency and raw materials (SC5).  Analysed data is taken from the E-CORDA  database (version  6, 30/09/2016).

Similarly as in other H2020 priorities, in SC5 calls for proposal raise a strong response from the research community: altogether 3 277 eligible project proposals prepared by 14 294 participants have been submitted since the beginning of the H2020 programme in SC5. 326 projects with 2 335 participants were selected for funding. Total project success rate accordingly responds to almost 10 % (the highest – 27 % – in the case of Coordination and support actions, the lowest – 7 % in the case of SME Instrument).

A comparison of EU member states involvement in SC5 is given in Fig. 1. Columns show number of participations in funded projects calculated per 1 million of inhabitants for EU-15 (blue columns) and EU-13 (grey columns). High values of this parameter can be observed in case of Slovenia, Denmark, Belgium, Finland, the Netherlands and Portugal.  Absolute numbers of participations illustrated by points are the highest in Spain, Germany, Italy, United Kingdom, followed by the Netherlands and France. Small countries, like Cyprus, Malta or Estonia, are characterised by the small number of participations, but belong to the most successful as for the above mentioned relative characteristic.

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What is Belmont Forum about?

With 120 participants from more than 30 different countries the Belmont Forum Information Day took place in Brussels on 30 November 2016. The Belmont Forum is a group of the world’s major and emerging funders of global environmental change research.  It main goal is to accelerate delivery of the environmental research needed to remove critical barriers to sustainability by aligning and mobilizing international resources. In the frame of the Belmont Forum, so called Collaborative Research Actions (CRAs) are funded. In the past they were focused on Mountains as Sentinels of Change, Climate Predictability and Inter-Regional Linkages, Arctic,    Scenarios of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, E-Infrastructures and Data Management, Food Security and Land Use Change, Coastal Vulnerability, Freshwater Security. Topics on Sustainable Urban Global Initiative (SUGI): Food-Water-Energy Nexus and Transformations to Sustainability will follow. Very interesting key-note speech of the Information Day was delivered by Janez Potočnik (former  European Commissioner and member and Co-Chair of the International Resource Panel hosted by the United Nations Environment Programme) who addressed global environmental change challenges.

Call SUGI/FOOD-WATER-ENERGY NEXUS to open on December 9, 2016

The Sustainable Urbanisation Global Initiative (SUGI)/Food-Water-Energy Nexus is a call jointly established by the Belmont Forum and the Joint Programming Initiative Urban Europe. The cooperation was established in order to bring together the fragmented research and expertise across the globe to find innovative new solutions to the Food-Water-Energy Nexus challenge.

The call aims to develop more resilient, applied urban solutions that bring inter- and trans-disciplinary research and innovation together from across the globe, to benefit a much wider range of stakeholders. The rapid urbanization of the world’s population underscores the importance of this focus. JPI Urban Europe and Belmont Forum have partnered to ensure a maximum audience across physical, natural, social sciences and arts and humanities as well as policy and decision makers and stakeholders

Stay tuned to both the Belmont Forum and JPI Urban Europe websites for further information on the call.

Source : http://jpi-urbaneurope.eu/calls/sugi/

EIB encouragement for circular economy financing

The European Investment Bank’s (EIB) InnovFin Advisory service received requests from the European Commission’s Research and Innovation Directorate General and from the government of Luxembourg to study issues related to risk financing for circular economy projects. The result was a report, which made recommendations about the role of financing in the transition to a circular economy.

Source: https://ec.europa.eu/environment/ecoap/about-eco-innovation/experts-interviews/eib-encouragement-circular-economy-financing-interview-shiva_en

Commission Work Program 2017 to Deliver on the Circular Economy

The Commission will take forward the implementation of the Circular Economy Action Plan by improving the economics, quality and uptake of plastic recycling and reuse in the EU and reducing plastic leakage into the environment. The Commission will also develop a monitoring framework to ensure that progress towards their circular economy ambitions is on track and delivering the mutually-reinforcing benefits both for the environment and economic growth. You can read more in the Commission Work Programme 2017 “Delivering a Europe that protects, empowers and defends” issued in October 2016.

Source: http://ec.europa.eu/atwork/pdf/cwp_2017_en.pdf

ECRA General Assembly 2017, Brussels, 7-8 March 2017

The European Climate Research Alliance (ECRA) aims to strengthen, expand and optimise EU climate research capabilities through the sharing of world-class national facilities in Europe and the collaborative realisation of pan-EU programmes. National and European Climate change research programmes have to be streamlined and coordinated, in order to ensure optimum use of human resources, modelling capacities, field activities, and infrastructures, maximising therefore the impact of scientific results and reinforcing the European Research Area for climate change science.

In March 2017, the General Assembly of ECRA will take place in Brussels. Registration will open in December. It will focus on Climate Change and vulnerable regions”. This ECRA General Assembly will adress and discuss with climate scientists, policy makers and relevant climate initiatives about: Climate research priorities, most vulnerable regions and opportunities for adaptation strategies, improving collaboration in climate research, advancing integrated science and impact assessments.

Source : http://www.ecra-climate.eu/index.php/upcoming-events