Integration of Social Sciences and Humanities research (SSH) in Horizon 2020 projects

The integration of Social Sciences and Humanities research (SSH) in Horizon 2020 projects comes with great opportunities but also with certain challenges. For decades, the European research was mainly focused on the expertise of researchers specialised in life and physical sciences, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Now, the Horizon 2020 policy looks further – it is based on a premise that integration of SSH aspects into European research is essential to generate new knowledge.

Net4Society – the Network of National Contact Points of Societal Challenge 6 ‘Europe in a changing world -inclusive, innovative and reflective societies’ prepared a short and informative factsheet about the added value of SSH integration, the main challenges and ways  to overcome them in order to effectively integrate SSH in a Horizon 2020 project.

Have a look at the fact sheet and learn how to ensure fruitful SSH integration!

Social sciences and humanities – an added value for your project

For decades, European research was primarily based on the expertise of researchers specialised in life and physical sciences, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Now, the new Horizon 2020 policy looks further – it is based on a premise that integration of social sciences and humanities (SSH) aspects into European research projects is indispensible to generate new knowledge and innovation.

SSH encompasses various disciplines – from sociology, psychology, communication and political science to economics, history , culture, law and ethics. It is evident that the knowledge for solving different societal challenges, including those related to the environment field, is spread across STEM and SSH disciplines. SSH integration in Horizon 2020 projects can yield innovative solutions and products that are socially acceptable, directly applicable, marketable and cost-effective. In addition, SSH integration can substantially enhance the impact of the project and support effective dissemination of results and communication with the target group and the wider public.

What does SSH integration mean in practice?

SSH experts contribute to framing Horizon 2020 topics and, consequently, the SSH aspects determined by them must be adequately addressed in Horizon 2020 proposals. In addition, evaluation panels include SSH expertise and the evaluators are trained on how to identify and evaluate SSH aspects. Given the above, inclusion of SSH expertise in project proposals can substantially increase evaluation scores and consequently raise a chance for a grant.

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Memorandum of Understanding between the Republic of India and the European Union on water cooperation

A Memorandum of Understanding for the India-EU Water Partnership has been undersigned on 7 October 2016 in New Delhi between the European Union and the Government of India. The full text is available at http://ec.europa.eu/commission/2014-2019/vella/announcements/memorandum-…

Website: http://www.eip-water.eu/memorandum-understanding-between-republic-india-and-european-union-water-cooperation

Circular economy – check why it is the hot topic for Horizon 2020

On the 2nd December 2015 the European Commission adopted the Circular Economy Package to address the growing challenge of the excessive use of resources and, in a long term, to develop a sustainable, low carbon, resource efficient and competitive economy in Europe.

If you want to know why circular economy is the ‘hot topic’ for the European Commission and how you, within the framework of Horizon 2020 and SC5, can support the transition of Europe into the circular economy, this article is for you!

Circular Economy – the concept

The idea behind the Circular Economy lies in closing the loop in a life cycle of a product. Currently, our economy is based on the following linear sequence: extraction of resources ->production of goods ->use-of those goods -> disposal of waste generated in the production and consumption process (approach known as ‘from cradle to grave’). In this approach, there is a substantial gap where valuable resources and materials get wasted and a tremendous amount of waste is generated, directly leading to environmental damage and climate change.

flux_waste

If we close the loop, we will arrive to the following circular sequence: production of goods -> use-of those goods -> waste management -> re-use of waste in another production circuit (approach known as ‘from cradle to cradle’). The focus of circular economy is, therefore, on the re-use of waste generated in the life cycle of a product, decrease in the extraction and use of raw materials and limitation of the amount of disposed waste.

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New guide on combining Strategic and Structural Funds

The European Commission has recently issued a new guide on how European Funds for Strategic Investments (EFSI) and European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) can be combined at project and financial instrument level, for example as an investment platform or  to support risky and innovation-driven European projects.

The 24-page guide entitled ‘European Structural and Investment Funds and European Fund for Strategic Investments complementarities – Ensuring coordination, synergies and complementarity’ is available at: http://ec.europa.eu/regional_policy/sources/thefunds/fin_inst/pdf/efsi_esif_compl_en.pdf.

Given that thematic objectives of both ESFI and ESIP cover issues related to climate, environment and resource efficiency,  the guide is of great interest to all SC5 stakeholders developing large scale investment projects under EFSI.

Results of ongoing EU funded Pre-Commercial Procurements

The European Commission has recently published an analysis of the updated results of ongoing Pre-Commercial Procurements  (PCPs) funded under the FP7 Programme.  The analysis focused on four main areas of impact and the main findings, based on data gathered from ongoing PCPs projects, are presented in the table below:

Areas of PCPs impact Result
Opening a route-to-the market for new market players 71% of PCP contracts are won by SMEs (more than twice the average in public procurement across Europe)
Stimulating cross-border company growth and opening up the internal market 31% of PCP contracts are awarded cross-border (25 times more than the average in public procurement across Europe)
Bringing research results to the market 32% of contracts have universities or research centers as partners in the winning consortia
Contribution to growth and jobs in Europe Nearly all bidders (97,5%) are doing 100% of the R&D for the contract in Europe

What is Pre-Commercial Procurement?

 Pre-Commercial Procurement is the procurement of research  and development of innovative solutions towards concrete needs and challenges of the public sector before they are commercially available. PCPs aim to enhance the quality and effectiveness of public services while creating also a route-to-the market for research results. Topics addressed by PCPs include healthcare, transport, security, climate change, energy efficiency, environment, ICT systems, infrastructures, improving the efficiency of public administrations through e-government, etc. Under Horizon 2020, the EU increases support for groups of public procurers who work together on joint Pre-Commercial Procurements (PCPs). Currently, Horizon 2020 provides funding for innovation procurement projects in several areas.

For more information, visit the following websites:

https://ec.europa.eu/digital-single-market/en/news/updated-results-ongoing-pre-commercial-procurements-pcp-projects (about the Results),

https://ec.europa.eu/digital-single-market/en/pre-commercial-procurement (about PCPs) and,

https://ec.europa.eu/programmes/horizon2020/en/news/130m-euro-eu-funding-innovation-procurement-2016-17-dont-miss-open-pcp-call (about PCPs in Horizon 2020).

Consultation on JPI Climate’s Revised Strategy

The Joint Programming Initiative ‘Connecting Climate Knowledge for Europe’ (JPI Climate) is currently revising its Strategic Research Agenda (SRA) for years 2016-2025. The revision follows the COP 21 arrangements and aims at addressing the challenge to make the transition from fossil fuels to clean energy, to increase Europe’s climate resilience as well as to provide knowledge base needed in support  for that transition.

The consultation seeks to inform the updating of the SRA and the further steps towards its implementation. To that end, the aim of the consultation is to receive input on potential needs, actions and tools  that could be addressed by JPI Climate to respond to the challenges identified in the revised SRA as well as on how those issues could be tackled in an effective and efficient way. The responses to the consultation will allow JPI Climate to better understand where its actions can have the added values and the greatest impact.

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Public consulation on the future of PRIMA

On 1 February 2016, the European Commission (EC) launched a public consultation on the future of PRIMA – the Partnership for Research and Innovation in the Mediterranean Area. The consultation will run for 12 weeks – running from 1 February 2016 to 24 April 2016 – and  persons wishing to have their say in the consultation process are invited to visit the following website:  http://www.ec.europa.eu/research/consultations/prima/consultation_en.htm.

All citizens and organisations are welcome to contribute to the consultation. Opinions are particularly sought from research organisations, universities and academic institutions, public authorities, local communities, large businesses, small or medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), business associations (including farmer associations), inter-governmental organisations, non-governmental organisations and individual citizens.

The purpose of the consultation it to gather opinions about and analyse the need for an EU action in the area covered by PRIMA as well as evaluate the potential economic, social and environmental impacts of the alternative policy options. The consultation particularly seeks input in relation to the preparation of a potential EU contribution to PRIMA through Art. 185 of the Treaty of the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) under Horizon 2020.

A summary report on the consultation, outlining the collected views, will be prepared by the EC by 20 of May 2016.

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Pre-announcement of a new 2016 Joint Call by Water JPI and FACCE JPI

The Water Joint Programming Initiative ( Water JPI) and the Agriculture Food Security and Climate Change Joint Programming Initiative (FACCE JPI) published, on 15 of January 2016, a pre-announcement of the upcoming call for multi-national collaborative research projects. The topics of the call are the following and applicants must address at least one of them:  Sustainable management of water resources in agriculture, forestry and freshwater aquaculture sectors by:

  • Increasing the efficiency and resilience of water uses;
  • Monitoring and reducing soil and water pollution;
  • Integrating social and economic dimensions into the sustainable management and governance of water resources.

The budget of the call amounts to 26M€. It is primarily funded by 26 funding organisations from 23 countries (see the table with participating countries below) , with 7.9 M€ support coming from the WaterWorks 2015 ERA-NET Cofund. The WaterWorks2015 ERA-NET Cofund was launched in January 2016 in support of the Water JPI. It is funded by the European Commission under H2020 and aims at tackling water challenges at European and international levels through the development of transnational and transdisciplinary research and innovation actions.

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