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Other news on Research within the EU

Winners of the Horizon Impact Award 2020

Between 22 and 24 September 2020, the European Research and Innovation Days were organised as an online event, continuing their objective of encouraging the conversation and enacting real change.

During the online event, the five winners of the Horizon Impact Award 2020 were also announced:

  • CARING (France, more information here)
  • INVISIBLE (Portugal, more information here)
  • MACH (Germany, more information here)
  • OCEAN SENTINEL (France, more information here)
  • TRANSKRIBUS (Austria, more information here)

The winners were selected by an independent jury from amongst 10 finalists which were short-listed in mid-September, and will each receive EUR 10 000. The European Commission also used the occasion to award a winner from the 2019 edition – FRESH DEMO from the Netherlands – which could not be granted this distinction at that time.

The Horizon Impact Award was launched in February 2019 and aims to reward the most influential and impactful project results funded under Horizon 2020, and its predecessor, the 7th Framework programme (FP7, 2007-2013).

 More information on the award is available here.


ERC President speech – future of EU R&I and disappointment over foreseen budget cuts Horizon Europe

During a hearing at the European Parliament’s ITRE (Industry, Research and Energy) Committee, European Research Council (ERC) President, Jean-Pierre Bourguignon, discussed the future of EU Research. He raised the proven importance of research in the face of the pandemic: “By examining the portfolio of ERC-supported projects, we were able to identify more than 180 projects worth about EUR 340 million that are highly relevant to deal with the crisis”. He then brought forward the point that in the face of new challenges, such as the one posed by COVID-19, research and innovation is an essential weapon that will find itself in an increasingly competitive environment due to the pandemic.

ERC President then followed with a clear criticism of the July Council’s proposal on the next EU budget 2021-2027: “What are we left with to deal with that? For the moment, the compromise reached by EU national leaders at the July Council on the EU’s next budget with a big reduction for Horizon Europe!”

This speech was once more a reminder of the disappointment that emerged from the proposed member states’ budget allocation for Horizon Europe. Even though the budget of Horizon Europe still increases, ERC President added that if that was indeed true “the envelope for Horizon Europe left after the reductions only allows for a stagnation for 7 years at the level provided by Horizon 2020 in the year 2020, except inflation corrections.” He also mentioned the fact that in 2014 and 2015, at the beginning of Horizon 2020, the ERC faced a similar challenge with lowering the first years to keep money for the end of Horizon Europe, leading to a significant drop in the success rates.

More criticism followed against the trend of Asian countries strengthening their own investment in research and innovation, and by reminding of what the ERC could offer and had offered in the past. The ERC advocates for its own minimum budget, of EUR 16.6 billion.

The entire speech is available here.