Former UK chief scientist joins European selection panel




Former UK chief scientific adviser David King is among the trio selected to choose European Commission’s High Level Group of scientific advisers.

Carlos Moedas, the European Union’s research commissioner, announced today that David King, now the UK foreign secretary’s special representative for climate change, will be assisting the Commission in choosing advisers for the Scientific Advice Mechanism.

King will join Rianne Letschert, chairwoman of the Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences’ Young Academy, and António Vitorino, former European Commissioner for Justice and Internal Affairs, to form an identification committee that will define the criteria for identifying members of the High Level Group, in addition to making their own recommendations.

The High Level Group will comprise seven scientific advisers who will offer the Commission independent scientific advice to support policy decisions. A press release said the group would draw on the “wide range of scientific expertise in Europe through a close relationship with national academies, universities, research organisations and specialised EU bodies”.

The EU’s Scientific Advice Mechanism was created in response to criticism at the decision of EU president not to renew the post of chief scientific adviser to the Commission president following the departure of the first holder of the post Anne Glover in November 2014.


Event: Open Innovation 2.0 Conference 2015

Open Innovation 2.0 Conference 2015 

07/06/2015 to 09/06/2015

The European Commission, is organising the 2015 Open Innovation Conference.
Like the previous editions, the conference will be organised by the European Commission, DG Connect Open Innovation Group (OISPG) together with Intel Labs Europe, Kindly supported by Aalto University, City of Espoo and other partners.

The OI2 Conference will be hold from the 07th until the 09th of June 2015 in Espoo (Aalto University Campus), Finland.
The conference will discuss the implementation of the Dublin Declaration and topics such as student entrepreneurship, open innovation digital platforms, regional information modelling and digitalized services.

The recently published High Level Group report on European Innovation Ecosystems will also be a basis for discussions at the event.

For more information on the event, please follow the link below.




Rights, Equality and Citizenship in Europe

The European Commission has launched a new funding scheme around rights, equality and citizenship. This blog gives an overview of the scheme. Individual calls will be launched over the coming months.

Funding Body: Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme


Specific objectives are to:-

  • Promote non-discrimination
  • Combat racism, xenophobia, homophobia and other forms of intolerance
  • Promote rights of persons with disabilities
  • Promote equality between women and men and gender mainstreaming
  • Prevent violence against children, young people, women and other groups at risk
  • Promote the rights of the child
  • Ensure the highest quality of data protection
  • Promote the rights deriving from Union citizenship
  • Enforce consumer rights

Support is available for training, awareness raising, networking and transnational cooperation.

Activities to be funded include:-

  • Training activities (staff exchanges, workshops, development of training modules etc.)
  • Mutual learning, cooperation activities, exchanges of good practices, peer reviews, development of ICT tools etc.
  • Awareness-raising activities, dissemination, conferences etc.
  • Support to main actors/key stakeholders

Budget: It may not be the same for all strands but many of them look like they will offer to fund 80% of project costs.

Deadlines: Separate calls are planned under each of the Programme objectives, the majority are planned for the second half of 2014, although some are set for the second quarter of the year.

Further Information:

You can see a breakdown of upcoming calls on the International Unit website:



Open access to research publications reaching ‘tipping point’

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The European Commission has published a new report on the impact of “open data”, stating that over 50% of scienctific articles published in 2011 are now avaliable for free. By making research results more accessible, open access can contribute to better and more efficient science, and to innovation in the public and private sectors.

The Commission will make open access to scientific publications a general principle of Horizon 2020. As of 2014, all articles produced with funding from Horizon 2020 will have to be accessible:

  • articles will either immediately be made accessible online by the publisher (“gold” and “hybrid” open access) – up-front publication costs can be eligible for reimbursement by the European Commission; or
  • researchers will make their articles available through an open access repository no later than six months (12 months for articles in the fields of social sciences and humanities) after publication (“green” open access).

To read the full reports you can go to this LINK

How can we promote ourselves internationally?

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The European Commission has published a Communication on ‘European higher education in the world’. This communication provides recommendations on how higher education institutions can work strategically to promote themselves outside Europe. This will document will also be a useful strategic reference point for future applications to the Erasmus+ funding stream, which will offer over €400 million per year for collaborations in education, training, youth and sport.

Further details at

University attends the 5th University Business Forum, Brussels


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On 4th and 5th June the European Commission hosted the 5th  University Business Forum.  Over 300 registered delegates from across the EU listened to a number of high profile speakers including Jan Truszczyński, Director General of DG EAC and Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth.  From the UK perspective Sir Tim Wilson, author of A Review of Business–University Collaboration, February 2012 (click here to view) also gave a key note which was well received by the audience.

The role of University Business collaborations for growth was central to discussions.  The Commissioner highlighted the importance of University Business collaborations to address the challenges of high the levels of youth unemployment and an increasing skills gap facing Europe today.  Successful initiatives evolving from previous forums were also presented, including details of the Knowledge Alliance funding calls and the “Guiding Framework for Entrepreneurial Universities”; an online self assessment tool developed in cooperation with the OCED.

Staffordshire University’s Catherine Fehily also presented at one of the workshops ‘Design – a vital part of Innovation’, providing an overview of the excellent staff-student enterprise activity that FACT has achieved through Flux, High House and SPoTS atelier.  The Commission also paid for two of our FACT students to attend along with a handful of students to provide real time illustrations of the workshops to support the feedback process.

Should you wish to find out more information the event website has a full list of the speakers and recordings of the main sessions

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Horizon 2020 update from UKRO

The UK Research Office have advised that they understand the European Commission’s DG Research and Innovation is planning to complete internal drafts of the first Horizon 2020 work programmes by the end of June 2013.  This timetable is extremely ambitious and reliant on the budget discussions progressing, but if all goes as planned an indicative list of topics could be available in July, with consultations underway in Autumn.

The Horizon 2020 Strategic Programme for 2014-2016 is expected to be published alongside the first work programmes to set out the overall objectives of the first two years of the programme and a number of ‘focus areas’ which are expected to be the main thematic driver for the first work programmes. Early indications suggest these could include:

  • Sustainable food security
  • Blue growth: unlocking the potential of the oceans
  • Smart cities and communities
  • Competitive low-carbon energy
  • Energy efficiency
  • Mobility for growth
  • Waste: a resource to recycle, reuse and recover raw materials
  • Water innovation: boosting its value for Europe
  • Overcoming the crisis: new ideas, strategies and governance structures for Europe
  • Disaster-resilience: safeguarding and securing society, including adapting to climate change
  • Digital security 
  • Personalising health and care

The full article is available from the UKRO subscriber services via, or contact for further information.

Sport Based European Funding

Before the Erasmus for All Sports funding starts in 2014, it seems the European Commission wants to run  test projects. This is open for bids until 19 July.

Funding body: European Commission
Scheme: 2013 Preparatory Action: European Partnership on Sports
Overview: This call for proposals will support transnational projects put forward by public bodies or not-for-profit organisations in order to identify and test suitable networks and good practices in the field of sport, in three following areas:
(1) Strengthening of good governance and dual careers in sport through support for the mobility of volunteers, coaches, managers and staff of non-profit sport organisations.
(2) Protecting athletes, especially the youngest, from health and safety hazards by improving training and competition conditions.
(3) Promoting traditional European sports and games.
Projects must include at least five member states.
They expect to fund around 15 projects
Deadlines: 19 July 2013
Costs: The EU covers 80% of all eligible costs. There is no minimum or maximum amount to apply for, but projects are likely to be over €400,000

This type of project takes a large amount of work to develop. If there is not already a project idea and some partners in place, the team wouldn’t recommend applying for this round of funding. However, it is possible to identify organisations submitting bids with a view to being a project partner. A similar grant should be available in 2014 so this could provide the starting point to developing a bid for 2014.

Consultation Results: Internet of Things

The European Commission has recently published the both the results of its public consultation on the ‘Internet of Things’ and the output from an expert group. The conclusions will feed into the development of future policy. The European Commission will also work closely with the CONNECT Advisory Forum for ICT (Information and Communication Technologies) Research and Innovation on this.


Internet of Things (IoT) is a long term technology and market development based on the connection of everyday objects to the Internet. Connected objects exchange, aggregate and process information on their physical environment to provide value added services to end-users, from individuals to companies to society as a whole.

Therefore IoT could potentially improve the life of EU citizens and tackle societal challenges, such as health and transport, and create job opportunities in Europe. On the other hand, it also will create risks for citizens for example with privacy and security.

The European Commission held a public consultation to gather views on the policy approach needed for a dynamic development of the IoT in the digital single market whilst also ensuring appropriate protection citizens. Over 600 responses were submitted to the consultation, which was held in Spring 2012.

Conclusions of Consultation
During the consultation, there was no consensus about whether public intervention is needed for the IoT, and if so, what the scope of the intervention should be.

Many respondents (mainly from industry, but backed by several academics and individuals) felt that public intervention is not needed since the sector is still in its infancy. They felt policy measures should be developed at a later stage and that the existing legal framework already protects the end-user. They suggest that, ongoing standardisation work on identification, IoT architecture or security will foster a competitive and safe development of IoT applications. Some respondents also stressed that inappropriate governance will raise barriers to investment and innovation.

By contrast, many individual respondents, civil society and consumer associations claimed that economic considerations are secondary when fundamental rights like privacy, security and other ethical issues are at stake. They stressed the need to protect the rights of end-users and raised concerns that the IoT market would not develop in a competitive way and that consumers may get locked in certain technologies. In their view, IoT specific rules should be developed and enforced to control the development of IoT technologies and markets. They conclude that a multi stakeholder platform, securing appropriate representation of civil society, is needed to address IoT governance issues.

Next Steps
The European Commission will develop future policy initiatives based on the consultation and expert report. It will also work with the CONNECT Advisory Forum for ICT Research and Innovation, which is known as CAF.