September’s Wider Outlook is here!

Wider Outlook – Funding, Policy updates and Research


Welcome to September’s Wider Outlook—the team have chosen the theme of working with Horizon 2020 and SMEs for this month. We have identified and created a number of articles related to this topic.

Once again, current funding opportunities remain part of our daily blog, and  individual opportunities are circulated to relevant groups as a bespoke service.

This edition includes:

  • a report back from the UK Research Office (UKRO) annual conference highlighting key issues for the university
  • the background and programme for our annual UKRO conference on November 20th
  • European Commission Regional funds and our internal champion
  • Intellectual Property and H2020
  • What is an SME?

Do continue to use our fantastic Funding Calendar enjoy this edition, and as ever contact us with any comments, ideas or suggestions at

The External Projects Team: Jose, Holly, Esther, Chris and Margaret


UK Research Office (UKRO) annual conference, Bristol

The UK research office (UKRO) represents all the UK research councils in Brussels, providing guidance and advice to the UK university sector as they bid for EU research funding.The conference provided thoughts on issues the UK research community could address and improve.The full programme and presentations for the annual conference can be accessed here:

The conference emphasised that H2020 is not business as usual, in that there is a distinct move away from pure research to addressing societal issues and challenges – such as the ageing population, and the financial crisis. This approach brings in formally a wider range of disciplines, for example the social sciences and humanities, SSH. It also brings in a wider range of sectors. In particular the Small and Medium Sized Enterprise sector (SME) who are the focus within H2020 for bringing the outcomes of research to market.

Key themes and challenges for the university sector arising from the conference are as follows:

  • Mainstreaming SSH and innovation
  • Joining up H2020 better to domestic programmes – there is a government science and innovation strategy due in the autumn that is designed to bring the two together
  • Linking H2020 to the structural funds (UK has an allocation of £11bn for to Local Enterprise Partnerships to prioritise –of which there is £800m allocated to innovation – particularly for taking research outcomes to market)
  • Developing links to business –SMEs and making the funds accessible

h2020 business

Particular challenges for universities in relation to working with business are:

      • How to find the right businesses for universities to work with
      • Questions of why businesses don’t collaborate internationally –linked to Intellectual Property; How to deal with IP rights in H2020 –in the past industry have been reluctant to sign up to EC requirements. See our IP article below.
      • Questions of why businesses don’t collaborate internationally linked to finding the right partners
      • Under the first SME call –UK came 3rd in terms of numbers applications (after Spain and Italy) and second in numbers of approvals.



Programme for our annual UKRO conference in November

We have planned the date early for the University’s annual European funding event this year, so you can book a place before your diary fills up.

We are especially delighted to welcome both Jane Watkins, National Contact Point for SMEs in Horizon 2020 to the conference alongside Błażej Thomas our UKRO adviser.

Be a Part of European Funding’

Thursday 20 November 2014   09:00-16:30

LT114/116 Ashley Building, Leek Road, Stoke on Trent

Morning Programme

09:00-10:30 – SME involvement in H2020 – How researchers can work with businesses and other non-academic sectors under the different Horizon 2020 programmes. Błażej Thomas, UKRO 

10:30-12:00 – Marie Sklodowska Curie funding –  An overview of the fund, what we can achieve with it, and the level of detail required for an application. Błażej Thomas, UKRO

 12:00- 13:00 Networking Lunch

Afternoon Programme

Information and Networking session for Businesses and University Staff

 13:00-14:00 Presenting the Horizon 2020 SME instrument. Jane Watkins, National Contact Point for SMEs in Horizon 2020 

Throughout the afternoon

12:00-16:30 –One to One Sessions with Jane Watkins and Błażej Thomas

Book a one to one session with our European specialists to get inside knowledge on developing your European Project.

Get individual advice on which conferences to attend to meet people, which EU policies you should be focusing on, how to find partners, how to develop your bid and more.

Businesses interested in getting involved with European funded projects are invited to come to the University to find out how the programmes work and talk to academics about how they can collaborate on projects.

The University has lead and partnered on many European projects. It is a great way for businesses to develop their European networks and to get funding to develop a new idea to improve your business.

To book your place for any or all of these sessions email

2013-12-11 14.07.39

The External Projects Team at the 2013 UKRO event


European regional funds and our internal champion

The European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) are the main funds to support to growth and jobs across the EU. They are allocated regionally, to help develop new services and new products within an area.

The 2014-2020 allocation for the Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent area is worth £138.4 million, and it has a 60% intervention rate. It comprises the European Regional Development Fund, ERDF (£83m) and of the European Social Fund, ESF (£55.3m). In addition, £3.13m is available to support investment for rural enterprise.

Priorities have been set out around these 4 themes:

  •  Innovation (ERDF),
  •  SME competitiveness (ERDF),
  • Place and environment (ERDF),
  • Skills, employment and social inclusion (ESF).

4 high value added sectors have been identified within the area: advanced materials, advanced manufacturing and energy, digital and creative industries.

Marie Pandolfo, who is covering Emma Davies’s maternity leave within Enterprise and Commercial Development, acts as the reference point for ERDF.

The University is likely to seek to develop a range of new infrastructures and facilities (Open Innovation platform, incubation space, shared research laboratories), as well as more support for enterprise along with a particular focus on the Creative industries.

If you have any project ideas or requests, please contact


T: 01785 353831.

Marie is listing all project ideas in order to get ready for the first call for proposals in the next few months, and to nurture the ESIF framework documents, which are still being discussed.





Open Access

This is a summary of our Open Access briefing note which examines the meaning according to the EU Commission and the Research Councils

For the full note see Note on open access

Open access, as understood by the European Commission, or the Research Councils, is the free and open access to the outputs of publicly-funded research, usually in the form of academic publications.  Open access is required by the funders to promote social and economic benefits as well as aiding the development of new research.

The Research Councils’ general policy is that research and data should also be available to potential users in business, charitable and public sectors, and to the general tax-paying public, on the basis that research funded by the tax payer should be available and accessible to the tax payer.

There is an inevitable tension where the Commission and the Research Councils and other public funders wish to encourage publication of results and research data.  However, on general projects and Horizon 2020, the policy has included the taking into account of legitimate concerns in relation to privacy, commercial interests and rights of access to large data volumes.  There appears to be an attempt to encourage a culture of sharing scientific and other publications, and permit adequate protection of rights of parties in research and research data.

Learn more, In practical terms however – the European Commission’s IP help desk will look at draft agreements and give comments on proposals

Learn more, at the IPR webinar September 3rd 11-30 to 13-00.



What is an SME?

Working with SMEs? -here is the European Commission’s SME definition



March’s Wider Outlook is here!

Welcome to March’s Wider Outlook—

the team have chosen the themes of alternatives to EU research funding and alternatives to research council funding –page one considers alternative sources of funding for developing ideas that could have commercial opportunities. Page two highlights External Project Team events coming up in March and April.

As ever do contact us with any comments, ideas or suggestions at





January’s Wider Outlook is here!

January’s Wider Outlook concentrating on the commercialisation opportunities offered by the Technology Strategy Board and the newly announced Erasmus+ programme – replacing all the European Commission’s lifelong learning programmes is here:


Wider Outlook: December’s edition now here



The External Project’s Team newsletter Wider Outlook for December is now here –

the team has chosen the theme of  Horizon 2020 this month—our annual UK Research Office UKRO event on December 11th will major on the new EU research funding programme –and this month’s edition is full of tips, information and advice to get your project off the ground. As ever do contact us with any comments, ideas or suggestions at




November Wider Outlook

Novembers Wider Outlook is now available

Download the newsletter here

This issue includes:

Page 1 Witty report on HE role in the Economy

Page 2 Review of the Leverhulme Visit to the University

Page 3 In House compliance Audits

Page 4 EU Innovation Indicator

If you have any comments or ideas for future editions we would love to hear from you

October’s Wider Outlook – now here

October’s Wider Outlook – concentrating on Research Council news is now available, there’s also the opportunity to voice your opinion on open access via the University’s response to the HEFCE consultation – deadline October 16th.

If you have any comments or ideas for future editions we would love to hear from you



Latest Wider Outlook – June edition now available!

The latest version of our newsletter Wider Outlook is now available – looking at the final EU funds under the current round, Horizon 2020 budget negotiations, structural funds update and ICT opportunities.

Please contact the External Projects Team if you would like to follow up any of the opportunities in the newsletter