The EU is today announcing new grants that will help bridge the research excellence gap between Member States and strengthen competitiveness and growth across Europe. The new Teaming instrument, under which these grants are awarded, will help improve research performance and increase investment in countries with lower research excellence rankings. With funding from Horizon 2020, 31 projects from such countries have now been selected to prepare operational plans for new Centres of Excellence by teaming up with high-calibre institutions from all over Europe.
European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation Carlos Moedas said: "Put simply, we want Horizon 2020 funds to benefit as wide a range of European universities and research institutes as possible. We are determined to see that no part of Europe is left behind in research and innovation. Teaming now helps to achieve this by creating partnerships between those at the top and those with the most potential. Horizon 2020 rewards excellence and, most importantly, the pursuit of excellence."
The first Teaming projects selected for funding will be led by research institutions or agencies as well as national or regional authorities. In phase 1 of this action, the projects will receive up to €500,000 each (€14.5 million in total) to prepare operational plans for new Centres of Excellence or for upgrading existing ones.
Funded projects include partnerships from all over Europe. For example, a Slovenian institute is teaming up with the Karolinska Institute in Sweden in an effort to create a Centre of Excellence in the area of medical innovation. Another successful proposal involves an effort by a Bulgarian institute to establish a Centre of Excellence in sustainable bio-based technologies in partnership with the Max Planck Society in Germany.
Teaming is an important part of the EU's effort to unlock Europe's potential in research and innovation. Eligible Member states under Teaming include all those that joined the EU after 2004 plus Portugal and Luxembourg, as well as eight of the non-EU countries associated to Horizon 2020. Teaming will help them to start new collaborations, build new scientific networks and seize new market opportunities.
All projects are selected by independent experts following standard Horizon 2020 procedures. The action has two steps. Funding in Phase 1 is provided to develop a ‘business plan’ for the future centre. In phase 2, up to ten of these projects could then be selected for further support to implement the centre, following a competitive review process. The funding for the first step proposals (31 selected out of 169 submitted) reached €14.5 million and around €87 million is currently foreseen for Phase 2. Synergies between Teaming and the Cohesion policy may also allow projects in Phase 2 to use structural funding available to support the implementation of Centres of Excellence and fund infrastructure and large equipment not funded by Teaming grants.
Under Horizon 2020, the EU's research funding programme, a strong packet of measures with up to €800 million in funding will be available for widening participation of low-research performing Member States. Such actions include Teaming, Twinning (institutional networking that includes support on staff exchanges, expert advice and assistance), as well as special awards like the new ERA Chairs instrument (IP/14/125).
Annex: List of projects selected under Phase 1 (In English)