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10 years ERC, 10 portraits

In 10 years, The European research council ERC has funded more than 1000 researchers across Europe. Discover here some of them. 


First Swiss start-ups receive financial support from Horizon 2020 SME instrument

Four Swiss start-ups will receive CHF 50’000 each through the Horizon 2020 SME instrument scheme. The instrument, provided with about € 3 billion, is accessible to Swiss SMEs since January 2017. Next application deadline is 6 September.

Since January 2017, Swiss researchers and organisations are able to fully participate in Horizon 2020, the European Union's research and innovation funding programme. Since then Swiss SME including start-ups are eligible to apply for the Horizon 2020 SME instrument. Provided with about € 3 billion in funding over the period 2014-2020, the SME Instrument helps high-potential SMEs to develop groundbreaking innovative ideas for products, services or processes that are ready to face global market competition.

This week the first Swiss companies were announced which were selected for funding through the SME instrument. These include:

AMPHIRO (Cleantech): connected shower consumption meters

Daedalean (ICT): autonomous flight control for the electric personal aircraft of the near future

DEPsys (Cleantech): smart grid optimisation platform

SENSARS NEUROPROSTHETICS (Medtech): neuroprosthetic device allowing amputees to feel again from missing limbs

Each project will receive €50’000 to finance a feasibility study for innovative products that can disrupt the market. Companies also receive business support services and up to three days of free business coaching.

These companies were selected for a Phase 1 project and may in future apply for a Phase 2 financing scheme, allowing to benefit from a further financing - up to €2.5M - for activities focusing on bringing innovative ideas (product, process, service etc.) to industrial readiness and maturity for market introduction, focusing on demonstration, testing, prototyping, piloting, scaling-up, miniaturization, design, market replication and the like.

SCIPROM will be pleased to support Swiss SMEs in the preparation of proposals for the SME instrument, together with our business partner Inspiralia, a Spanish company which has long-term experience in the SME instrument and supported DEPsys in their SME instrument proposal prepation. 
Source: http://www.startupticker.ch



Largest ever shared data repository for researchers

World-leading research institutes have agreed to join forces with funding agencies and policy makers to create the European Open Science Cloud, the largest shared data repository in history.

The idea is to give every scientific user access to the data resulting from research carried out with public funding, using a single login.

Vice-versa, this shared repository will provide researchers involved in publically funded research projects with a suitable data base to share their research data as required by the funding agencies.

Source: Horizon, the EU Research and Innovation Magazine - EC DG RTDi

SME Instrument increases a company's innovation capacity

The European Commission (EC) published the ‘Accelerating innovation in Europe: Horizon 2020 SME Instrument Impact’ report.

According to the report, participating in the Horizon 2020 SME Instrument leads to a growth of the innovation capacity of companies and attracts investment. Regarding attracting private investment, companies that benefited from the SME Instrument manage to obtain their next investment 18 months faster than non-SME Instrument beneficiaries do. The SME Instrument support already resulted in two stock market launches and several prizes. Unfortunately, due to the Swiss former partial association in Horizon 2020, the report does not make mention of Swiss companies participating in and benefiting from the SME Instrument.

The SME Instrument funded 2'457 companies and attracts small companies of all sizes, ages, profiles and sectors. It attracts both young, market challenging start-ups aiming for fast scale-up as well as family businesses existing since many years, where the new generation of owners bet on innovation to remain competitive. In addition, university spin-offs use the SME Instrument, especially Phase 1, to test the market feasibility of their technologies. SMEs from Spain and Italy account for one third of both applicants and funded companies. Together with the UK, these three countries represent almost half (47%) of all funded SMEs. However, the highest success rates are achieved in Iceland (20%), Austria (13%), Denmark (13%), Ireland (13%) and Sweden (12%). Moreover, there is a strong correlation between geographical distribution and innovation hubs across Europe: The SME Instrument's geographical distribution matches the main innovation hubs in Europe, including London, Berlin, Dublin, Paris, Amsterdam and Munich. These hubs bring together innovative companies, like accelerators, incubators and co-working spaces, investors and highly skilled individuals, but also friendly tax regimes and requirements for setting up a business.

In the first three years, more than 31'000 applications were handed in and approximately 2'500 companies received funding. Until 2020, the EC will invest three billion Euros in companies. The SME Instrument itself will be revamped in the Horizon 2020 work programme 2018-2020, making it fully bottom-up, focusing on breakthrough innovations, thus attempting to attract more young, market challenging start-ups aiming for fast scale-up.

Sources: Swisscore, EC

H2020 interim evaluation

Halfway down the Horizon 2020 road, the European Commission (EC) has taken stock of the implementation of Horizon 2020 so far. The EC published the Staff Working Document (SWD) on the interim evaluation of Horizon 2020 and aims to make adjustments in such a way that it will contribute to improving the implementation of Horizon 2020 in its last Work Programme 2018-2020.

Areas which have been indentified where Horizon 2020 and its successor would need to increase their efforts include:
  
- Underfunding, which has led to massive oversubscription across the board in the whole of Horizon 2020. In addition, it resulted in an enormous waste of resources for applicants and of good proposals for Europe. 
- Better support for breakthrough, market-creating innovation is needed. To this aim, a European Innovation Council (EIC) shall be created in the next Framework Programme.

- Greater outreach to civil society in terms of better explaining results and impacts, but also in involving them better in the programme co-design (agenda-setting) and its implementation (co-creation).

More information can be found on the Swisscore website and the European Commission's news ticker. 

Source: Swisscore, EC

Future IMI topics

We are pleased to inform you about the future IMI topics as just received from the IMI Office.

These topics are:

  • Development and validation of technology enabled, quantitative and sensitive measures of functional decline in people with early stage Alzheimer’s disease (RADAR-AD) 
  • Fairification of IMI and EFPIA data 
  • Development of sensitive and validated clinical endpoints in primary Sjögren’s syndrome (PSS) 
  • European screening centre: unique library for attractive biology 
  • Exploitation of IMI project results  (updated version of February 2017)

Recommendations for future FET-Flagships

The European Commission (EC) published the interim evaluation report of the Future & Emerging Technologies (FET) Flagships.

The objective was to evaluate the strategic relevance of the instrument and to provide recommendations based on the lessons learned so far from their implementation (Human Brain Project and Graphene). Overall, the evaluation stresses that FET-Flagships are relevant as part of the European Research Area: “they are raising the profile of Europe’s leading edge research, while also moving towards innovation outcomes in the longer term.

The first recommendation of the report is to continue with the FET-Flagships instrument, as it represents good value for money in terms of the quality of the research and its potential for innovation. 

The other seven recommendations are the following:
  • increase clarity of purpose and differentiation between the Flagships and other research instruments;
  • establish a standard means of assessing the Flagships based on Key Performance Indicators that fully reflect purpose;
  • improve operational management to enhance the budget flexibility and reduce administrative overhead;
  • improve strategic management to enhance openness of the Flagships towards adopting new directions;
  • improve coherence with other Horizon 2020 activities;
  • improve the process of selecting Flagships;
  • improve engagement with national initiatives. 
This report will feed into the interim evaluation of Horizon 2020 and will serve as a basis to improve future FET-Flagships, like the Quantum Technology one that is currently being set-up. One to two other FET-Flagships should also see the light in the areas of 'ICT for connected society', 'health and life science' and/or 'environment, climate and energy'.

Source: Swisscore

Swiss researchers can now also fully participate in the IMI programme

Swiss researchers and organisations can now fully participate in the whole Horizon 2020 programme, including IMI, on equal terms with entities from EU Member States and other associated countries.

Switzerland became fully associated to Horizon 2020 on 1 January 2017 following the country’s ratification, on 16 December 2016, of the Protocol extending the EU-Switzerland Free Movement of Persons agreement to Croatia. From December 2014 to December 2016, Swiss scientists could only receive funding under parts of Horizon 2020 (not including IMI).

‘Switzerland has now fulfilled the EU's condition on free movement of people and can be fully associated to Horizon 2020,’ said Carlos Moedas, EU Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation. ‘This is good news for Switzerland, and good news for the EU. It will further strengthen our scientific communities and our very substantial cooperation in research and innovation.’

The Swiss have already nominated an IMI States Representatives Group (SRG) member – Isabella Beretta. Among other things, SRG members can provide advice to local researchers on applying for IMI funding and help them to find partners.

For more information, please refer to the EC's fact sheet. 

Sources: Euresearch, SERI

Updated Information on Submission of Horizon 2020 Proposals

The Swiss State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) provides an updated factsheet on the participation in Horizon 2020 by Swiss research entities.

Since 01 January 2017, Switzerland is fully associated to the entire Horizon 2020 programme. In accordance with the latest information published by the European Commission, researchers in Switzerland must prepare and submit their project proposals for all calls as participants from associated countries using the ‘Participant Portal’ for Horizon 2020.

For more information on the participation of Swiss research entities in Horizon 2020 please see the updated factsheet by SERI.

For frequently asked questions (FAQ) to the new status of Switzerland as associated country in Horizon 2020 please visit the Euresearch Website.

Source: Euresearch

IMI2 Call 10 open now

IMI2 has launched its 10th Call for proposals under the IMI2 programme, with 8 topics:

Topic 1: Understanding hypoglycaemia: the underlying mechanisms and addressing clinical determinants as well as consequences for people with diabetes by combining databases from clinical trials

Topic 2: How big data could support better diagnosis and treatment outcomes for prostate cancer (part of the Big Data for Better Outcomes programme)

Topic 3: Improving the care of patients suffering from acute or chronic pain (this topic includes three subtopics on patient reported outcomes; biomarkers; and chronic pelvic pain)

Topic 4: Creation of a pan-European paediatric clinical trials network

Topic 5: Biomanufacturing 2020: development of innovative high throughput analytical tools and methods to characterize cell culture fluid during development and commercial cell culture processes

Topic 6: Unlocking the solute carrier gene-family for effective new therapies (unlock SLCs)

Topic 7: Patient perspectives in medicines lifecycle

Topic 8: Personalised medicine approaches in autism spectrum disorders

The deadline for short proposals is 28 March 2017. Details of all topics and information on how to apply can be found on the IMI website..
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