Towards Horizon Europe: University-industry collaborations on research and innovation

Gabriella Lovasz
Europa Media Trainings Ltd

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Albeit a rapid increase in the number of Universities-Industry Collaborations (UICs) has been documented across EU countries (Cunningham & Link 2014; González-López et al. 2014; Ankrah & Al-Tabbaa, 2015), the majority of academics and businesses have not engaged in UICs yet, or so do only to a certain extent (The state of UBC in Europe 2018). Collaboration remains mostly confined to R&D and student mobility, whereas valorisation of management activities is largely under-exploited (Ibid). Quite often, the UIC is not systemic, and it is more common across scientific disciplines (e.g. engineering, science and technology, chemistry, biology) than human sciences (OECD, 2017). Both universities and industries agree that the lack of available funding opportunities acts as a crucial factor hindering further university-industry collaborations (The State of UBC in Europe 2018; Ankrah & Al-Tabbaa, 2015).

EU institutions are one of the leading actors engaged in fostering mission driven UICs on R&I across the Member States. Horizon 2020, also considered to be the most ambitious programme on R&I, has already contributed to strengthening the cooperation between academic and industrial partners (e.g. by means of collaborative projects, Fast Track to Innovation, COSME). Beyond financial support, benefits include: embedding ethical considerations into business, a better fit between research outcomes and market opportunities, societal impact, upgrade of universities’ skills agenda to most recent market trends, higher competitiveness of businesses, cross-country and cross-stakeholder cooperation.

Horizon 2020 will soon be replaced by Horizon Europe (2021-2027), offering a priceless chance to get ready on the opportunities which will drive your next UICs on R&I. Based on these considerations, this workshop aims at supporting participants to:
• Identify EU funding opportunities that are suitable to finance mission driven UICs on R&I;
• Equip participants with first-hand and practical knowledge on how to successfully manage the proposal development and project management phases;
• Incentivize participants to set their own Horizon Europe strategy and collaborations (UICs or others).

Target group (else referred as ‘participants’): Universities, research centres, corporates, SMEs, startups, scale up, entrepreneurs.

The workshop will consist of two consecutive sessions which will help participants to move towards Horizon Europe: the structure, driving concepts and tools, a checklist for proposal preparation and successful project management.

MODULE 1: “UIC in Horizon Europe - news” (30 min): The first session is aimed at presenting the novelties which will be introduced with Horizon Europe and its brand-new structure. Strong emphasis will be put on the new funding schemes supporting UICs, namely, the EIC Accelerator and Pathfinder, the clusters and missions, but we also will investigate InvestEU and the Digital Europe Programme. Similarly, participants will become more familiar with concepts such as Open Innovation, Open Science, Open to the World, European Innovation Ecosystems, which are the building blocks of the new R&I framework programme.

MODULE 2: “Checklist for your next Horizon Europe project!” (60 min): Theoretical insights will be translated into a 1-hour practical session. Participants will receive answers on the following questions:
• How to write HEU proposals differently? - From idea to the proposal
• How to prepare the administration and management for Horizon Europe?
The overall approach of the workshop is based on a “learning-by-doing” methodology, which entails a hands-on workshop and the use of real-life examples. Participants will be divided into heterogeneous groups simulating actual inter-sectoral collaboration and work together on an EC public call by applying the Horizon Europe rationale. The same groups developing project proposals will subsequently confront real implementation challenges related to university-industry collaboration: budget negotiations, IPR conflict, open access discussions, etc.
The delivery of Horizon Europe up-to-date specifics will help participants to align their strategy and prepare their UICs in line with EU priorities and funding instruments. Additionally, the provision of first-hand and practical knowledge on project management and proposal development will help participants to increase their success rate.