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Key takeaways from Science Business Annual Conference

The well-attended annual Science Business conference which took place on the February the 5th Brussels, in partnership with ZABALA, provided new insights into the state of Research and Innovation funding in Europe, here are some of the most important:

Horizon Europe to have ‘flexible’ deals for foreign research partners 

Jean-Eric Paquet, Director-General, DG Research and Innovation at the European Commission stated that Horizon Europe – the next research and innovation programme, will offer “more flexible” entry terms for foreign countries, and added that he expects interest from 20-30 countries for associate membership in next research programme. Successive EU R&D programmes have welcomed outside participation, but the offer of association membership to Horizon Europe, a status that allows countries to participate in EU research under the same conditions as member states, will be much wider than in the past, said Jean-Eric Paquet.

Horizon Europe for non-EU members?

Many non-eu countries: Canada, Israel, Norway, Switzerland, South Africa and others all express strong interest in continuing collaboration in Horizon Europe. Negotiating positions are now starting to be formed as a range of countries start considering whether and how to join the €94.1 billion Horizon Europe initiative. However, formal talks have yet to begin – in fact, the only official move so far has been a November lunch between EU Research Commissioner Carlos Moedas and eight ambassadors. But from 2021, Horizon Europe opens up the possibility for more countries beyond Europe to gain associate membership, a legal status that allows countries to participate in EU research under the same preferential conditions as member states.

What about the UK and Brexit?

At moment the UK participation remains fully in H2020. Pending agreement on a potential deal, UK is expected to be associated according to the provision to Horizon Europe.

EU could promote more mobility between industry and academia

There are existing models of fruitful partnerships on which Horizon Europe can draw to increase talent mobility. TU Berlin, for example, has a joint programme with industry focusing on young women who come from corporate jobs to the university for two years, to further their careers. “It’s a very successful programme,” said Angela Ittel, vice president of strategic development, junior scholars and teacher development at TU Berlin. “We didn’t think it would be, because we didn’t think companies would let talent go, and that people would fit in. But they do.” Companies are becoming more aware of their dependence on fundamental research to provide the feedstock for future products.

Digitisation of production and manufacturing and its effects on labour markets

The advent of machine learning, robotics and artificial intelligence makes production processes increasingly independent from human input. Policy makers and innovation experts don’t know how labour markets will be affected by the digitisation of production and manufacturing, but predict new job-intensive sectors will emerge.

For more details on the conference outcomes check the following links:

Agenda & Video: https://sciencebusiness.net/events/international-rd-horizon-europe-and-world


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