Research beyond borders


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Information day on research infrastructures – 18th June

Horizon 2020 'logo'

 

The UK are running an Event  on 18th June in London, to promote European Commission funding opportunities via the Research Infrastructure Programme.

Research Infrastructures are defined by the programme as follows:

“Research infrastructures are facilities, resources and services that are used by the research communities to conduct research and foster innovation in their fields. Where relevant, they may be used beyond research, e.g. for education or public services. They include: major scientific equipment (or sets of instruments); knowledge-based resources such as collections, archives or scientific data; e-infrastructures, such as data and computing systems and communication networks; and any other infrastructure of a unique nature essential to achieve excellence in research and innovation. Such infrastructures may be ‘single-sited’, ‘virtual’ or distributed’. “

The Programme aims to support infrastructures across all disciplines and there are opportunities for Arts and Humanities Researchers in the work programme (see below).  The event has a specific session on Social Sciences and Humanities.

The event is being run by the National Contact Point (NCP) for Research Infrastructures, for those that are interested but can’t attend the NCP provide on-going support and you can contact them directly.

Further information on the event and the full work programme can be found on the Horizon 2020 website.

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Social Sciences and Humanities – Starting Communities

Generations and gender: a cross-national longitudinal data infrastructure for research on social cohesion and social inclusion and for the study of inter-generational relations in an ageing society. This activity aims at coordinating and integrating national research infrastructures built on longitudinal survey data by implementing common collection procedures and standards, harmonising micro- and macro-level information, and stimulating optimal use of these sources by researchers in demography, sociology, economics and other social sciences.

Research infrastructures for studying the role of intangible investment for economic growth and for the study of cultural, historical and institutional innovation processes. This activity aims at bringing together research infrastructures in order to sustain and further develop the empirical analytical framework that includes intangible capital in sources-of-economic-growth analysis. It also aims at bringing together research infrastructures for the study of cultural, historical, and institutional innovation processes.

Social Sciences and Humanities – Advanced Communities

Contemporary European history: European Holocaust research infrastructure. This activity aims at building upon existing research infrastructures and expanding them to include new material and new techniques in order to open distributed access of researchers to scattered material.

European research infrastructures for restoration and conservation of cultural heritage. This activity aims at bringing together facilities, located in research centres, universities and important culture institutions of different countries, for advanced diagnostics as well as the restoration and conservation of cultural heritage overcoming fragmentation, rationalising resources and advancing the international role of European cultural heritage research.


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Humanities Opportunities in Horizon 2020

opportunityWhilst Challenge 6 ‘Europe in a Changing World’ is seen to be the most obvious place to look for thematic  Arts and Humanities Research funding opportunities,  the aim of embedding Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH) has resulted in other opportunities across the societal challenges and industrial leadership pillar.

Net4 society has published an analysis of these opportunities ‘Opportunities for Researchers from the Socio-economic Sciences and Humanities’ which lists these all.

Most of the work programmes now cover 2 years (with a caveat that the topics with a 2015 closing date may be amended).  A couple of things to note about the Net4Society document is that it currently  only covers the detail of 2014 calls (those with a closing date in 2014). The document just lists 2015 calls by title in the text and it is quite easy to miss potential 2015 calls of interest.  There is a heading ‘Topics with SSH relevance in 2015’ in every section and you can click on this to quickly review the headings. Clicking on the links will take you directly to that call on the European Commission website. The European Commission has included ‘SSH’ as a search criteria for all funding calls, but to note this isn’t infallible. For example 3d Modelling for Cultural Heritage is not currently flagged as SSH. You can also access the full Work Programmes on the Commission website if you want more a complete overview.

It is important to note that there is a difference in how these calls are now framed. They have moved away from the very prescriptive text and methods and left if broader to allow ‘bottom up’ suggestions from researchers.  With the caveat that these calls will be very competitive so any proposal needs to meet the call text, it does mean that there are opportunities for humanities dimensions to be incorporated into research proposals.

Some potential calls to highlight

  • Several topics under challenge 1: Health, demographic Change and Wellbeing contain references to behavioural, ethical, legal, regulatory and social implications aswell as equity and quality of life, cultural factors
  • Challenge 7 – Secure societies contains a topic on Better understanding of the links between culture, risk perception and disaster management. Other topics want expertise covering, architecture, anthropology, arts, law and linguistics
  • ICT – there are several topics under ICT to highlight: ‘Cracking the Language Barrier’, ‘Advanced Digital Gaming/gamification technologies’ and ‘human centric digital age’

If you want to find partners the National Contact Points (NCPs) can help.  Net4Society covers how partner searching works for challenge 6 and also directs you to the other partner searches . If in doubt contact the National Contact Point for the challenge/area you are interested in. All are listed on the European Commission Participant Portal.


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Horizon 2020 UK Launch Event

Lucy Parnall – European Strategy and Development Manager, AHRC

Last Friday was the UK Launch Event for Horizon2020 – the new programme of European Commission Funding that will run from 2014 – 2020.  The event was very upbeat and positive. Research and innovation is the only area to receive an increase in funding when overall budgets fell, and through some tough negotiations the Commission are proud that the principle of excellence was maintained, significant simplification agreed, and a move to societal challenges achieved.

Robert -Jan Smits, Director General DG Research and Innovation gave an engaging overview of Horizon2020 (click on the picture below to access all the presentations from the launch). Both he and Vicky Ford MEP (in presentations and Q&A) gave some insight into the work that went into agreeing Horizon2020. The commission did consult widely on its development and it’s been years of effort to get to this point, with BIS in the UK doing an excellent job of consulting Research Councils etc to input into this process. 

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The place of Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH) was also discussed, an aim of Horizon 2020 is to embed SSH across all societal challenges, Robert-Jan Smits stated “SSH is crucial” but like national multi and inter disciplinary programmes it’s a challenge to achieve and requires a change in mentality. The Commission will also have to “learn by doing”, so we will have to see how this develops (we will be doing a post on SSH embedding shortly).

Lots of the simplification measures are designed to help SME’s engage with Horizon 2020 funding and this was mentioned frequently. Horizon 2020 is a programme for Research and Innovation, and the latter definitely has more emphasis than in previous Framework programmes. The two presentations by Business both  gave an interesting perspectives and also demonstrated that lots of the principles of international collaborations are cross sectoral – for example picking excellent partners and defining clear roles.  Technology Strategy Board (TSB) are providing a lot of support for SMEs to engage with the new work programmes.

Some issues were discussed, there is significant concern that there will be huge demand for this funding; The Commission want to make sure people are thinking strategically about likely success before submitting. Making sure you fit the call, ensuring excellent collaborators and having a coherent project where all mentioned. The Commission are aiming to publish two year work programmes to give people more time to prepare and consider their collaborations and projects before submitting.   It was also acknowledged that whilst simplification has been achieved, it is still a substantial undertaking – as ever these things are always a balance and the European Commission needs to ensure public money is funding the best projects possible.

The event created a positive feeling of international collaboration – many speakers acknowledged that the value and benefit of the funding isn’t the money, but the networks you establish and the new knowledge you create as a result.  All the presentations were very interesting and are available at the UK Horizon 2020 website (click the picture above to access).


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Horizon 2020 has landed – the new world of European Commission Funding

Horizon 2020 'logo' Horizon 2020 was launched late last year and covers the next 7 years of European Commission Funding (2014-2020).   We will be covering some of the opportunities for Arts and Humanities Researchers over the next couple of weeks and the support available.

The first funding opportunities were published in December. As a starting point, for thematic funding there are some interesting opportunities in Societal Challenge 6 ‘Europe in a Changing World – Inclusive, Innovative and Reflective Societies’. Topics we have identified with substantial humanities research potential are:

Emmergence and transmission of European Cultural heritage and Europeanisation

The cultural heritage of war in contemporary Europe

Cultural opposition in the former socialist countries

European cohesion, regional and urban policies and the perceptions of Europe

Advanced 3D modeeling for accessing and understanding European cultural assets

If you want to know more about any of the topics above you can contact the UK National Contact Point Laura Mora Diaz. Laura is based at ESRC but covers the whole remit of Challenge 6. She is setting up an email list for anyone who wants to receive updates about Challenge 6 and other social science and humanities opportunities so please email her directly if you would like to be added.  There are also several events covering challenge 6 and other aspects of Horizon 2020. The next one is 7th February in Cardiff.

Please note that topics, dates and budgets related to 2015 deadlines are provided on an indicative basis only at this stage. The Commission aim is to publish the updated 2015 Work Programme in July 2014.