Brexit has thrown up many questions, not least of which is the current and future status of Horizon 2020 and other EU research funding.
The European office of the UK Research Councils – UKRO is seeking guidance and we will provide information when it’s available. A statement from Jo Johnson, Minister of State for Universities and Science, is available on the UK Government website.
The UK Photonics Leadership group have also recently published an article on the future of EU photonics funding, which includes a summary of the Swiss mechanism for engaging in Horizon 2020. For the time being, it should be noted that, although the UK has voted to leave the EU, this process will take some time and the UK will still be able to compete for Horizon 2020 funding. On that basis the Scottish Funding Council PEER fund is still available to SUPA academics to support the development of Horizon 2020 proposals. The fund, known as PEER, can be used to support travel for networking events or pre-proposal consortium meetings, as well as the use of specialist consultants to help with proposal writing. The aim is to encourage Scottish SME participation in Horizon 2020 through collaboration with universities.
To date, we have made 37 PEER awards, 7 for consultancy and 30 for travel. A number of funded projects have resulted from this support, the total value of which is around four million Euros, bringing around one million pounds into Scotland (one third to universities and two thirds to Scottish SMEs). The PEER funding is still available, so we’re very keen to hear from academics or companies interesting in applying for Horizon 2020 projects.
Two upcoming calls of relevance to SUPA are the 2017 Photonics Call (opens December) and the cross-cutting call for point of care diagnostics (opens September). A more detailed list of Horizon 2020 calls of relevance to SUPA is available on SUPA’s website. We’re also keen to support strategic engagement with Horizon 2020. For example, in March SUPA provided funding for a number of academics to travel to the Photonics 21 annual meeting and take part in the development of photonics calls for the 18/19 programme. This was part of an effort led by the UK Photonics Leadership Group (PLG) to grow UK participation in the photonics programme and ensure that UK academics and companies were represented in all seven Photonics 21 work groups. The PLG’s combined notes for the Photonics 21 meeting can be found at the dropbox folder linked below.
SUPA is also open to other uses of PEER funding, maintaining and building relationships with European researchers and industry will be particularly important going forward so please contact us if you have ideas.