17.02.2021 change 17.02.2021

Horizon Europe means large funds for science and cooperation with leading centres, says expert

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The EU's latest framework programme Horizon Europe launched last month is to receive a budget of €95.5 billion for science and will initiate opportunities for cooperation with leading research centres in Europe.

Dr. Jacek Gajewski from the National Centre for Nuclear Research (NCBJ) said: “It is worth fighting for the funds awarded in the Horizon Europe programme not only because these are large amounts, but also - or perhaps most of all - it is an opportunity to cooperate and establish scientific contacts with researchers from leading centres in Europe.”

The laureate of the Crystal Brussels Sprout awarded for success in the EU research and innovation framework programmes added: “In 90 percent of the grants awarded under the framework programmes, international cooperation of 2-3 foreign partners is a requirement. This is the right direction, because a single research centre has little chance of achieving scientifically significant results.

Poland has a chance to obtain funds in Horizon Europe in three areas: biotechnology, materials research and quantum digital technologies. In the latter area, Dr. Gajewski says that Poland has great theoretical merits and several very good teams that work on the issue.

He added that under this framework programme, Polish scientists will obtain more funds for research than in the previous one, not only because there will be more money to be shared.

He said: “Researchers have gained the necessary experience, and research institutes have established teams and appropriate procedures for acquiring funds.

"Participation in financial projects under the framework programmes is attractive not only in terms of content, but also financially. In addition, securing grants is taken into account when assigning categories to institutes, which translates into funds allocated from the state budget for their activities.”

Polish researchers have already received a number of prestigious grants from the European Research Council (ERC) or TEAMING and, as a result, they are becoming more recognizable in Europe. 

But he said that whereas many western scientists use the services of international technology platforms, “unfortunately, we do not have many companies in Poland that effectively support writing research grants.

“Few Polish institutions use their services, because they are paid services. But it is worth it, because half of the ideas prepared this way ultimately receive EU funding.”

In addition to suggesting the Ministry of Education and Science should support the participation of Polish researchers in such platforms, he added that a more long-term approach to obtaining grants by Polish researchers is gradually seeng Polish experts appointed to councils and advisory bodies within the EU structures. 

He said: “The point is to act one step earlier: not only apply to programmes that someone has formulated, but also shape them to match Polish priorities."

Horizon Europe funds are divided across three pillars: Excellent Science, Global Challenges and European Industrial Competitiveness, Innovative Europe. Regardless of these broad priority areas, funds have been allocated to research of utmost urgency and importance. These are: adaptation to climate change including societal transformation; cancer; healthy oceans, seas, coastal and inland waters; climate-neutral and smart cities; soil health and food.

The EU framework programmes have been running for 36 years. Their aim is to finance research and innovation to solve key problems important from the point of view of politics, economy and European society.

PAP - Science in Poland, Szymon Zdziebłowski

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