12 Jul 2017
Collaboration for effective H2020 bids

Horizon 2020 (H2020) is the major funding opportunity for innovation in Europe but how can cities win the fierce competition for funding?

In an environment where only excellent proposals get funded, Chair, Michael Nolan, facilitating the recent Cities Programme and RMIT Europe – H2020 effective bids webinar – highlighted the importance of cities engaging in collaborative projects to achieve successful funding.

“Most EU funded projects are collaborative projects that see organisations from different member states and associated countries collaborating on research and innovation projects”.

Discussing strategies to develop effective proposals for H2020 bids webinar panelist Mike Barker, European Projects Consultant at RMIT Europe, assured webinar participants that despite the fierce competition there are opportunities to access H2020.

“If you are seriously committed to sustainable development and innovation then there are opportunities for you in H2020”.

The example of one of those opportunities turned into a successful funding win is the URBAN GreenUP project funded under the H2020 called ‘Demonstrating innovative nature-based solutions in cities’.

“In 2016, we secured RMIT Vietnam as a partner in the €13.4 million URBAN GreenUP project that examines the way innovative nature-based solutions can be deployed in cities,” explained panellist Dr Sergio Tirado, Research Associate at RMIT Europe.

The 28-partner initiative includes universities, business, government and civil society.

Taking great ideas like URBAN GreenUp from the lab to the market is Horizon 2020’s goal.

This high impact investment in research is the largest EU Research and Innovation programme with nearly €80 billion of funding available over 7 years (2014 to 2020), supplemented with private sector co-contributions.

Outlining opportunities for cities to deliver innovative projects through H2020 to the webinar’s cross-sector range of participants from local government, private sector, academia and civil society, Dr Tirado emphasized the important role cities play in H2020.

“Cities are an asset: priority partners as clients, final users of solutions implemented or for intervention co-funding purposes.”

And the programme also offers benefits to cities says Dr Tirado.

“The Programme opens the opportunity for collaborating with other global cities and industry and academic partners.”

“It helps build knowledge about EU research and innovation funding and makes cities more capable and visible for future applications.”

Providing practical advice and insight into developing bids to Horizon 2020 at the webinar were also RMIT panellists Hartmut Fünfgeld and Marta Fernández.

Prof Hartmut Fünfgeld, Associate Professor in Sustainability and Urban Planning and a researcher in the Centre for Urban Research at RMIT University, emphasized the benefits of working on large collaborative projects.

“Access to (potentially large) pots of external funding; facilitated involvement in internationally leading R&D – recognition, reputational gains; resourcing burden shared across many partners; expanding professional networks on an international scale and advocacy for policy agendas at an international scale,” he said.

Amongst the innovative projects discussed at the webinar were some in the programme’s 4 focus areas for 2018-20.

Building a low-carbon, climate resilient future; connecting economic and environmental gains – the circular economy; digitalising and transforming European industry and services; and boosting the effectiveness of the security Union are the 4 focus areas for the 2018-20 stream.

Collaborative research & innovation projects in those areas are not only welcomed but decisive to the success of H2020, as the financial instrument implementing the Innovation Union – a Europe 2020 flagship initiative aimed at securing Europe’s global competitiveness, driving economic growth and creating jobs.

Watch the webinar – Developing effective Horizon 2020 bids

For more information on the H2020 programme visit Horizon 2020 – The EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation