Horizon 2020: Big Science

With 70 billion Euros worth of grants, Horizon 2020 is the largest research programme in the world. UiB hopes to collect a sizeable part of the funds to be allocated.

Logo of Horizon 2020, the new EU research funding programme
RESEARCH WRIT LARGE: At 70 billion Euro worth of funding, Horizon 2020 is the world’s largest research programme.

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“Make use of Horizon 2020 to achieve your research ambitions,” says Rector Dag Rune Olsen at the University of Bergen (UiB) about the hard work ahead to achieve funding for ambitious research projects.

In 2014, the New EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation, Horizon 2020, is to begin. The programme aims for European researchers to innovate when creating better solutions for our shared challenges for the future.

On 27 November 2013, the Research Council of Norway hosts a meeting in Bergen about Horizon 2020.

Billions of Euros available

Horizon 2020 replaces the EU’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7), which has supported many UiB initiated programmes, including seven ERC Advanced Grants. Between 2007 and 2011, around 110 UiB projects received research grants according to the Division of Research Management. Funds of roughly NOK 3 billion have been allotted to UiB research projects, of which UiB has put in a share of around NOK 450 million.

In the 2014 to 2020 period, Horizon 2020 has a total budget of around 70 billion Euros, which is a large increase compared to FP7.

For UiB the goal is for more projects to be supported via Horizon 2020 than through FP7.

“For UiB there is much to be gained from Horizon 2020. It would enable us to enhance quality research, in particular cross-disciplinary research,” Rector Olsen believes.

Programme suits UiB perfectly

A solid application process is the key to success. Hence the university has established a group of experienced application writers and budget and law experts, who will assist novices in the field of research grant application.

Rector Olsen points out that Horizon 2020 primarily addresses major global challenges, something he believes necessitates an interdisciplinary approach.

“This is all about motivating people,” he says about getting researchers involved in the application process. But doesn’t believe this will be hard. “The objectives set out in Horizon 2020 suit UiB well. We are good at interdisciplinary research and excel in central fields of research. Marine research, welfare research and climate and energy research are some of the topics where UiB excel.”

Horizon 2020 has three priorities: excellent science, societal changes and industrial leadership.

UiB’s future ambitions

Rector Olsen believes many researchers at the university will apply for funding.

“Some may think that basic research is of little help when solving social issues. Those who do, need to think twice. A good project consists of different partners who each can address specific areas that compliment each other,” he says.

He also believes that FP7, which now will end, has helped UiB to achieve several goals. Not the least by the university gaining a wider European network.

“This time around we should state our ambition to boost our share of the EU’s research funds considerably,” Rector Dag Rune Olsen says.

(Translation: Sverre Ole Drønen.)