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Mobilising Research Excellence in EU Outermost Regions (OR)

Proposals should aim to support the OR in preparing their research and innovation actors to participate in the Research Framework Programmes through:

  • a mapping of their research and innovation fields of expertise including complementarities with their neighbouring countries' and regions expertise and capacities;

  • a mapping of potential partners in the EU and third countries, in particular those in proximity with OR;

  • an inventory of their needs to increase their research and innovation capacity;

  • an identification of the means to maintain and attract researchers in the OR and to foster the OR R&I ecosystems, as and further development of their smart specialisation strategies.

    The above information could also be used to define OR's friendly topics in the future Framework Programme.

    Proposals are also expected to include:

  • organisation of events with potential identified partners;

  • workshops and networking of research and business innovation partners in view of forming consortia for project proposals;

  • awareness raising actions targeting the EU and international research community on the OR expertise and capacities.

The Commission considers that a proven track record of on-the-field experience in OR R&I systems will be an asset and contribute positively to the impact of the project.

The duration of the project should be up to three years.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution up to EUR four million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately.

The EU currently has nine Outermost Regions (ORs), which are an integral part of its territory: Guadeloupe, French Guiana, Martinique, Saint Martin, Réunion, Mayotte (France); the Canary Islands (Spain); and the Azores and Madeira (Portugal). Article 349 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) recognises that the Outermost Regions differ from the rest of the EU in a number of ways that constrain their economic and social development: their remoteness, their insularity, their small size, their adverse topographical and climatic conditions and their dependence on a limited number of local industries. Under European law this Article allows the adoption of specific measures appropriate for the real situations of the ORs. As well as specific constraints, the ORs also have unique potential and assets which can benefit the Union. They provide a European presence in strategic areas of the world, and have exceptional geographical and geological characteristics which make them useful laboratories for research and innovation in scientific domains relevant of the future such as biodiversity, terrestrial and marine ecosystems, pharmacology, renewable energies, and the space sciences.

However, participation in Horizon 2020 is inhibited by the fragmentation of the research community in the OR due to the geographic isolation but also lack of commitment of research institutions and missing connectivity with excellent partners in Europe and internationally beyond the traditional links with the European mainland of the same country. Therefore, the potential for excellent research activities based on the above described assets remains largely unexploited. ORs of different countries face similar problems and assets but do not co-operate sufficiently among each other and with European and international partners. Geographical remoteness is an obstacle for visibility and integration into the global and international research communities. In particular improved linkages with neighbouring international co-operation partners outside the EU would facilitate the international dimension of Horizon 2020 in line with the 'Open to the World' strategic goal.

- Increasing the participation of the outermost regions (OR) in the Framework Programmes.

- Reinforce the visibility and recognition of the OR research and innovation expertise and capacities.

- Set up of consortia to prepare research proposals, including European and/or third country researchers.

- Facilitate the identification of future research issues and challenges/missions that are relevant for the needs and innovation potentials of OR and their smart specialisation priorities

- Develop concepts for considering ORs specificities in the future Framework Programme, in line with Article 349 TFEU.

- Strengthened links with European and international research centres.

- Improvement of research capacities in the OR and their participation in research projects.

- Emergence of sustainable R&I ecosystems in the OR.

- In order to ensure maximum impact of the initiative, participants are expected to build on their a proven track record of on-the-field experience in OR R&Is systems