Successful applicants under topic WIDESPREAD-1-2014: Teaming, of the call H2020-WIDESPREAD-2014 have received a grant to produce an extensive, detailed and robust Business Plan within a timeframe of 12 months for the setting-up/upgrading of a Centre of Excellence. This Business Plan is expected to be submitted in form of a proposal for Teaming Phase 2, as explained in detail further below.
This proposal (Business Plan) should demonstrate the potential of the future Centre to develop new (or connect effectively with existing) regional cluster formation and the prospects of the hosting country/region to provide an innovation friendly environment. The proposal has to include a letter of commitment (a template will be provided by the Commission in due time) from the interested national/regional authorities or other private sources to commit financial resources (e.g. resources coming from the European Structural and Investment Funds or Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA II) funds as appropriate) for implementing the future Centre, in particular regarding investment in infrastructure and equipment. A properly functioning service-oriented administration that is able to provide the human resources needed to absorb the research and innovation potential of the new/upgraded Centre should be demonstrated.
The proposal (Business Plan) should:
- Illustrate the scientific and innovation potential of the future Centre of Excellence
- Demonstrate the growth potential of the Centre of Excellence for the benefit of the country or region
- Elaborate on the structure of the partnership and on the strong engagement of the partners
- Demonstrate how the newly established/upgraded Centre will have full autonomy in decision making
- Elaborate on the steps that will be taken towards eventual long term self-sustainability
Procedure for Teaming Phase 2: In the context of the Framework Partnership Agreements awarded under topic WIDESPREAD-1-2014: Teaming, of the call H2020-WIDESPREAD-2014, a Specific Grant Agreement (SGA) will be awarded on the basis of a call for proposals open to all the above mentioned grant holder consortia for which this type of activity is already included in the FPA action plan (in accordance with the procedure established in art. 2.2 of the FPA).
Applicants to the Teaming Phase 2 call for proposals are invited to submit as a proposal, the Business Plan produced as main deliverable of the grant awarded under topic WIDESPREAD-1-2014: Teaming, of the call H2020-WIDESPREAD-2014.
Following the evaluation of the submitted Teaming Phase 2 proposals, the Commission will enter into a Specific Grant Agreement with the highest ranked proposals to provide substantial support for the start-up and implementation phase of the future Centre. This will cover mainly administrative and operational costs as well as personnel costs of the future Centre of Excellence. While the action does not focus on equipment and consumables, these could be accepted if they constitute only a minor part of the total Horizon 2020 funding requested and may be deemed necessary to fulfil the action's specific scope and objective.
For grants awarded under this topic the following cost categories will be ineligible costs:
- infrastructure costs.
The respective option of Article 6.5.C of the Model Grant Agreement will be applied. Such costs are expected to be supported by other types of funding, including where relevant by the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) or the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA II) funds.
The duration of a Teaming Phase 2 project will be between 5 to 7 years.
The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of EUR 15 million, would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting lower amounts.
Despite a recent trend for the research and innovation performance of individual countries in the EU to converge, sharp differences among Member States still remain. These disparities are due to, among other reasons, the insufficient critical mass of science and lack of centres of excellence having sufficient competence to engage countries and regions strategically in a path of innovative growth, building on newly developed capabilities. Moreover, by putting national budgets under constraint, the ongoing financial crisis is threatening to widen gaps. Exploiting the potential of Europe's talent pool by maximising and spreading the benefits of research and innovation across the Union is vital for Europe's competitiveness and its ability to address societal challenges in the future. This could help countries and regions that are lagging behind in terms of research and innovation performance to attain a competitive position in the global value chains.
Teaming will address this challenge by supporting the creation of new centres of excellence or upgrading the existing ones in low R&I performing countries, building on partnerships between leading scientific institutions and partner institutions in low R&I performing countries, that display the willingness to engage together on this purpose.
The creation of new (or significant upgrades of existing) Centres of Excellence in ""Widening"" Countries through the Teaming partnerships is expected to:
- Increase their scientific capabilities and enable them to engage in a strategic growth path pointing to long-term opportunities for economic development. Potential links to innovative clusters would be an asset.
- Through improved scientific capabilities allow these countries to improve their chances to seek competitive funding in international fora (including the EU Framework Programmes).
- Over the medium to long term achieve a measurable and significant improvement in the research and innovation culture (as shown through indicators such as research intensity, innovation performance, values and attitudes towards research and innovation) of those countries.
The potential impact of the new/upgraded Centre of Excellence in terms of sustained excellence should be reinforced through projected measurable key performance and output related indicators.
Benefits will also accrue to the institutions from the more intensive research and innovation performers, in terms of access to new research avenues, creativity and the development of new approaches, as well as a source for increased mobility (inwards and outwards) of qualified scientists.