CORDIS - EU research results

INCONTACT: Supporting the International Dimension of Horizon 2020

Final Report Summary - INCONTACT 2020 (INCONTACT: Supporting the International Dimension of Horizon 2020)

Executive Summary:
Taking into consideration the needs of an interconnected world, the European Union has invested in the development of the International Scientific Cooperation (INCO) program, over the last 25 years, in order to address both the needs and the opportunities, as well as to contribute to peace and prosperity for European citizens. Within this context, the EU has opened the Framework Program (FP), its main central funding instrument for scientific research, to International Partner Countries. To maximise impact, funding for international research activities is spread throughout the various activities of Horizon 2020, with minor exceptions, while the INCO program is specially designed to support the participation of International Partner Countries. These characteristics make H2020 one of the few tools genuinely supporting international research collaborations, offering a global platform for scientific and research collaboration, and giving the opportunity to researchers around the world to join forces in order to address the common problems facing humanity.
INCONTACT ( is the official project series of the FP7 INCO NCPs and Experts. The project series aims to strengthen the position of European Institutions as important global research partners and Europe as an attractive place for top researchers from all over the World, and concurrently cement international partners’ strong interest to develop mutually-beneficial partnerships with Europe.

INCONTACT 2020, has built upon the acknowledged work of the previous INCONTACT projects, facilitating the transitional period between FP7 and Horizon 2020 by organizing and expanding the established INCO experts network for operation under this new framework.
Its main goals were:
• Promoting the International Dimension of the European Research Policy through Horizon 2020
• Supporting the work of the national experts and of the established NCP networks in International partner countries.

Project Context and Objectives:
INCONTACT 2020 was designed to sustain the added value of the previous INCONTACT projects in order to maximize the benefits of this new two-year activity. To this end the project reprised the main activities that have already been proven successful in the previous incarnations of the project:
• The INCO conference series: The flagship events of INCONTACT has been the annual conferences targeted primarily at European and third country international cooperation NCPs and experts, providing an excellent forum for a plethora of activities. The conferences proved to be a great platform for raising awareness on International Cooperation, sharing best practices, interacting with DG RI and, naturally, for networking.
• Centralised Trainings: The provision of centralised trainings on Horizon 2020 to NCPs and other National experts continues in this project, and when possible for other relevant initiatives (e.g. EU AID).
• Horizon 2020 Info days: Although similar activities are also organised through the INCO-NET and BILAT projects, the large number and vast span of third countries clearly indicate a need for more efforts in this respect.
• INCO-Wiki ( The INCO-Wiki has provided over the last 4 years an acknowledged platform for International Collaboration related information. The strength of the wiki tool lies in the facility it offers to its users by building a community which contributes and updates content whenever required.
Since in Horizon 2020 the role of INCO NCPs has been assumed by the H2020 NCP Coordinators (International NCPs), in consultation with the EC, INCONTACT 2020 has concentrated its activities to the support of this new network of international cooperation experts for the remainder of the project. The support shift began during the 5th INCO Conference. All activities of the second year targeted primarily the International NCPs in third countries.

Project Results:
In the second reporting period the project proceeded according to plan for the most part. In the first period a notable deviation was the unforeseen organisation of the International NCP Workshop. The event was held in Brussels at the end of November 2014 at the request of the European Commission. A number of project resources were directed towards its organisation while all planned events were put on hold during its organisation. In the second period a two-day training event was at the request of the European Commission held on 26-27th of November 2015 in Praia, Cape Verde.
Throughout the remaining period, all activities proceeded normally with the successful organisation of the 6th INCO Conference a number of Regional Events and Infodays, and a number of actions for the support of NCPs. It is noted that wherever possible events where organised in collaboration with INCONET or BILAT projects and in counties not covered by such projects.
Specifically, the following Events have been organised according to the project’s plan:
• The 6th INCO Conference in Beijing
• 5 Regional Events (Armenia, Egypt, Ghana, Ethiopia, Russia)
• 2 Infodays (Russia, Cape Verde)

These were added to the already key events organised during the 1st reporting period:
• The 5th INCO Conference in Athens
• 2 Regional Events (Uruguay, Thailand)
• 8 Infodays (Cambodia, Morocco, Samoa, South Africa, Peru, Bolivia, French Polynesia, Egypt)
Additionally INCONTACT 2020 at the request of the European Commission organised an ad hoc event, the International NCP Workshop in Brussels on 26th of November 2014. The one-day event focused on the information of the International NCP from Third Countries about the new Horizon 2020 opportunities.

INCONTACT 2020 also continued with its support activities towards the NCP Networks in Third Countries. These activities have succeeded in increasing the capacity of the NCPs offering them valuable tools, services and training. Specifically:
• The activity for the identification and exchange of best practises with respect to H2020 participation proceeded throughout the reporting period and has been completed.
• A special training session for the International NCPs was organised during the 5th INCO Conference. A second training session was similarly organised during the 6th INCO Conference in Beijing.
• Training material for the EURAXESS Researchers in Motion initiative, PEOPLE Specific Programme and the EuropeAid financial instruments has been prepared and made available to NCPs through the INCO-Wiki.
• As in the previous project, INCONTACT 2020 maintained and made available a dataset for H2020 international cooperation-related calls at the address 81 different calls were entered into the data set during this period. The dataset is featured both at the INCO-Wiki and the websites of various other international cooperation projects.
• A benchmarking tool for NCP activities has been developed. It offers an online benchmarking service offering the NCPs the opportunity to measure their performance against other NCPs. The tool was launched and NCPs from 3rd countries were invited to use it. Although the INCONTACT 2020 has ended, the tool will remain available to the NCPs for the time being.
INCONTACT 2020 has throughout the 2nd reporting period continued with its update of the INCO-Wiki ( Material and information has been re-organised focusing on Horizon 2020 issues. Events and other information relating to international cooperation have continued to be uploaded. The distribution of Newsletters has continued as planned. The 12th INCONTACT Newsletter was sent by PRAXI in September 2014, the 13th in March 2015, the 14th in July 2015 and the 15th and final one was sent in December 2015. At the same time DLR continued with the INCO-Wiki News Alerts.

Potential Impact:
All events are deemed to have succeeded in their goals:
• Through the Infodays, Horizon 2020, the new FP programme has been promoted outside the EU to a wide audience comprised of both researchers and information multipliers. The philosophy of the new programme, its difference from FP7, and the opportunities and benefits from participation were all highlighted during the events.
• A significant step in establishing new and enhancing existing ties with the International NCPs were achieved from the organisation of flagship events such as the 5th and 6th INCO Conferences and the International NCP Workshop. All have raised the awareness of the International NPCs about Horizon 2020 in its entirety and the role they need to play for capitalising of opportunities. NCPs were also given the chance to raise issues about problems for international cooperation within H2020.
• The support towards the existing NCPs in third countries continued with specialised trainings through the Regional Events and INCO Conferences. Participation rules, financial aspects, best practises presentation are just a few of the training schemes employed in regional trainings.
INCONTACT 2020 also continued with its support activities towards the NCP Networks in Third Countries. These activities have succeeded in increasing the capacity of the NCPs offering them valuable tools, services and training.
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