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Connecting Energy National Contact Points in a pro-active network under Societal Challenge 3 'Secure, clean and efficient energy' in Horizon 2020

Periodic Reporting for period 3 - C-ENERGY 2020 (Connecting Energy National Contact Points in a pro-active network under Societal Challenge 3 'Secure, clean and efficient energy' in Horizon 2020)

Reporting period: 2017-12-01 to 2018-11-30

C-Energy 2020 Project aims at the following three specific objectives:

1. Ensuring high quality Energy National Contact Point (NCP) services for Horizon 2020 and related programmes applicants;
2. Lowering entry barriers for Energy NCPs approaching EU Framework Programmes for Research & Innovation (R&I) for the first time;
3. Consolidating the international network of Energy NCPs.

C-Energy 2020 plays a strategic role in the framework of Horizon 2020 implementation. In fact, by targeting the National Contact Points (NCPs) under the Societal Challenge 3 ‘Secure, clean and efficient energy’, it enables them to acquire all the skills and knowledge that are required to provide the best support for Horizon 2020 potential applicants and raise the average quality of proposals submitted under the EU Framework Programme for R&I.. The Project, therefore, permits NCPs to duly perform the mission allocated to them by the European Commission and the R&I national systems, that is so say to provide practical information, personalised assistance and guidance on all aspects of participation in Horizon 2020 in all EU Member States, Countries Associated and many Third Countries.

In addition, C-Energy 2020 plays an important role for collecting feedback on bottlenecks and difficulties in the implementation of Horizon 2020 itself, also in view of shaping the new ninth Framework Programme.

The Energy Societal Challenge in Horizon 2020 is one of the most important in terms of earmarked budget. This reflects the special attention the European Commission attaches to the shift towards an energy secure, competitive, climate resilient and low-carbon economy. This energy transition is underpinned by the EU 2020 and 2030 energy and climate objectives and is part of the longer term EU strategy for the emissions reduction by 2050 (80-95% compared to 1990 levels). The launch of the European Energy Union package in February 2015 confirmed that energy is a top priority for the European Commission that set the ambitious goal for the EU to become 'the world number one in renewable energies'. Within the EU energy policy framework and the path traced by the revised European Strategic Energy Technology Plan (SET-Plan), activities under C-Energy 2020 will play a pivotal role in supporting the mobilisation of Europe's untapped innovation potential and channeling it into Horizon 2020 in order to help generate innovative low-cost and low-carbon energy solutions and assure they may have an impact on the EU citizens' lives.
During the second reporting period C-Energy 2020 Project performed the following activities:

WP1 Project Management --> The coordinator APRE organised the Kick off Meeting and the yearly General Assembly with all the beneficiaries and additionally every six months the Management Board for the Work Package Leaders. The activities organised were always opened not only to the beneficiaries of the project but also to the non-beneficiaries (Energy NCPs not partners). They were reimbursed in order to have the possibility to take advange of any training or any other important networking event.

WP2 Capacity Building for NCPs --> C-Energy 2020 focused to providing Energy NCPs the knowledge and skills to enable them to improve the overall NCP services provided to Horizon 2020 applicants. In particular in the frame of the project were organised 7 masterclasses, 18 webinars and 1 focused training for less experienced NCPs. Additionally 12 twinnings involving 61 Energy NCPs were organised. The twinning is a short staff exchange (3 days) dedicated to the less experienced NCP (but not only) in order to acquire competences directly from the daily work and experiences of the NCP hosting the meeting.

WP3 Dialogue with Energy Participants --> Specific activities were carried out in order to enhance the awareness of the applicants about the services of the Energy NCPs and the network C-ENERGY 2020. First of all the trainings for stakeholders: 17 training for stakeholders in different Countries with an average of more than 20 participants for each training were organised during the entire project duration. An important appointment for the Energy applicants is the C-Energy 2020 Brokerage event: during the project were organised 5 brokerage events and supported 6 EEN (Enterprise Europe Network) brokerage events. The Brokerage Events organised by C-ENERGY 2020 usually are attended by 130/150 participants on average. Additionally 2 virtual brokerage event were organized.

WP4 Outreaching --> Besides all these activities, the Partner Search Tool specifically dedicated to the Energy societal challenge of H2020 (Task 4.3) was promoted by the Energy NCPs as an additional service for their clients. The tool was updated during the reporting period in order to be used for the Energy and FCH JU calls.

WP5 Communication and Dissemination --> The website built at the beginning of the project was continuously updated with events organised directly or just communicating events organised by other entities (first of all the ones from the European Commission and its agencies). The website will be maintened and constantly updated during the follow up project of C-ENERGY 2020 (C-ENERGY 2020 V2).
The network is increasingly spreading information through its social media pages (on Facebook and LinkedIn primarily).
The network have a significant visibility among energy stakeholders thanks to the Project’s involvement in more than hundred of events (both at National and European level) accordingly to the communication and dissemination plan.
C-Energy 2020 network expected impact is twofold:

• an improved and professionalised NCP service across Europe thereby helping simplify access to Horizon 2020 calls, lowering the entry barriers for newcomers, and raising the average quality of proposals submitted;
• A more consistent level of NCP support services across Europe.

The success of the project is expected to be measured in terms of:
• Improvements in the Energy NCP services across Europe (also in terms of ensuring an easy access to H2020 calls) and the average quality of proposals submitted under H2020 and related programmes;
• Securing a straightforward involvement in the network activities for less or no experiences Energy NCPs;
• A more consistent Energy NCP network.

The training and communication materials, the website and partner search tool (online) are the assets of the project that will be used also in the follow up project of C-ENERGY 2020 (C-ENERGY 2020 V2).