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Synergies in Nanotechnologies, Materials and Production in the European Research Area

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - SYNAMERA (Synergies in Nanotechnologies, Materials and Production in the European Research Area)

Reporting period: 2016-05-01 to 2017-04-30

"SYNAMERA was a Coordination and Support Action funded by the call Horizon 2020-NMP-CSA-2014 (project number 645900).The consortium gathered 12 organizations composed of representatives in the EC NMP Programme Committee, national funding agencies, regional funding agencies, programming authorities for the ERDF, and partners conducting programme and project management under H2020 and/or ERDF. SYNAMERA started in May 2015 and ended in April 2017.

In 2002, European Research Area Networks (ERA-NETs) have been developed to consolidate the European Research Area. ERA-NETs are very important in the scientific fields of Nanotechnologies, Materials and Production (NMP) with more than 20 projects since FP6. In FP6 and FP7, important networks were created such as CROSSTEXNET, ERACOBUILD, EURONANOMED, INCOMERA, MANUNET, MATERA+, M-ERA.NET MNT-ERA.NET II, NANOSCI-EPLUS, SIINN... These networks have fostered the implementation of many transnational research projects across Europe.
With Horizon2020, the former ERA-NET and ERA-NET+ have merged into a single ERA-NET Cofund instrument with the central and compulsory element of implementing one substantial call with top-up funding from the Commission. The ERA-NET scheme encourages the coordination of Member States and Regions in funding transnational research project.

In this framework, the project ""Synergies in NMP Programming in the European Research Area"" or SYNAMERA had the objective to define and plan research cooperation between Member States and Regions in the thematic areas of Nanotechnologies, Materials and Production (NMP). Beyond the core of Horizon 2020 funding programme, it explored the landscape of national and regional research funding programmes and proposed an agenda to boost collaboration. SYNAMERA's main objectives were to work in partnership with all NMP relevant players (ETPs, programming organizations, funding agencies...) to identify themes and trends relevant for NMP research programming in order to prepare a set of recommendations focused on the NMP ERA-NET Scheme and its relationships with all other european, national and regional programming. Recommendations were expected namely for the last programming period of Horizon 2020.

During the second period of the project, SYNAMERA has focused mainly its activites on organizing roundtables on programming and foresight activities, policy coordintaion and synergies and editing guidelines to be used during dissemination.

An analytical work on more than 60 programming documents of national funding authorities were collected and analysed. They were all related to on-going Research Roadmaps within the NMP area.
This analytical work led to a roundtable discussion on 23rd November 2015 during the Manufuture 2015 conference. To deepen the discussion, a closer collaboration with NanoFutures (ETP), EuMat (ETP), Factories of the Future (PPP) and SPIRE (PPP) has been engaged early 2016 in order to identify relevant NMP themes and trends that could be covered with the ERA-NET instrument. This collaboration led to roundtable on 23rd June 2016 during the broadly attended Industrial Technologies 2016 conference in Amsterdam.

Based on the result od the survey led in January 2016, the experience in policy coordination accumulated by SYNAMERA partners, namely through the various types of ERA-NET instruments that have been implemented since FP6, and the knowledge and experience gathered in ERA-LEARN a wroking paper has been prepared to launch a discussion with experienced partners in policy coordination in NMP area. The discussion led to a roundtable in Brussels the 28th of september 2016.

Synergies were discussed to integrate both dimensions programming&foresight activities and policy coordination.
Furthermore during the European Week of Regions and Cities in October 2016, a roundtable on synergies “Supporting S3 strategies through H2020 and ERDF: synergies, barriers and best practices” was organized the 12 October 2016 in Brussels with the consortium called “Local authorities promoting synergies between ESI Funds and H2020”. More than 100 stakeholders took part to this session.

Guidelines for newcomers in ERA-NETs were edited in a leaflet to better disseminate the results, and USB Keys to hold all deliverables and results at once.

SYNAMERA's main results are the following :
1. Four topics in NMP may need further attention from public policies namely :
- Lightweight and multifdunctional materials
- Computational materials engineering for product design with advanced functionalities
- Materials and resource efficiceny in manufacturing and process industry
- Additive Manufacturing
2. These topics are or can be adequately supported by the existing NMP ERA-NETs
3. The reinforcement of existing NMP-related ERA-NETs was considered more important than the creation of a new one
4. The characteristics of the ERA-NET instrument in the NMP area advises against narrow topics
5. The ERA-NET instrument has advantages but also limitations when used to support the NMP area
6. Synergies must be the cornerstone of the ERA-NET Scheme in the NMP area
For more details on recommandations, all reports are available on the website of the project
SYNAMERA contributed to increase the integration of research and innovation in the European Research Area in the NMP field by coordinating national/regional funding and by facilitating cross-border funding for research and innovation activities.

The work carried out by SYNAMERA during this second period built bridges in the NMP area based on the active participation of NMP experts, policy stakeholders, and projects participants in ERA-NETs. It contributed on one hand to structure and integrate the European Research Area in the field of key enabling technologies in NMP and on another hand to process through shared understanding of coordinated formulation of needs beyond the core Horizon 2020 funding, involving Member States and Regions.

In the SYNAMERA consortium itself the key audience was involved with representatives of: Ministries involved in the EC NMP Programme Committee (e.g. Slovenia, Austria), National funding agencies (e.g. Portugal, Romania), Regional programming authorities for ERDF (e.g. Region Wallonia, Region Hauts-de-France), regional development agencies with competencies in funding (e.g. Innobasque), programme managers with a public status (e.g. KIT) as well as regional clusters managing programmes or projects (e.g. Matikem).

The presentations of the project to the EC NMP Programme Committee involved all Member States in tight collaboration with the services of the European Commission. The interest raised by the discussions at the Programme Committee led to the creation of a working group of the NMBP Programme Committee on ERA-NETs.
The collaboration in foresight and programming activities in NMP involved key ETPs and PPPs.
The audience of the project has also been widen with local/regional authorities involved during the European Week of Regions and Cities in October 2016.

The second period confirmed a shared understanding between all NMP funding stakeholders involved to enhance cross-border funding for research and innovation activities.