science 26.9.2016 18:59

Slovenian researchers top submissions for Horizon 2020

Ljubljana, 26 September - Slovenian researchers made one of the highest numbers of submissions Horizon 2020 in Europe, but the share of approved projects is quite low, said Peter Volasko from the Education Ministry at Monday's conference on the EU's research and development programme.

Slovenia reached second place in the number of submissions per resident and its companies were awarded almost EUR 80m in contracts. However, according to data from June, the success level of Slovenian submitters in the programme reached 9.5%, while the EU average stands at 13.3%, said Volasko.

The imbalance could be changed with more experience, cooperation and participation on such informative events, he said and urged the participants to be careful about the consortia they take part in, as "a successful coordinator assures greater project success".

He also suggested they should accept help from abroad, "as Horizon 2020 has become so complex that help from national contact persons is important, but it is not enough".

Marina Martinez Garcia from a Brussels-based research institute presented some key aspects of the Horizon 2020 programme, saying that much preparation, internal analysis and a careful selection of topics and partners was required to achieve success at the call. Collaborating in Horizon 2020 projects must be a strategic decision of the organisers, she said.

One of the topics in focus at the conference was the European Innovation World, which aims to support pioneer and disruptive innovations in the EU. The initiative was put forward last June by European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation Carlos Moedas.

Chris North from the European Commission's Directorate for Research and Innovation said the initiative's complex programmes were halfway towards becoming implemented.

Another topic featured at the conference was the Vanguard initiative, which includes 28 most innovative European regions involved in the creation of value chain in advanced industries, nanomaterials, biotechnology, 3D-printing and renewable sources of energy.

Representatives of Slovenian companies then spoke of their experiences with the Horizon 2020 programme, while local and foreign experts presented various opportunities in the area of mobility and networking, including a support system available to institutions preparing project proposals.

The conference on the Horizon 2020 programme was organised by the the Brussels-based Slovenian Business & Research Association (SBRA) in collaboration with the Slovenian Ministry of Education, Science and Sport and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GZS).