Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much

Multiethnic group planning ideas

Innovators engaging with a global cohort are better able to understand how their product should be developed with an international audience and markets in mind.

Participation in Horizon Europe is a fantastic opportunity for innovative organisations for many more reasons than the grant alone (although I know that’s always welcome).

One of the most rewarding aspects of getting involved is the relationships you build by working collaboratively with people outside national borders.

Engaging a global cohort

Innovators that engage with a global cohort are better able to understand how their system or solution should be developed with an international audience and markets in mind.

They are preparing for the rollout of their ‘product’ to the wider world as a matter of course rather than as a separate step further down the development process.

They work alongside their overseas customers and suppliers as part of the team to ensure the project outcome fits these people’s strategic plans and so supports the introduction to the market.

A danger of developing next generation systems without engaging the rest of the world is that we risk developing the Betamax solution when the rest of the world adopts VHS. For those of you born after 1980, Wikipedia is your friend.

Partnering to prepare, submit and do projects

For the ‘global challenges and European industrial competitiveness’ (pillar two) part of Horizon Europe, a consortium is almost always necessary to secure grant funding.

This must include:

  • at least one independent legal entity established in a member state
  • at least two other independent legal entities, each established in different member states or associated countries (UK counts as an associated country and you can see what this means in the Horizon Europe general annexes (PDF, 935KB)).

The rest of the partnership composition is up to the team to decide. There can be:

  • several organisations from the same country
  • a mix of academic, business and any other type of organisation
  • organisations from almost anywhere in the world.

The Horizon Europe programme guide (PDF, 1.25MB) explains the eligibility of international cooperation and association.

There are lots of ways to find partners, but I think by far the best (other than using your own professional network) is searching the European Commission’s database of past projects.

Look for a similar theme, area, or sector to the one you want to do and use the partner contact details to get in touch.

European partnerships in Horizon Europe

European partnerships bring the European Commission and private or public partners together to address the research and innovation needs of different sectors.

The different types of European partnership are described below:

Co-funded partnerships

These are partnerships between the European Commission and national research funding bodies and together they provide the budget, decide the research agenda and issue calls for proposals.

Only organisations from the countries that have chosen to join the partnership can respond to those calls.

You can see the current and forthcoming co-funded partnerships at the European Commission funding and tender opportunities portal.

Remember that these are seeking national research funding bodies to join them. Only once these partnerships are up and running will they issue calls for proposals for research and innovation projects.

Co-programmed partnerships

As co-funded partnerships help to address national concerns within different themes, these partnerships seek to address sector-based priorities.

They usually involve the European Commission and representatives of the research and innovation community.

Together they develop a strategic research and innovation agenda that forms the basis of future calls for proposals.

These calls are open to anyone but clearly the members, who influenced the content and work closely together, have an advantage.

As you can see, there are distinct benefits in joining a co-programmed partnership and if there are any in your area of interest, I recommend you consider joining.

Talk to your national contact point to find out if there are any active in your sector. There are eleven in total (European Commission), and they each cover very specific parts of Horizon Europe.

Institutionalised partnerships

These partnerships require legislation to create them and are based on European Council regulation article 187 or a decision by the European Parliament and Council article 185.

Institutionalised partnerships are also known as joint undertakings or Jus.

They often require significant financial contribution from their non-EC members so that the overall budget available for research and innovation projects is significantly increased.

Their members write the calls for proposals, and they manage delivery of the subsequent projects.

The calls for proposals are still open to anyone to respond to and are posted on the EU’s funding and tender opportunities portal in the same way as any other Horizon Europe competition.

The eleven proposed institutionalised partnerships are still awaiting the legislation to be enacted to create them.

But all current and candidate partnerships can be seen in the European Commission document: Horizon Europe, the next generation of European partnerships: contributing to a greener and more digital Europe.

Other partnering and networking opportunities

As I said at the beginning of this article, there are many reasons why working together with others outside our national borders results in a more successful outcome for all.

The UK government has recognised this and has agreed to associate the UK to Horizon Europe so that we can work alongside and influence the direction of the best in Europe.

As well as formal consortia or European partnership membership, there are a whole host of networking associations that come together to:

  • share best practice and lessons learned
  • support the European Commission with information about sector priorities
  • help each other to be successful in Horizon Europe projects.

To find out which ones your organisation would benefit from getting involved with, talk to your national contact point (GOV.UK).

Useful contacts for more information

Follow Louise on Twitter

UKRI webpages on Horizon Europe including help for UK applicants

Follow Innovate UK on Twitter

Connect with Innovate UK on LinkedIn

Follow Innovate UK on Facebook

You can go to the Innovate UK website

You can go to the Innovate UK EDGE website

For Innovate UK videos subscribe to our YouTube channel

Sign up for email notifications on funding, connections and support opportunities

You can go to the UKRI website

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This is the integrated website of the 7 research councils, Research England and Innovate UK.
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