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H O R I Z O N 2 0 2 0 P R O J E C T S : P O R T A L

I S S U E 1 3





he European Commission has set aside

€9.1m to invest in 189 small and medium-

sized enterprises (SMEs) from 24 countries.

The SMEs have been selected for funding in the latest round of the Horizon

2020 SME Instrument, and the funding is provided under Phase 1, meaning

that each project will receive €50,000 to finance feasibility studies for new

products that can disrupt the market. The SMEs can also apply for up to

three days of free business coaching.

Of the 189 SMEs that will receive funds for the proposed 182 projects

(multiple SMEs can be involved in one project), Italian SMEs have been

particularly successful with 34 companies accepted, followed by

counterparts from Spain (30) and the United Kingdom (18).

Most of the projects funded

will be in the area of ICT

(29), followed by transport

and low-carbon energy

systems (both 24).

For the third cut-off of the

SME Instrument Phase 1

this year, the Executive

Agency for SMEs (EASME) received 1,938 project proposals from 40

countries. Since the launch of the programme on 1 January 2014, 1,840

SMEs have been selected under Phase 1 of the SME Instrument.

As part of Horizon 2020, the European Commission is hand-picking

potentially disruptive businesses to invest in and support as part of the

SME Instrument. Businesses could receive up to €2.5m in funding as well

as business coaching.

24 October 2016




he European Commission has announced

the 12 members of the new high level group

that will formulate a vision for future EU

research and innovation.

The group will also make recommendations on maximising the impact of

EU investments in this area and is chaired by Pascal Lamy, president

emeritus of the Jacques Delors Institute.

Carlos Moedas, European Commissioner for Research, Science and

Innovation, said: “We face economic uncertainty and societal challenges

but also promising opportunities in Europe. So it is vital to get even greater

impact from EU funding for research and innovation, for everyone’s benefit.

“With a wide range of expertise and experience, I am confident that the

new high level group will provide us with a bold vision for EU research and

innovation in the future.”

Lamy (pictured) said: “I am

honoured to lead the group’s work

on maximising the impact of EU

investments in research and

innovation. I believe that these are

crucial for our future prosperity

and to solving our biggest

challenges, and areas where the

EU can demonstrate that we do better together than on our own and that

we can exert global leadership.”

The High Level Group on Maximising the Impact of EU Research and

Innovation Programmes brings together leading personalities from across

Europe with a wide range of expertise. The members hold key posts in

universities or research organisations, are leaders of industrial giants and

dynamic SMEs, serve in high-level policy positions in national or international

organisations, and play important roles in civil society organisations.

30 November 2016




uropean scientists have collaborated to learn

more about diagnosing and treating

neuropsychiatric disorders, which are among

the biggest challenges in modern medicine.

For many brain diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease and epilepsy, there

are either no medicines or existing therapies do not work for all patients.

Professor Rona Ramsay of the University of St Andrews, UK, chaired

European Co-operation in Science and Technology (COST) Action CM1103,

which brought together chemists and biologists to focus on brain diseases

where new therapies are needed. One of the areas she has been exploring

is the potential of ‘dirty drugs’ – molecules that interact with several targets

in the brain.

She said: “We can now design

drugs to hit specific targets. In

Alzheimer’s, for example, we

are developing drugs to keep

acetylcholine, dopamine and

serotonin in the synapses for longer; add an anti-oxidant to prevent damage

caused by dying brain cells; then add a metal to ‘mop up’ oxidants which

would otherwise cause problems.”

To achieve this, multidisciplinary networks have to design molecular

structures and test them in brain cells and animal models. Participants in

the network have filed a patent on one potential treatment and plan to

move forward with a view to clinical development.

According to Ramsay, the biggest value of this COST Action arose from

partnerships between academics and the valuable exposure to other

disciplines that it offered younger researchers.

18 November 2016