Pan European Networks - Horizon 2020 - page 115

H O R I Z O N 2 0 2 0 P R O J E C T S : P O R TA L
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S P E C I A L F E AT U R E : E U R O P E A N I N S T I T U T E O F I N N O V AT I O N & T E C H N O L O G Y
more accessible, but there also needs to be more choice available
because an older society is a more diverse population. Businesses are
beginning to recognise some of these messages and we are hearing
them repeated back to ourselves. They are starting to become
mainstream, and we want to assist people in understanding how to
deploy new products and services that are needed,” Armitage continued.
“The EU has been fairly quick to fund ageing research, focusing its efforts
on its European Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing in
particular. Much attention is being paid to delivering new products and
services, rather than simply focusing on pure research. This is a useful
approach because it is often difficult for universities to acquire funding
in order to set up the mechanisms needed to work with businesses. It
also takes time for these relationships to develop and new projects to
be instigated.
“We have used the ERDF’s assistance to do things that are less certain
through research funding alone. We are using EU money with innovation
conditionalities and can focus on working with businesses and then
deploying our achievements into society, rather than necessarily simply
delivering academic papers.”
Health KIC
In December, the European Institute of Innovation and Technology
announced the designation of its new health Knowledge and Innovation
Community (KIC). Entitled EIT Health, the KIC aims to increase the
competitiveness of the European healthcare industry, improve the
sustainability of the continent’s healthcare system, and improve the
quality of life of its citizens. The KIC includes the creation of six co-location
centres and involves 92 associate partners, including Newcastle
University. Armitage explained in more detail the impact of the KIC and
its overlap with the NASI.
“One of the advantages of the EIT is that its projects will be multinational
and it will concentrate its efforts on the way products and services can
be delivered in different countries. The new health KIC will spread
knowledge throughout Europe about innovation in ageing and health.
“Like NASI, EIT Health, too, will very much deal with issues of how we
can help people to stay productive, involved and engaged with society
as they become older. It will also deal with many health aspects: how do
we keep people healthy? What can we do for those living with multiple
chronic diseases? How do we create sustainable health services within
Europe with such long term goals in mind?”
Next steps
Both Newcastle’s role in the new KIC and the new NASI will be developed
in parallel as they begin their work on creating new relationships
and innovations.
“The KIC will be established as a legal entity over the next year, and various
projects will be proposed and evaluated, and awards then made so that
money can start flowing from the EIT into projects from 2016. We will be
working not only with academic partners but also with major businesses.
“Here in Newcastle, we are working in parallel and assessing how to
embed this new national centre into our work, as well as how to invest
H O R I Z O N
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Northern powerhouse
During his Autumn Statement to the House
of Commons in 2014, UK Finance Minister
George Osborne pledged to develop a
‘northern powerhouse’ and proposed
major investment in new scientific
institutions, including the creation of the
National Centre for Ageing Science and
Innovation at Newcastle University.
Following his speech to MPs, Osborne travelled to Newcastle to
announce the multimillion-pound investment. During his visit, the
minister explained: “I said I wanted science to be at the heart of
delivering a northern powerhouse as part of this government’s long
term economic plan. That is why I have earmarked £20m to
support Newcastle’s brilliant cutting-edge research, right here in
the North East.
“This research will not only help boost the regional and national
economy, bringing jobs and investment, but will improve people’s
lives by developing technologies to support our ageing population.”
Other major investments in the £7bn northern powerhouse include
a new advanced material science centre in Manchester and a Big
Data computing institute near Warrington.
George Osborne
©HMTreasury
a relatively small but very useful amount of
money. We will create facilities that will extend
into the community, the business world and to
our academic partners. We will further develop
our knowledge base, bring skills to bear,
and support the knowledge and research
capabilities that we have here at Newcastle
University. Furthermore, we will also consider
how we can bring our work into the European
sphere through Horizon 2020 and collaborate
with European entities, including EIT Health.”
The NASI will designate the UK as a leading
research hub in tackling the challenges posed
by an ageing population. With multiple
European projects focused on delivering fresh
innovation, collaboration will ensure the
greatest benefits are realised.
GrahamArmitage
Newcastle University
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