Pan European Networks - Horizon 2020 - page 160

What changes do you welcome in
Horizon 2020 compared to FP7?
Horizon 2020 offers many more opportunities
and potential compared to FP7. The programme
has three core pillars: Excellent Science,
Industrial Leadership and Societal Challenges,
and these are very welcome.
Whilst major progress has been made, there is
disappointment that, compared to FP7, the topic
of biodiversity has generally been overlooked; at
least it doesn’t appear to be a major focal point
in Horizon 2020. With my specialist subject only
partially covered, there was consideration of
other funding opportunities in the ‘Climate
action’ Societal Challenge and applying to
research calls. However, after assessing the
calls that have been published, they just do not
cover the model systems for climate change that
are relevant to the research, i.e. the impact on
biodiversity, because there is belief that the
consequences of climate change on biodiversity
can provide interesting scenarios for other areas
of research, too.
Through my research we have seen how the
distribution of several organisms has changed
due to historical or past climate change within
the last one million years – providing excellent
models for future predictions of what may
happen, as well as models and scenarios
for future climate change. This research area
seems to have little coverage in Horizon
2020 and is therefore under-represented;
competition for funding under Horizon 2020 is
much greater compared to FP7.
The first year of Horizon 2020 is just the
beginning, and major research areas have been
covered. I am in contact with colleagues from
Belgium and Sweden and together we have
prepared joint project proposals. However, none
of the calls that have been published so far
really fit into our research specialism. But I
remain optimistic for future calls to provide an
opportunity and am generally very pleased with
the structure of the current EU R&I framework
H
orizon 2020 has been billed as the European
Commission’s largest ever research and innovation
framework programme, with changes implemented to
make it the most accessible and to encourage the widest
participation from scientists not just in Europe but also across the
world. Societal Challenges, the largest of the three pillars under
Horizon 2020, collectively receives the most funding.
In the €3.8bn ‘Food security; sustainable agriculture and forestry;
marine, maritime and inland water research; and the bioeconomy’
Societal Challenge, Horizon 2020 provides multiple opportunities for
researchers to apply for grants and benefit from EU funding. The 2014-
2015 Work Programme specifies such calls as ‘Sustainable agriculture
and forestry’, ‘Sustainable and competitive bio-based industries’ and
‘Sustainable food security’.
Furthermore, the €3bn ‘Climate action, environment, resource efficiency
and raw materials’ Societal Challenge presents opportunities for research
proposals in the fields of ‘Waste: a resource to recycle, reuse and recover
raw materials’, ‘Growing a low carbon, resource efficient economy with
sustainable supply of raw materials’ and ‘Water innovation: boosting its
value for Europe’.
However, despite these welcomed changes, there is criticism that some
areas of research, in particular biodiversity and botany, are not suitably
covered. One voice airing his concerns is Professor Dr Eberhard Fischer
of the University of Koblenz-Landau in Germany. The head of the botany
and biodiversity working group is concerned that, despite the advances
made by Horizon 2020, there is now a lack of opportunity for his research
field compared to the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7).
To investigate Fischer’s concerns in further detail, Portal spoke to the
university researcher, who discussed the lack of research scope, the
changes he would like to see implemented and the importance of
international research collaboration.
I S S U E S I X
H O R I Z O N 2 0 2 0 P R O J E C T S : P O R TA L
160
S O C I E TA L C H A L L E N G E S : E N V I R O N M E N T
Real biodiversity?
Professor Dr Eberhard Fischer,
of Germany’s University of Koblenz-Landau,
expresses to
Portal
his disappointment at the lack of biodiversity and botany
calls in Horizon 2020, and what changes could be implemented
Professor Dr Eberhard
Fischer
The
Impatiens
walleriana,
or busy
Lizzie, has had to
adapt to climate
change, said Fischer
©ProfessorDrEberhard Fischer
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