Pan European Networks - Horizon 2020 - page 161

To what extent do you think the Commission can help
encourage greater international research collaboration
between scientists and researchers?
International research collaboration is one of the real advantages of
Horizon 2020 as the framework programme provides opportunities and
encourages co-operation with other research working groups. Developing
a good research network with colleagues in Belgium and the UK has
helped further research as we are all investigating similar topics and
undertaking research in similar fields. Yet Horizon 2020 could be an even
more ideal opportunity to connect with other researchers and develop
joint ventures if some of the areas of concern, as outlined, are addressed.
Collaboration is always a positive experience. Developing new ideas today
means you need to think big on an international dimension. After many
years of undertaking research, international co-operation really provides
mutual benefits and helps to achieve research goals.
How would you like to see Horizon 2020 develop over
the coming years?
As the research and innovation framework programme has just begun,
there is certainly the potential for expanding the calls and research
questions, especially in the topic of climate change, as well as
biodiversity, where there should be a particular focus. For me, you cannot
undertake research with a focus on climate change without also
considering its implications for and impact on biodiversity. This is one
research area that could really benefit from funding during Horizon 2020.
Generally, Horizon 2020 is an R&I framework programme that is to be
welcomed, and I really look forward to applying for funding, particularly
if calls concerning biodiversity are announced. Fundamental questions
in response to climate change need to be dealt with and a consideration
of the wider impact on organisms is important.
programme and the very good progress that
has been made so far.
What changes would you like the
Commission to make to the 2015-
2016 Work Programme so as to
address your concerns?
It would be great if the Commission included
funding for research concerning the organism
level of biodiversity as a model system for
climate change. As mentioned, we have quite
a lot of plants in Madagascar and wider Africa
for which the distribution has changed within
the last one million years. Understanding these
alterations and adaptations on the molecular
level, as well as the changes in distribution due
to climate change, will help us to prepare
models for future climate change predictions
and possibly understand how organisms react.
It is important to understand how climate change
affects biodiversity, particularly for humans, as
biodiversity also has an impact on agriculture.
With our scientific knowledge, we have a unique
opportunity to study the mechanisms of how
organisms, especially plants, in my research field
react to climate change.
Located in Africa, is the genus
Impatiens,
e.g.
I.
walleriana
or busy Lizzie in the UK, which has
had to adapt to climate change. Such action has
seen this plant develop numerous endemic
species in certain mountain areas, otherwise
known as ‘refuge’ areas, in order to help itself
survive. There has also been the oscillation of
forest and dry vegetation due to climate change,
a pattern that has been observed at least five or
six times within the last one million years.
Professor Dr Eberhard Fischer
University of Koblenz-Landau
B R OW S E
H O R I Z O N
2 0 2 0
H O R I Z O N 2 0 2 0 P R O J E C T S : P O R TA L
I S S U E S I X
161
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
Despite reviewing the
‘Climate action’
Societal Challenge,
Fischer told Portal he
was unable to find
suitable project calls
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