Pan European Networks - Horizon 2020 - page 232

successful projects, we need to consider how
such achievements can be better scaled up.
“I believe that the transition from FP7 to Horizon
2020 will take a little bit longer than was
perhaps anticipated; it’s a paradigm shift. I hope
that the international co-operation dimension
of the new framework programme will expand,
and it would be great to see more and better
use of Horizon 2020 by African colleagues.
“Early statistics indicate that African
participation, or even international collaboration,
in the early Horizon 2020 calls has not been as
high as expected. The early calls included less
geographically targeted topics compared to
those in FP7, and whilst Horizon 2020 is as
open to the world as its predecessor, it may be
that the lower frequency of geographically
targeted calls has made it more difficult for
international co-operation partners to actually
find a way in.
“I understand that the European Commission is
aware of this trend and of the lower than
expected engagement of international partners.
It’s still early days, and I hesitate to say that
we’re doing better in Horizon 2020 in terms of
international co-operation than we were in FP7.
Maybe there will be some changes in the
upcoming 2016-17 work programmes that will
help reverse what could be a negative trend.”
Hearing from Cherry, it is clear that Horizon
2020 still needs to demonstrate its potential
benefits to both African and international
researchers. Furthermore, the divergent
innovation definitions and (in)ability to realise
actual outcomes in the marketplace are also
causes for concern. However, with schemes
such as CAAST-Net Plus actively encouraging
science co-operation between Europe and Africa
and attempting to address common societal
challenges, there is great potential for the full
benefits of ST&I collaboration to be realised.
H O R I Z O N 2 0 2 0 P R O J E C T S : P O R TA L
Dr AndrewCherry
TheAssociation of Commonwealth
2 0 2 0
S P E C I A L F E AT U R E : E U R O P E & A F R I C A
Horizon 2020
Encouraging international research co-operation is a vital element of
Horizon 2020. Developing countries, including almost all countries in
Africa, are automatically eligible for funding under the framework
programme. Cherry believes that while Horizon 2020 has a greater
emphasis on innovation compared to its predecessor, participating
researchers continue to face difficulties in getting new products and
services to market.
“It is true that there has been a substantial shift from FP7 to Horizon
2020 towards a focus on innovation. What that translates into for many
projects is the inclusion of more commercial enterprises or a shift of
focus from research towards the market end of the spectrum. My sense
is that projects are experiencing some degree of difficulty in making this
transition. It is not easy just to switch from research and focus on the
innovation landscape or to get a final product or service to market.
“It may be that in five to ten years from now we will reflect and judge
that whilst it was a good ambition, there was a lack of final outcome due
to not including the right partners, or because the relationships required
between different parties to bring innovation into the framework
programme did not work. Whilst the theory is good, I am unsure of the
extent to which it will work in practice.”
Another barrier to further strengthening co-operation between European
and African researchers is the simple divergence in the definition of what
innovation formally entails. Whilst Horizon 2020 encourages and
strengthens co-operation between Europe and Africa, ensuring a
common understanding can be difficult.
“Europe and Africa have differing definitions of ‘innovation’,” Cherry
declared. “Whilst Europe sees innovation as very much focused on
industrial competitiveness, in Africa there is significant emphasis on
engaging in co-operation on social innovation. It is important to recognise
these varying opinions when considering co-operation in research and
innovation in the context of bi-regional collaboration. I’m not entirely sure
that this issue has yet been resolved, and whilst there are examples of
In 2014, European
Research Commissioner
Carlos Moedas visited
Cape Town and
participated in the
Africa-EU Partnership’s
High Level Policy
Dialogue on ST&I
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