Pan European Networks - Horizon 2020 - page 72

he current European, regional and national funding
landscape provides researchers and innovators with a
wide range of opportunities to support their projects. The
majority of funding programmes – above all the current EU
framework programme for research and innovation, Horizon 2020
– show a new strategic focus which is challenge and impact driven
instead of technology driven like their predecessors. In addition to
scientific or technological innovation, initiatives will have to meet
European, regional or national policy goals, consider existing
strategic priorities, and demonstrate a strong, positive impact on
economies and society. In most cases, this can only be realised in
multidisciplinary networks actively involving stakeholders from
different sectors, fields and disciplines.
Research impact can be achieved in many ways, depending on
the level of impact, the environment research groups are operating
in, and the beneficiaries of their research and innovation efforts.
Initiatives have to distinguish between economic impact, the
positive effects their research and innovation projects will have on
a societal level, and the impact their projects will have on their
fields of research, their own institution and even their own careers.
Maximising the impact of a research and/ or innovation project
therefore requires looking beyond one’s single research topic to
understand the bigger picture of a wider area of interest. For
researchers, such analyses are often not easy to perform as they
are used to address their idea from a scientific or technical
perspective rather than considering who may benefit from future
research results or add a wider perspective. EURIDA has been
supporting research groups in performing crucial analyses and in
designing convincing measures for impact maximisation for many
years, and has great experience in facilitating the process for
project groups from various sectors.
Maximising a project’s impact by maximising its
contribution to policies and strategic priorities
For publicly funded research and innovation initiatives it is
important to understand the policy landscape they are positioned
in. Funding bodies need to understand how an initiative will help
them to achieve at least some of their set priorities. EURIDA has
been following and analysing policies and strategies underlying
Horizon 2020 since the first proposal for a new research
framework in 2009 and provides this vast knowledge to project
groups from various scientific fields. For Horizon 2020, as
compared to its predecessors, the European Commission has
taken a new approach underpinned by strategic programming. The
purpose of the strategic programme is to enable an integrated
funding approach across scientific topics, to support those
research activities that cut across different challenges, and to link
defined key enabling technologies to their application in
previously identified societal challenges.
For the first programming period of 2014-2016 the clear goal of
Horizon 2020 is to fund initiatives which will contribute towards
exiting the European socioeconomic crisis and to creating new
jobs by boosting competitiveness through innovation and smart
and sustainable growth. A stronger focus than ever has been put
on cross-sector partnerships and multi-actor approaches to
generate maximum impact projects. This requires a shift in
thinking and project planning as project topics become much
wider than a technology focus, and alliances have to be created
with partners outside the immediate scientific community. A
project’s impact, together with its scientific excellence, can decide
whether a project will receive funding, which makes it crucial to
understand how a project’s impact can be maximised.
Communication and knowledge exchange in cross-
sector partnerships for impact maximisation
To be able to fully understand a project’s environment, and hence
to maximise a project’s impact, improved knowledge exchange
between partners from different sectors plays a crucial role.
Communication generates new insights and ideas and integrates
existing tacit knowledge of a wide number of actors within a focus
area of research and innovation. The more focused projects are on
the actual challenges in a field, the quicker solutions can be put
into practice thanks to the co-ownership that can be generated
during projects in cross-sector partnerships and consortia. Those
EURIDA supports research groups during the crucial steps of impact
maximisation in publicly funded research and innovation projects
Maximising research impact
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