Alliance4Life, in line with its mission to stimulating institutional changes and having a say in the field of EU research and innovation policy, has today issued a new official position paper with recommendations for Horizon Europe.
The document discusses specifically the “Widening Participation and Strengthening the ERA” programme. Alliance4Life that represents 12 leading research institutions from 11 WIDENING countries of Central and Eastern Europe, has up to now implemented a total of 56 Widening actions under the previous Horizon 2020 programme. Based on such wealth of experience and a profound understanding of the needs and situation in WIDENING countries, Alliance4Life formulated suggestions to the European Commission, national delegations of Horizon Europe and other stakeholders involved in the EU research and innovation policy, to be considered for future calls of the WIDENING programme.
Alliance4Life welcomes the generous budget for the WIDENING financial package as well as, among others, the integration of COST under the WIDENING programme. The main message of Alliance4Life concerns, however, the ultimate desirable impact of the WIDENING instruments, which shall be increase in R&I performance in WIDENING countries. Therefore, networking activities, training and other general measures, which are typically eligible in WIDENING actions, shall be balanced with the direct research support provided to talented and ambitious individuals and teams conducting high-quality research in WIDENING countries. Alliance4Life would welcome in all WIDENING actions the eligibility of seed scientific projects (small scientific projects initiating new collaborations) combined with bi-directional mobility, and especially the support and favourable conditions for the inflow and reintegration of talents. This would stop the long-term brain drain experienced by WIDENING countries, which is one of the roots of the R&I divide in Europe, and reverse it into the brain circulation. The position paper includes number of specific recommendations for the individual instruments of Teaming, Twinning and ERA chairs. For the “TEAMING for Excellence” instrument the Alliance calls specifically for a better coordination between the EU and national levels and concertation of R&I capacities in order to support the quality that has already proved its potential and viability in WIDENING countries. Alliance4Life welcomes that research costs shall be eligible within the “TWINNING” Coordination and Support Actions of Horizon Europe and expresses the opinion that the higher percentage of cost eligible to directly initiate the scientific collaboration with advanced partners through small-scale seed projects and bi-directional mobility, the faster the persisting gap in participation in the EU Framework Programmes for Research and Innovation will be solved. For “ERA chairs”, Alliance4Life would like to see an extension of this scheme also to outstanding talents that are in the earlier mid-career stages and are looking for an independent career phase in Europe. Experience of Alliance4Life members shows that this would improve the chances to attract and also retain motivated individuals to and in the institutions in WIDENING countries and amplify the long-term practical impact on the hosting institutions and the local research community.
Masaryk University (CEITEC MU – Central European Institute of Technology), Czech Republic
St. Anne’s University Hospital Brno (FNUSA-ICRC – International Clinical Research Center), Czech Republic
Medical University Sofia (MUS), Bulgaria
Biomedical Research Center of the Slovak Academy of Sciences (BMC SAS), Slovakia
Medical University of Łodz (MUL), Poland
University of Zagreb School of Medicine (UZSM), Croatia
University of Tartu (TU), Estonia
Vilnius University – Faculty of Medicine (VU), Lithuania
Latvian Institute of Organic Synthesis (LIOS), Latvia
University of Ljubljana (UL), Slovenia
Semmelweis University (SU), Hungary
Carol Davila University of Medicine and Pharmacy Bucharest (UMFCD), Romania