Last week, Brussels-based ScienceBusiness held its 4th edition of the Horizon2020 conference in Brussels. Central theme of the day was the concept of “Open Innovation” as the way forward in European research.
Commissioner Moedas shared the latest thoughts of the European Commission on the European Innovation Council (EIC). Other speakers (non exhaustive list!) were former CERN-DG Rolf-Dieter Heuer, who is now Chair of the EU Scientific Advice Mechanism and Jean-Pierre Bourguignon who is the President of the European Research Council. Nathan Paul Myhrvold, formerly Chief Technology Officer at Microsoft and co-founder of Intellectual Ventures, compared US and EU approaches to innovation and gave examples of how a more entrepreneurial attitude among the new generation of scientists is already radically reforming our economies and societies. Over 230 people from academia and industry participated in the conference. Several thousand people watched the live-stream!
In a separate workshop I moderated the ScienceBusiness Network meeting, where we shared best practices on H2020 research proposal development and implementation. The Network Members discussed ‘do’s & don’ts’ and identified possible improvements for the next Research Framework Programme (FP9). On behalf of the network I subsequently participated in the panel discussion with Robert-Jan Smits, the director-general of DG-Research at the Commission (see picture above). Smits outlined several changes to the further execution of the H2020 funding call programme as well as some further simplifications in the implementation of project, fow example on the use of timesheets. Smits admitted that despite the overall success of the programme and the endorsement of the application process by the European research community, there are still some significant improvements possible, in particular in relation to the evaluation process. Most Calls will in future follow a 2-stage process, whereby the aim of the Commission is that in the second-stage the success rate will be around 1:3. Following a question from the audience, Smits confirmed that he would re-assess the Commission’s earlier decision to scrap the so-called “Consensus Meeting”. The audience felt that the Consensus Meeting plays an important part in ensuring that the assessment of all evaluation panellists is taken into account before the final ranking. Smits also promised to check whether in future the Evaluation Summary Report can be a little more specific and detailed tan is currently the case.
The video-cast can still be accessed by clicking on this link: http://www.sciencebusiness.net/events/2016/the-2016-science-business-horizon-2020-conference-4th-edition/