Despite efforts to reduce disparities in country research and innovation performance in the EU, sharp differences among Member States still remain. These disparities are due to, among other reasons, the insufficient critical mass of science and lack of centres of excellence having sufficient competence to engage countries and regions strategically in a path of innovative growth, building on newly developed capabilities. Exploiting the potential of Europe's talent pool by maximising and spreading the benefits of research and innovation across the Union is vital for Europe's competitiveness and its ability to address societal challenges in the future. This could help countries and regions that are lagging behind in terms of research and innovation performance to attain a competitive position in the global value chains.
Teaming will support the creation of new centres of excellence or upgrading the existing ones in low R&I performing countries, building on partnerships between leading scientific institutions and partner institutions in low R&I performing countries, that display the willingness to engage together for this purpose.Scope:
Teaming involves in principle, two (2) parties:
(1) The main applicant organisation (the coordinator) established in a "Widening" country that must be either a national/regional authority or a research funding agency or a university or a research organisation.
(2) A university or research organisation with an international reputation in research and innovation excellence.
The proposal for Teaming Phase 2 must:
- Illustrate the scientific and innovation potential of the future Centre of Excellence
- Demonstrate the growth potential and expected socio-economic outreach of the Centre of Excellence for the benefit of the country or region
- Elaborate on the structure of the partnership and on the strong engagement of the partners
- Demonstrate how the newly established/upgraded Centre will have full autonomy in decision making. In particular, the Centre of Excellence should have the maximum degree of autonomy in terms of taking its own decisions, being in legal, administrative, operational, personnel and academic matters. The Centre should be able to set and pay competitive salaries for its personnel.
- Elaborate on the steps that will be taken to ensure long term self-sustainability after the end of the Horizon 2020 project.
- Propose a robust human resource strategy (also encouraging gender equality), ensuring appropriate administrative and management capacities for the effective and efficient running of the Centre of Excellence.
- Include the letter(s) of commitment for complementary funding from the interested national/regional authorities or other private sources to commit financial resources (e.g. resources coming from the European Structural and Investment Funds or Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA II) funds as appropriate) for implementing the future Centre, in particular regarding investment in infrastructure and equipment. The letter(s) of Commitment for complementary funding (a template will be provided by the Commission in due time) of the project will be an integral part of the evaluation of the proposal taking into consideration:
How the complementary funding will be spent during the project has to be explained in detail in the proposal, both in the budget table of Part A as well as with a clear and detailed cost breakdown of the activities funded in Part B.
Procedure for Teaming Phase 2:
Teaming Phase 2 is a restricted call open only to:
a. Applicants successfully funded under the topic WIDESPREAD-04-2017: Teaming Phase 1.
b. Applicants who have concluded a Framework Partnership Agreement under the topic WIDESPREAD-1-2014: Teaming, of the call H2020-WIDESPREAD-2014 but have not concluded a Specific Grant Agreement under the topic WIDESPREAD-01-2016-2017: Teaming Phase 2.
For both points a. and b. above, in order not to put in doubt the result of the initial evaluation (Teaming Phase 1), the internationally leading ("advanced") institution(s) partners in the proposal must remain the same as in Phase 1.
A change of the partners from the widening country for Phase 2 is only allowed in clear-cut cases for instance where there might be a conflict of interest or a new legal entity for the Centre of Excellence is created. A detailed explanation for such a change has to be elaborated as part of the proposal for Phase 2.
Successful applicants under topic WIDESPREAD-1-2014: Teaming, of the call H2020-WIDESPREAD-2014 and topic WIDESPREAD-04-2017: Teaming Phase 1 of the call H2020-WIDESPREAD-2016-2017 have received a grant to produce an extensive, detailed and robust Business Plan within a timeframe of 12 months for the setting-up/upgrading of a Centre of Excellence. Based on the business plan developed during Phase 1, applicants are expected to submit a separate proposal for Teaming Phase 2. The proposal is expected to reflect all key elements of the business plan.
Nevertheless, it is emphasised that the Business Plan is the deliverable of Teaming Phase 1 and will not be subject to evaluation under Phase 2 (neither it will be made available to evaluators).
Applicants to this call will have to submit a proposal, following the template that will be made available to applicants through the submission tool. The submitted proposals under this restricted call will undergo an independent evaluation, and those selected for funding will be awarded a CSA grant (Teaming Phase 2).
This new grant for Teaming Phase 2 will provide substantial support for the start-up and implementation phase of the future Centre of Excellence. This will cover mainly administrative and operational costs as well as personnel costs of the future Centre of Excellence. While the action does not focus on equipment and consumables, these could be accepted if they constitute only a minor part of the total Horizon 2020 funding requested and may be deemed necessary to fulfil the action's specific scope and objective.
It is to be noted, that Horizon 2020 under the Teaming action will not support infrastructure costs associated with the new or upgraded centre. Such costs are expected to be supported by other types of funding, including where relevant by the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESI Funds) or the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA II) funds.
For grants awarded under this topic and type of action the following cost categories will be ineligible costs:
- infrastructure costs.
The respective option of Article 6.5.C of the Model Grant Agreement will be applied. Such costs are expected to be supported by other types of funding, including where relevant by the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESI Funds) or the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA II) funds.
The duration of a Teaming Phase 2 project will be between 5 to 7 years.
The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of EUR 15 million, would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting lower amounts.Expected Impact:
The creation of new (or significant upgrades of existing) Centres of Excellence in "Widening" Countries through the Teaming partnerships is expected to:
- increase the scientific capabilities of these countries and enable them to engage in a strategic growth path pointing to long-term opportunities for economic development.
- through improved scientific capabilities allow these countries to improve their chances to seek competitive funding in international fora (including the EU Framework Programmes).
- over the medium to long term achieve a measurable and significant improvement in terms of research and innovation culture (as shown through indicators such as research intensity, innovation performance, values and attitudes towards research and innovation) of those countries.
- reinforce the potential impact of the new/upgraded Centre of Excellence in terms of sustained excellence through projected measurable key performance and output related indicators.
It should be explained how the leading scientific institutions in the partnership will contribute in terms of provision of access to new research avenues, creativity and the development of new approaches, as well as acting as a source for increased mobility (inwards and outwards) of qualified scientists.
The benefits for the internationally leading scientific institutions and the way they would materialise through the partnership should be substantiated.