Despite a recent tendency for the research and innovation performances of individual countries in the EU to converge, 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. Moreover, by putting national budgets under constraint, the ongoing financial crisis is threatening to widen gaps. 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 address this challenge by supporting 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 on this purpose.Scope:
Teaming, will involve in principle, two (2) parties:
(1) The main applicant organisation (the coordinator) established in a "Widening" country (see section on specific eligibility criteria for more details) that must be either a national/regional authority or a research funding agency or a university or a research organisation. In case the coordinator organisation is not a public authority, it will need to provide a letter of intent (the Commission will provide a relevant template) to ensure the long-term nature and accountability of Teaming projects.
(2) A university or research organisation with an international reputation in research and innovation excellence.
Partner organisations will have to explain clearly their vision for the establishment of a new Centre of Excellence (or the upgrading of an existing one) that would be hosted in the "Widening" country. This will include details on the long-term science and innovation strategy of the future Centre, in particular, the detailed provisions for the good management of the project between the partners. Furthermore, proposers should include a clear analysis of how this strategy would fit broadly with the relevant Smart Specialisation Strategy of the Widening country, where relevant, or an equivalent growth strategy. In the case of an upgrade of an existing centre of excellence, additional information concerning organisation profile, activities and strategy of the centre should be provided.
Information for Teaming Phase 1:
Under Phase 1, successful applicants will receive a grant that will last for 12 months, to produce an extensive, detailed and robust Business Plan for the setting-up / upgrading of a Centre of Excellence.
Proposers will be asked to demonstrate within their (single) proposal two distinct, yet complementary aspects:
The Teaming proposal will need to demonstrate that the project is based on a true joint venture between the relevant partners from both parties. This long term joint venture cooperation is expected to continue also beyond the duration of the overall Teaming project, with the partners fully committed to continue supporting the new Centre in view of achieving sustainability in the long run and hopefully financial autonomy (also by successfully competing for European and international funding programmes).
The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of EUR 0.40 million, would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting lower amounts.
Preliminary Information for Teaming Phase 2 (under WP 2018/19):
Once the 12 month CSA under Teaming Phase 1 is concluded, there will be a restricted call addressed to the participants successful in Phase 1 above for the concrete implementation of the Business Plan, i.e. for the establishment of the new/upgraded centre (Teaming, Phase 2).
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 (ESIF) or the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA II) funds.
The duration of a Teaming Phase 2 project may be between 5 to 7 years.
Further explanations for Teaming Phase 2 will be given in the future Work Programme 2018-2019.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 their scientific capabilities and enable them to engage in a strategic growth path pointing to long-term opportunities for economic development. Potential links to innovative clusters would be an asset.
- 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.
The potential impact of the new/upgraded Centre of Excellence in terms of sustained excellence should be reinforced through projected measurable key performance and output related indicators.
Benefits will also accrue to the institutions from the more intensive research and innovation performers, in terms of access to new research avenues, increased creativity and development of new approaches, as well as a source for increased mobility (inwards and outwards) of qualified scientists.