Oportunitati Horizon 2020 pentru inovatii locale Horizon 2020 opportunities for local innovations

Horizon 2020, programul UE pentru finantare a cercetarii, dezvoltarii si inovatiei (CDI) a fost lansat la sfarsitul anului trecut si a intrat in perioada de implementare incepand cu ianuarie 2014. Programul deja ofera oportunitati foarte interesante pentru proiecte de dezvoltare locala.  

Care este rationamentul Horizon 2020?

Fata de FP7, o noutate a programului Horizon 2020 este concentrarea mai mare a finantarii pe investitii care vizeaza rezolvarea unor provocari majore ale societatii europene. In urma deciziilor luate la nivelul UE prin adoptarea Agendei Europa 2020 si a propunerilor initiativei “Uniunea Inovatiei”, toate programele UE vizeaza atingerea unor obiective de dezvoltare “inteligenta, sustenabila si inclusiva”. In esenta, acele obiective se regasesc in nucleul oricarei initiative UE, si anunta trecerea la un nou mod de a gandi dezvoltarea: unul bazat pe o abordare sistemica a provocarilor economice, sociale si de mediu, si pe o accentuare a rolului folosirii si nu numai generarii rezultatelor cunoasterii, cercetarii, si inovatiei in promovarea dezvoltarii.  Pe langa universitati si institutii de cercetare, Horizon 2020 are in centru rolul firmelor, al administratiei publice, organizatiilor civice si a cetatenilor in a contura beneficiile dorite de pe urma inovatiilor.  

Prin Horizon 2020 s-au alocat fonduri catre trei mari obiective: Excelenta in stiinta, Leadership industrial si Provocari ale societatii (conform Strategiei EU2020). In plus, exista alte cateva obiective orizontale, cum ar fi “Stiinta in si pentru societate”, care promoveaza o abordare “responsabila” a cercetarii si inovatiei, si o implicare mult mai larga a publicului si a celor care urmeaza sa foloseasca rezultatele cercetarii si inovatiei, in procesul ca atare de CDI.  

Principiul pe care se bazeaza H2020 este ca se finanteaza intreg ciclul de inovare, de la cercetarea de baza, testari si protipuri, pana la demonstratii la scala mare sau reala, incurajarea comercializarii produselor in stare pre-comerciala, plus difuzarea mult mai larga a inovatiilor. Horizon 2020 este deci un program dedicat si cercetarii traditionale, dar nu numai.

Oportunitati pentru mai multa “actiune” locala si punere in practica a rezultatelor CDI

Horizon 2020 ofera mai multa flexibilitate in a introduce “actiunea” in procesul de cercetare si inovare, de a contribui la iteratii ale pasilor acestui proces, chiar si in domenii atat de multidisciplinare ca dezvoltarea locala. Pentru proiecte de dezvoltare locala vor fi foarte interesante call-urile din cadrul “Societal Challenge 6: Europe in a changing world – inclusive, innovative and reflective Societies” – programul de lucru al call-urilor pe 2014-2015 poate fi accesat aici.

Am remarcat deja cateva call-uri recente interesante ca potentiale surse de finantari de proiecte de cercetare in stiinte sociale (inclusiv in domenii ca dezvoltarea urbana, sau patrimoniu cultural), dar si de promovare a inovatiilor in dezvoltare locala, pentru care se pot depune propuneri de anul acesta pana in 2015:

REFLECTIVE-2-2015: Emergence and transmission of European cultural heritage and Europeanisation

REFLECTIVE-3-2015: European cohesion, regional and urban policies and the perceptions of Europe

REFLECTIVE-6-2015: Innovation ecosystems of digital cultural assets

INSO-1-2015: ICT-enabled open government

INSO-4-2015: Innovative schemes for open innovation and science 2.0

INSO-5-2015: Social innovation Community

E interesant de exeplu call-ul INSO-4-2015: Innovative schemes for open innovation and science 2.0, care ofera o oportunitate foarte interesanta pentru dezvoltarea capacitatii de inovare a administratiei publice, nu numai a sectorului privat. Sunt targetate activitati de creare de scheme de training si leadership in inovatie in organizatiile administratiei publice la nivel national sau regional, de exemplu prin platforme online de training, testare de curicule pentru instituirea unor procese de inovare, si de “deep dive” ale persoanelor trainuite in solutionarea unor probleme la nivel local.   

Un alt exemplu de actiune inovativa care poate obtine finantare prin Horizon 2020 – de exemplu prin INSO-5-2015: Social innovation Community sau INSO-1-2015: ICT-enabled open government (dar si prin Fonduri Structurale) sunt “Laboratoarele Vii” (Living Labs).  Conceptul a fost initiat de MIT in America si a inceput sa fie adoptat in din ce in ce mai multe organizatii, orase si regiuni in Europa, datorita caracterului lor interactiv care incurajeaza in mod natural fluiditatea proceselor de inovare.

Prin definitie, Laboratoarele Vii sunt “ecosisteme deschise de inovatie centrate pe useri / beneficiarii inovatiilor, bazate pe o abordare sistematica de “co-creare” / de implicare directa a beneficiarilor in procesul de inovatie, prin integrarea acestor procese in viata comunitatilor sau in medii reale de activitate.”  O alta denumire a Laboratoarelor Vii este cea de Public-Private-People Partnerships. Mai multe detalii se pot gasi intr-un factsheet publicat de Comisie pe platforma RIS3, plus pe Reteaua Europeana de Living Labs (ENoLL).

Laboratoarele Vii sunt centrate pe adaptarea unor noi solutii ICT la nevoile specifice ale unor comunitati diverse, cu capabilitati si contexte locale diferite.  Conceptul poate fi aplicat la procesul de inovatie locala, unde se poate observa limpede importanta includerii societatii civile sau a cetatenilor in procesul de concepere si dezvoltare a unor servicii publice. Se gasesc deja foarte multe exemple concrete de astfel de initiative pe pagina ENoLL:

  • Amsterdam Living Lab , care se concentreaza pe crearea unei organizatii sustenabile care sa ofere servicii orasului / sectorului privat / cetatenilor in generarea si utilizarea de solutii ICT pentru masurarea si imbunatatirea mobilitatii urbane, eficientei energetice, etc.  
  • CitiLab, din Barcelona, care combina calitati de centru de training si incubator de idei de inovatii sociale cu aplicatii la nivel urban.
  • Tot din Barcelona, UpSocial, impreuna cu  guvernul local, a lansat un proiect de testare si adaptare la nivel local de solutii de inovatii sociale produse deja in alte orase, care au ca scop ameliorarea unor probleme sociale ca somajul in randul tinerilor. Detalii aici.   
  • In Statele Unite, o formula de Living Lab este GovLab, deschis de Universitatea din New York, ce introduce un mod foarte dinamic si interactiv de generare si testare a unor solutii de politici publice nationale si locale.   

Networks of networks

Exista foarte multe alte instrumente noi care vin o data cu Horizon 2020, multe din ele bazate pe formarea de retele sau comunitati locale si internationale de cercetatori, universitati, actori din mediul public si privat, sau societatea civila. Daca FP7 si FP6 au deschis drumul in acest sens, Horizon 2020 pune si mai mult focus pe promovarea de aceste noi tipuri de parteneriate intre actorii sistemului de inovatie si o mai buna conectare a cererii si ofertei de inovatii in modalitati de rezolvare a unor probleme din societate. Mai jos sunt doua alte initiative noi, la care am putea participa pe viitor: 

  • Desi actioneaza la nivel european ca o suma de retele europene de initiative locale,  Parteneriatele Europene de Inovare (EIP) sunt focalizate pe promovarea coordonarii activitatilor CDI la nivel european pe anumite domenii tematice, care corespund provocarilor societale identificate la nivel UE (imbatranirea populatiei, agricultura sustenabila, apa, materii prime, orase inteligente). EIP pentru Orase Inteligente are de exemplu rolul de a difuza inovatiile din reteaua formata la nivel european si sa creeze sinergii intre ele. Pentru asta, s-au constituit deja primele retele de proiecte si s-a publicat o platforma de stakeholderi deschisa publicului. EIP-urile nu sunt totusi mecanisme de finantare directa, proiectele din cadrul lor trebuie sa obtina finantare prin call-uri separate (tot prin Horizon 2020, Fonduri Structurale sau alte surse nationale si / sau private).
  • Alta prioritate a Horizon 2020 este Institutul European de Tehnologie (EIT).. Un instrument interesant al institutului este conceptul de Knowledge and Innovation Community (KIC), care se constituie ca o entitate (privata, publica, sau non-profit), ce coordoneaza actorii din asa-zisul “Triunghi al Cunoasterii” (Knowledge Triangle)  – din sectorul cercetarii, din educatie si din mediul privat. Formulele de organizare ale acestor KICs merita investigate si poate aplicate si la noi, pentru ca au potentialul de a crea un mediu de colaborare intre sectoare ce poate accelera procesul de obtinere a rezultatelor cercetarii si difuzarea cunostintelor. Exista 17 astfel EIT KICs la nivel european, si au fost constituite ca centre de co-locatie ce promoveaza inovatia in domenii tematice ca Schimbarile Climatice, Energia sustenabila si ICT. In 2014 se vor lansa inca doua call-uri de formare de astfel de Comunitati de inovatie pe modelul KIC-urilor existente, in domenii ca imbatranirea populatiei si materii prime (folosirea eficienta a resurselor naturale).

Horizon 2020, the EU program for funding research & development and innovation (RDI) was launched last year and entered the implementation period in January 2014. It already offers interesting opportunities for local development projects.

What is some of the reasoning behind Horizon 2020?

Unlike FP7, the new Horizon 2020 program  has a stronger focus on financing investment aimed at solving some major challenges of the European society. Following previous EU-level decisions such as the adoption of the Europe 2020 Strategy and the establishment of  flagship initiatives such as “Innovation Union”, all EU programs have been mainstreamed towards achieving the development goals of “smart, sustainable and inclusive” growth. In essence, those targets are found at the core of any EU initiative and announce the transition to a new way of thinking development: one based on a systemic approach to the economic, social and environmental aspects, and an emphasis on the role of not only generating knowledge, but also using the RDI results in promoting development. In addition to universities and research institutions, Horizon 2020 centers on the role of companies, public administration, civic organizations and citizens to the shape desired benefits from innovation.

Horizon 2020 funds were allocated to three main objectives: Excellence in science, Industrial Leadership and Societal Challenges (ase set in the EU 2020 Strategy). In addition, there are several other horizontal objectives such as the “Science with and for society” approach, promoting “responsible” research and innovation, and a broad involvement of the public and those who are to use the results of the RDI process as such.

H2020 finances the entire innovation cycle, from basic and applied research, testing and protyping, to large scale or real-scale demonstrations of technological or non-technological developments, encouraging commercialization of products in pre-commercial status, plus much wider diffusion of innovations. Thus, Horizon 2020 does not only fund basic research, but much wider applications of it.

Opportunities for more local “action” and application of RDI results
Horizon 2020 provides even more flexibility to introduce “action” in the process of research and innovation, to help develop iterations of the different steps needed to refine the RDI results, even in multidisciplinary areas such as local development. The Horizon 2020 stream of calls that would be very interesting for local development projects within the objective of “Societal Challenge 6: Europe in a changing world – inclusive, innovative and reflective Societies” – work program call sites in 2014-2015 can be accessed here.

We already found some interesting recent calls for proposals as potential sources of funding for research projects in the fields of social sciences (including in the areas of urban development, or cultural heritage), as well as for “action-research” projects promoting innovation in local development, for which proposals may be submitted by 2015:

REFLECTIVE-2-2015: Emergence and transmission of European cultural heritage and Europeanisation

REFLECTIVE-3-2015: European cohesion, regional and urban policies and the perceptions of Europe

REFLECTIVE-6-2015: Innovation ecosystems of digital cultural assets

INSO-1-2015: ICT-enabled open government

INSO-4-2015: Innovative schemes for open innovation and science 2.0

INSO-5-2015: Social innovation Community

It’s interesting to take a look for example at the accompanying call INSO-4-2015: Innovative schemes for open innovation and science 2.0, which provides a very exciting opportunity for the development of the innovation capacity of the public administration. Activities are targeted to create training and leadership schemes in driving in innovation in public administrations at national, regional or local level, for example through online platforms for training, testing curriculum for establishing innovation processes, and the “deep dive” of people trained in solving local problems.

Another example of innovative actions that can be financed by Horizon in 2020 (and the Structural Funds) are the Living Labs. The concept was initiated by MIT in the US and began to be increasingly adopted in many organizations, cities and regions in Europe , thanks to the labs’ underlying interactivity that naturally encourages fluidity and innovation processes.

By definition, Living Labs are “open ecosystem of innovation focused on users / beneficiaries of innovations, based on a systematic approach of “co -creation” / direct involvement of beneficiaries in the process of innovation by integrating these processes in living communities or real-life environments.” Another name for living labs is given by the Public-Private-People Partnerships.  See more on this in a factsheet on the RIS3 platform, plus the European Network of Living Labs (ENoLL).

Living Labs are focused particularly on adapting new ICT solutions to the specific needs of diverse communities with different capabilities and local contexts. The concept can totally be applied to the local innovation where we can see clearly the importance of including civil society and citizens in the design and development of public services . There are already many examples of such initiatives on ENoLL:

  • Amsterdam Living Lab, which focuses on creating a sustainable organization that will include city / private sector / citizens in the generation and use of ICT solutions for measuring and improving urban mobility, energy efficiency, etc..
  • CitiLab in Barcelona that combines qualities training center and incubator of ideas of social innovation in urban applications.
  • Another example, also from Barcelona, where UpSocial, together with the local government has launched a project to test and adapt to local social innovation solutions already occurred in other cities, which aim to improve social problems like unemployment among young . Details here.
  • Another Living Lab formula can be found in the United States. It was adopted by  GovLab that opened at the University of New York, which introduced a very dynamic and interactive process of solution generation and testing to improve national and local public policies and open up the government.

Networks of networks

There are many other new tools that come along with Horizon 2020, many of them based on the formation of  international networks of local communities, researchers and innovators, universities, private and public sector actors, and civil society. If FP6 and FP7 have been pioneering in this regard, Horizon 2020 puts even more focus on promoting these new types of partnerships between actors in innovation systems and on better connecting the current supply of and demand for innovations in solving societal problems. Below are two other new initiatives that we could participate in in the future:

  • Although operating at European level as a sum of European neteworks of local initiatives, the European Innovation Partnerships (EIP) are focused on the European-wide coordination of research and innovation on specific thematic areas corresponding to identified societal challenges at EU level (ageing population, sustainable agriculture, water, raw materials, smart cities). For example, EIP on Smart Cities has already established a stakeholder platform open to the public, in order to disseminate innovations through European networks and make synergies between these projects. EIPs are not yet direct financing mechanisms, and participating initiatives should seek separate financing  (from Horizon 2020, Structural Funds or other national and/ or private sources).
  • Another Horizon 2020 priority is the European Institute of Technology (EIT). An interesting EIT tool is the Knowledge and Innovation Community (KIC), which is an entity (private, public or non -profit ) that coordinates the actors of the so-called “Knowledge triangle”: the research sector, the education and the private sector. The organizational formulas of these KICs are worth investigating, as they have the potential to create an environment of cross-sectoral collaboration that can accelerate the process of obtaining the results of research and the dissemination of knowledge. There are 17 such EIT KICs at European level. They were established as co-location centers promoting innovation in thematic areas such as climate change, sustainable energy and ICT. In 2014 EIT will launch two more calls for the formation of such joint innovation projects in areas such as healthy ageing and raw materials (resource efficiency), based on the model of the existing KICs.