Updated daily at www.ResearchResearch.

com
18 June 2015

EU anti-fraud office accused
of data manipulation – p5

Poland Big ambition, big problems – p8
Earma University voices in Brussels and
promoting responsible research – p6, 7

Widening participation
‘needs a bigger budget’
Funding too limited to have desired effect, says Polish minister
The three funding schemes aimed at increasing the participation of the newest EU member states in Horizon
2020 are not making a difference in the largest of
those countries, a senior Polish official has said.
According to Włodzisław Duch, Poland’s undersecretary of state for science and higher education, the
resources allocated to the Spreading Excellence and
Widening Participation part of Horizon 2020 are too
limited to have any impact on a country with a population of 38 million. The European Commission, he says,
should have paid more attention to his country’s size
and characteristics when designing the programme.
“We are quite happy with the introduction of this
‘widening’ agenda, but one has to realise that getting
one Teaming project will not change the overall situation here, as it might in a country such as Estonia,” he
says (see Interview, page 8).
The schemes were introduced to boost research
quality in poorly performing countries, including
13 eastern European states and Cyprus, Malta, Portugal
and Luxembourg. According to the Commission, the
first calls under the three schemes have already proved
that there is strong interest from these countries.
The Teaming initiative—which supports the creation
and upgrade of centres of excellence in participating
countries by creating partnerships with top-quality
institutions—has been the most competitive. The
Commission received 169 proposals during its first call
and funded 31, giving a success rate of 18 per cent.
The European Research Area Chairs scheme, which
funds professorships for top researchers at institutes
in participating countries, received 88 proposals, of
which 30 were selected for funding. A further 553 proposals are now being assessed for the third scheme,
the Twinning initiative, which aims to strengthen
excellence in particular departments by creating links
with at least two external partners and supporting
training activities for researchers.
According to Duch, Poland has been granted three
ERA Chairs and three Teaming projects—but these will
have a limited impact in a country that, by his estimate,
has about 100,000 full-time researchers. Negotiations

by Cristina Gallardo

cgnews@ResearchResearch.com

for the next Framework programme, to run from 2021,
have yet to begin, but Duch is already calling for an
increase in the combined budget of these three schemes
from their Horizon 2020 level of €722 million—or 1 per
cent of the programme—over seven years.
Representatives of several participating countries
declined to comment until the impact of the schemes
becomes clearer, but the head of Romania’s Office for
Science and Technology in Brussels backed Duch’s
stance. “Romania definitely supports Poland,” Iulia
Mihail says. “The Commission should be much more
committed to a ‘Europe for all’ and not predominantly
for the oldest members.”
But Daniel Straka, the director of the Slovak Liaison
Office for R&D in Brussels, says he’ll be satisfied if
the Commission continues to provide the same level
of funding for the schemes. “We felt great relief that
there was not going to be any cut to this pillar due to
the European Fund for Strategic Investments,” he says.
Duch’s call for the schemes to be expanded is likely
to be resisted by older member states, who will argue
that it would take too much Horizon 2020 money away
from projects selected solely on the basis of excellence
or relevance to societal goals.
Dimitri Corpakis, the Commission official in charge of
widening participation, says that its budget will probably remain stable. “It is unlikely that the programme
will receive a higher budget, because capacity building is not a priority in the Framework programme,” he
says. Corpakis suggests that eastern European governments combine the schemes with EU structural funds
to strengthen their research systems.
“It is unacceptable that 90 per
Every new opportunity
cent of the Horizon 2020 budget is
for research funding
going to old member states, while
from every sponsor in
80 per cent of the regional funds
the EU, US & beyond
go to the new ones,” says the Dutch
Independent news
MEP Lambert van Nistelrooij of the
European People’s Party. “We need
Direct from Brussels
to come to a better balance.”
Issue No. 411

2  editorial

Research Europe, 18 June 2015
Edited by Colin Macilwain
Europe@ResearchResearch.com
Tel: +44 20 7216 6500
Fax: +44 20 7216 6501
Unit 111, 134-146 Curtain Road, London EC2A 3AR

A critical function
The EU’s fraud-busting office is having a
crisis of confidence
Internal auditing for probity is a challenge for any organisation, governmental or otherwise. Where should the inspectors sit? Who pays them?
Who can ensure their independence? And who inspects the inspectors?
The European Anti-Fraud Office, Olaf, has been wrestling with these
questions since 1999, when it was established in the aftermath of the
ugly collapse of the Santer Commission amid allegations of fraud.
Olaf has had its successes, prosecuting hundreds of cases and recovering misappropriated money. But despite having more than 400 staff, it
remains a low-profile operation—and it isn’t clear whether it enjoys the
unalloyed confidence of the European public that it needs to do its job.
Last month, the five-person supervisory committee that is supposed to
keep an eye on Olaf issued a robust and critical report, concluding that
the EU “should improve the procedures ensuring the accountability of
Olaf and its senior management in the performance of their duties”.
Earlier this month, MEPs were even more scathing, claiming that the
office has in effect been gaming the way it records its investigations, so
as to make its throughput seem more impressive (see News, page 5). The
European Commission has responded by setting up a task force to look at
the use of structural funds in eight countries.
The politics behind some of the European Parliament’s criticism is murky.
The office’s director, Giovanni Kessler, drew fire from MEPs two years ago
over Olaf’s role in the downfall of John Dalli, the Maltese health commissioner who resigned after allegations concerning his relations with the
tobacco industry. That fire has continued from across the political spectrum in the Parliament. Only last week, the Belgian MEP Bart Staes called
for Kessler to step down.
The real issue here is whether the office, under Kessler, enjoys sufficient public confidence to perform its function. An investigative office
of this type has to be above reproach if it is to operate as an effective
watchdog on the malfeasance of others.
Unlike the Court of Auditors, say, the work of which is almost universally respected, Olaf seems to lack that credibility. This is truly unfortunate,
because the need for investigations of fraud has never been greater. Olaf
says that it investigated 1,400 fraud allegations last year: up by 100 from
2013, and the largest number in its history.
Structural funds, in particular, have been disbursed in ways that continue to draw complaints and arouse suspicion. The Commission task
force will look into that now, but the question of Olaf’s competence
remains open. The Parliament and the Commission have so far declined
to launch a wider inquiry into the office’s performance or governance.
What is clear is that the constant squabbling over the fraud office is
damaging and unacceptable. The unhappiness of the supervisory committee and the disquiet in the Parliament cast shadows over the office,
and continue to undermine public confidence in the ability of the EU
to manage its funds reliably, transparently and honestly. The people of
Europe deserve better.

elsewhere
“Hello Earth! Can you hear me?”
The European Space Agency’s Philae probe
tells the world it is awake after seven months
in hibernation on Comet 67A, having passed
close enough to the sun to recharge its solarpowered battery. Twitter, 14/6/15.
“We get it.”
Matt Brittin, the vice-president of Google,
says the company has finally realised that
it failed to understand European values
when building its business in the EU, leading to anti-trust charges from the European
Commission. Politico, 5/6/15.
“Reputation matters hugely to scientists,
but only with regards to the number of
papers you publish. We don’t care whether
a scientist has a reputation for being honest or rigorous because it gets you nowhere
in the current model of academia.”
An academic writing anonymously says that
group leaders regularly being listed as authors
on papers they had no involvement in is tantamount to fraud. The Guardian, 5/6/16.
“Merkel didn’t have to, but she went all in.”
Daniel Boese, a campaigner for the prodemocracy group Avaaz, says the German
chancellor Angela Merkel must be applauded
for convincing G7 leaders at the Schloss
Elmau summit to cut carbon emissions by at
least 40 per cent by 2050. Politico, 8/6/15.
“The goal is not to revive old quarrels.”
The Belgian finance minister Johan Van
Overtveldt defends his country’s decision to
mint a €2.50 coin to commemorate the 200th
anniversary of the battle of Waterloo, despite
objections from Paris. The Guardian, 8/6/15.

decade
“By deciding where to
invest, governments will
show what kind of Europe
they want: a Europe of the
past, redistributing the
wealth we have, or a Europe
of the future, thriving on
knowledge and creating more
prosperity for more people.”
The research commissioner Janez
Potocˇnik says that any cut to research
spending in the 2007-13 budget would
reflect badly on member states’ commitment to the Lisbon strategy, after hints
that national ministers could slash funds
for Framework 7 by 25 per cent.
Research Europe, 16 June 2005

Research Europe, 18 June 2015

news  3

what’s going on
MEPs call for 2016 budget stability
The European Parliament’s Committee on Industry, Research and Energy has published a set of
amendments to the European Commission’s 2016 budget proposals, emphasising that member
states should maintain the agreed budget for Horizon 2020. The Itre committee says it wants to
ensure that no more money is taken from the programme in budget negotiations for next year,
after the Parliament, the Commission and the Council of Ministers agreed to divert €2.2 billion
from Horizon 2020 to the European Fund for Strategic Investments.
Moedas pledge on cultural heritage
Carlos Moedas, the commissioner for research and innovation, has promised more than
€100 million in Horizon 2020 funding for cultural heritage research in the next two years.
The commitment, which will largely benefit anthropologists, archaeologists and curators, was
announced at the EU Prize for Cultural Heritage ceremony in Oslo on 11 June.
Graphene programme admits to slow progress
Participants in the EU’s Graphene Flagship programme have said that they need more time to
demonstrate impact, following criticism that the initiative has been slow to produce results. At
a meeting on 2 June, participants told MEPs that they would deliver commercial applications as
promised—but that they need at least 10 more years to do so.
Erasmus loans start in Spain
Students in Spain who wish to take masters degrees abroad, and students from elsewhere wanting
to study in Spain, are to gain access to €30 million in loans from the Erasmus+ Master Loan
scheme. The initiative, agreed by the European Commission, the European Investment Fund and
Spain’s MicroBank on 11 June, will offer up to €12,000 for one-year courses and €18,000 for twoyear courses. The plan is to ultimately expand the scheme to all 33 Erasmus+ member countries.
Drug firms accused of exacerbating resistance problem
A report on the manufacturing practices of some of the world’s biggest drug companies has said
that many source antibiotics from Chinese factories that dump raw pharmaceutical materials
into the environment, desensitising bacteria to common antibiotics. The report by the consumer
advocacy group Sum of Us said that Pfizer and other firms were sourcing from polluting factories.
MEPs back gender equality package
The European Parliament has approved a proposal to take action against gender discrimination,
including specific provisions to fight inequalities in academia. At a plenary session on 9 June,
MEPs voted in favour of a report on the topic prepared by Maria Noichl, a social-democrat MEP
from Germany. The report, which suggests introducing gender equality as a criterion for all
EU-funded research programmes, received 341 votes in favour, 281 against and 81 abstentions.
Call for sharper public-private response to disease outbreaks
More should be done to encourage businesses—such as pharmaceutical and communications
companies—to work with governments and other public organisations to tackle future global
disease outbreaks, according to a report published on 4 June by the World Economic Forum
and the Boston Consulting Group. The report examines the response of businesses to the Ebola
outbreak and suggests models for better public-private cooperation.

4  news

Research Europe, 18 June 2015

europe

Russians rally behind science foundation
classified as ‘foreign agent’
Russian researchers have gathered in Moscow to protest
against a government decision that could lead to the
closure of a charitable science foundation.
On 25 May, the Russian government announced
that the Dynasty Foundation would be classed as a
“foreign agent”. Under rules introduced in 2012, any non­governmental organisation that engages in “political
activity” and receives “foreign funding” must join a register and use the title of foreign agent—which carries
connotations of spying—in all of its public activities.
About 3,000 people—including researchers, students, journalists and human rights activists—gathered
in Moscow’s Suvorovskaya Square on 6 June to protest
against the decision, which has left the foundation
threatening to close its doors. Protesters are also unhappy about an overhaul of the Russian Academy of Sciences
that they feel would cause it to lose its independence.
“It’s a tragedy that a charity supporting Russian
researchers is being threatened,” says Paul Chaisty,
an associate professor of Russian government at the
University of Oxford. “The last thing Russia needs is for
another investor to withdraw from the country.”
The foundation, which is solely funded by the 82-yearold Russian businessman Dmitry Zimin, is said to have
fallen foul of the legislation because Zimin holds all of
his money overseas. If Zimin stops financing the foundation—which provides about €8.8 million a year to fund

europe
in brief

ESA shortlists major projects
for 2025 launch
The European Space Agency has
narrowed down the possible
research topics for a planned 2025 launch to exoplanets, plasma physics and X-ray emissions in space. The
three projects, shortlisted from 27 proposals, are: the
Atmospheric Remote-Sensing Infrared Exoplanet LargeSurvey (Ariel), the Turbulence Heating Observer (Thor)
and the X-ray Imaging Polarimetry Explorer (Xipe).
Pirate MEP in copyright push
The European Commission is being far too cautious in
its proposed reforms to copyright, the German MEP Julia
Reda has said. Reda, the vice-president of the Greens
and European Free Alliance group and a member of the
German Pirate Party, is pressing for a single European
copyright law to apply in all member states.
Patent office grants awards
The European Patent Office has awarded innovation
prizes for inventions that have helped to tackle societal
challenges such as energy efficiency and health. A life-

by Lindsay McKenzie

lmnews@ResearchResearch.com

fellowships for young Russian researchers, as well as
textbooks for schools and a translation service—it would
leave a gap in Russia’s research funding infrastructure
that would be difficult to fill, says Konstantin Severinov,
a biologist at the Skolkovo Institute of Science and
Technology near Moscow.
“With funding from the Russian state agencies,
including the Russian Academy of Sciences, it is close
to impossible to legally do things like invite speakers from abroad or support short-term research visits
from Russian scientists abroad,” says Severinov. “With
Dynasty funds you were able to do that.”
Although the foundation is regarded as being more
westward-looking than other Russian funders, Severinov
says that its funding “is designed to develop and keep
local talent in Russia”.
Where Zimin will take his funds if he does close the
foundation is unclear. Research Europe understands that
he has held meetings with European universities to discuss the creation of fellowships for Russian researchers
to study in the EU.
A Moscow-based spokeswoman for the foundation
said that a decision about its future would be made in
the next few weeks, but that funding already allocated
would be spent as planned.
time achievement award was presented to Andreas Manz,
a Swiss chemist, for his invention of microlab chips, and
the Popular Prize went to Ian Frazer of Australia and
the late Jian Zhou of China for their work on a vaccine
against cervical cancer.
European research lab for Facebook
Facebook has announced that it is to open a small
research laboratory in Paris to study artificial intelligence. The lab will provide a space for six researchers
to develop automated language and image recognition software, in collaboration with the French public
research institute Inria. Researchers will also work on
machine learning techniques and live translation tools.
EU backs Latin American projects
The European Commission has unveiled a package
of projects, funded with €118 million, to support
small businesses in Latin America that are working on
research, innovation and energy. The projects were
announced during a business summit of representatives
of the EU and the Community of Latin American and
Caribbean States, held in Brussels on 10 June.

  news  5

Research Europe, 18 June 2015

Parliament accuses anti-fraud
office of manipulating data
The European Parliament has called for a restructuring of
the European Anti-Fraud Office, Olaf, claiming that the
agency manipulated its statistics on fraud investigations.
In a resolution passed on 10 June, MEPs called on
the European Commission to deliver an action plan by
December to address problems raised by Olaf’s supervisory committee in a report published on 4 May. The
resolution was opposed by the socialist and Eurosceptic
groups in the Parliament, but backed by other parties.
In its report, the supervisory committee said that
Olaf was splitting large cases into many smaller ones.
According to MEPs, this is done artificially to improve
the agency’s statistics and give the impression that it
is working effectively and completing investigations
quickly. “Olaf has been manipulating the statistics to
hide the fact that investigations indeed take more than
12 months,” says Bart Staes, a Green MEP from Belgium.
“This is a scandal. We need a reliable anti-fraud office.”
Ingeborg Gräßle, the chairwoman of the Parliament’s
Committee on Budgetary Control and a German European
People’s Party MEP, agrees. “We are looking at dreadful
irregularities in the audits,” she said during the parlia-

by Cristina Gallardo

cgnews@ResearchResearch.com

mentary debate. “The whole thing stinks to high heaven.”
According to the committee, nearly half of the Olaf
investigations that last more than 12 months concern
the use of structural funds—a category of funding
increasingly used for projects related to research. At the
end of 2014, Olaf was undertaking 153 investigations
into projects involving €476.5 million from those funds.
Giovanni Kessler, the Italian magistrate who heads
Olaf, told Research Europe: “Structural funds cases often
concern myriad authorities from several countries, so
their duration should not come as a surprise. These accusations are totally groundless. The report’s messages have
come across in a hyped and politicised way.”
In response to the criticism, the Commission has promised to take action on Olaf and also set up a task force
to look at how eight countries—Bulgaria, Croatia, the
Czech Republic, Hungary, Italy, Romania, Slovakia and
Slovenia—use their structural funds. According to Staes,
however, the first step should be to replace Kessler. “We
don’t trust him any more. He should step down.”

Innovation policy researchers told to ‘get real’
Academics studying research and innovation systems
often fail to consider the realistic capabilities of governments, a conference has heard.
At the European Forum for Studies of Policies for
Research and Innovation, Susana Borrás, an innovation
and governance researcher at Copenhagen Business
School, said that many researchers did not consider
existing governmental or societal contexts in their theory, or reflect the realistic potential for change.
“We need to bring into our analysis what policy is
actually doing,” she said. Many policy researchers are
too idealistic and treat practical recommendations as a
“separate entity” added on at the end—instead of incorporating them into the research design. This leads to a
gap between academics’ abstract suggestions and the
reality of the problems faced by policymakers, she said.
The conference, held in Helsinki from 10 to 12 June,
brought together 200 academics, government representatives and funding agencies. Borrás made five
suggestions for a policy research agenda that could help
to bridge the divide, including an analysis of the difference between what a government says and what it does.
A secondary problem identified by Borrás is that
researchers often overestimate the ability or willingness

by Jenny Maukola in Helsinki jemnews@ResearchResearch.com

of policymakers to get to grips with complex academic
solutions. “Politicians are generalists,” she said. “They
look at the work and say, ‘It’s interesting, but my real
world is quite different.’”
Academics also make the mistake of treating the government as one entity that acts with one purpose, said
Borrás, instead of appreciating the intricacies of different ministries and administrative branches.
Researchers must not only examine government policies in terms of research and innovation, but also look
more closely at the regulatory environment in areas such
as health, environmental protection and defence, Borrás
said, as these often overlap or collide.
Her observations were widely accepted at the conference, with attendees saying they could do more to
improve their impact. Charles Edquist, the founder of
the Circle innovation centre at Lund University, said
that policy research in risk financing had failed to get
the government’s attention in Sweden, where policies have pushed public investment towards late-stage
development. Researchers should focus on similar reallife policy problems to improve the relationship, he said.

6  comment

Research Europe, 18 June 2015

e a r m a 2 0 1 5    h e e b ø l l & b r u u n

Branch, bureau, club or union:
how universities work in Brussels
More and more European universities are establishing
representation in Brussels. They do so for many reasons:
to seek intelligence on Horizon 2020 and influence in
the European Commission; to raise the profile of their
research agenda in the European Parliament; and to find
networking opportunities and potential partners among
the huge number of universities, regions, cities, organisations and business groups represented there.
However, when we began to investigate this highly
specialised branch of research management and administration, we could find no analyses—even though we
work in Brussels for Danish universities. So we started digging. We went through about 300 webpages,
conducted a dozen interviews and consulted lists of university networks to gather information about the scale
and scope of university representation in Brussels.
We found that about 100 universities, organised in
46 different offices, have at least one employee in the
city or have otherwise dedicated resources to working
there. With 31 universities, the UK has the highest number; and Scandinavia is also a well-represented region,
with 26 universities present in Brussels.
Interestingly, we found that universities with Brussels
representation won an average of €3.6 million in signed
grant agreements in the first year of Horizon 2020. For
those without, the average was €1.4m.
Our interviews revealed that the main reasons for
being in Brussels were to gain intelligence, influence,
contacts and funding. The specific goals varied a great
deal between universities. Some stressed the value of
less tangible assets such as networking and early intelligence, whereas others set concrete funding goals.
From our interviews and mapping, four types of
representation emerged, each with its particular challenges, set-ups, aims and control mechanisms. We call
the most basic form of representation ‘the Branch’. Here,
the Brussels office is essentially
part of the home university. These
are relatively easy to set up, usually
just involving the relocation of an
employee. Little effort is required to
integrate with the home university,
so the office is quickly operational.
The University of Wolverhampton
took this option, for example.
We call the next level of representation ‘the Bureau’. Here, the
university contracts an existing
office to represent it in Brussels or

‘Universities
often establish
a Brussels
presence without
knowing what
they want to
achieve.’

perform certain tasks. The advantages are that the existing representation often has a set-up and network that
the university can tap into. An example of this is the
University of Southern Denmark’s presence in the South
Denmark European Office.
Alternatively, universities can join forces—an
approach we call ‘the Club’. This can be based on geography or shared goals, and usually involves a greater
administrative and financial commitment than a branch
office or bureau. It typically increases collaboration
between the universities involved, but laying out a
common strategic track can be challenging. Examples
of clubs include the League of European Research
Universities, the EuroTech alliance of technical universities and the EU office of the Capital Region of Denmark.
Finally, there is ‘the Union’, bringing together a large
number of a certain type of institution. This approach
creates a united and influential voice, albeit one that
can usually speak only on overarching issues. Examples
include the European University Association and NethER, which represents Dutch universities at the EU level.
Any university considering a Brussels operation
should consider which of these categories best suits its
purposes, and design its approach accordingly.
Making representation in Brussels work is, of course,
not without its challenges. In particular, the relationship with the home institution kept surfacing in our
interviews. Physical distance from the institution’s
administration can create communication difficulties,
so care is needed to ensure that good links are maintained with administrative staff and researchers.
Getting the right structure of reporting lines and managerial links with the home institution can be tough,
and successful representation requires resources to be
allocated at both ends. Added to this, universities often
establish a presence in Brussels without being sure what
they want to achieve, resulting in a lack of focus.
Opening a Brussels office, then, should not be done
lightly and is not a magic route to European influence
and resources. But for those universities willing to make
the effort, representation in Brussels can help them
to gain intelligence and influence on Horizon 2020,
increasing their chances of winning funds.
More to say? Email comment@ResearchResearch.com
Ida Heebøll is the EU adviser at the Capital Region
Denmark EU Office. Christian Walther Bruun is the EU
representative for the University of Southern Denmark at
the South Denmark European Office.

  comment  7

Research Europe, 18 June 2015

lópez-verdeguer & smallman

Making responsibility a reality
Responsible Research and Innovation is a cross-cutting
theme of Horizon 2020. The European Commission
describes RRI as “an approach that, in regard to science,
anticipates and assesses potential implications and
societal expectations, with the aim to foster the design
of inclusive and sustainable research and innovation”.
The basic idea is simple and powerful: given science and
innovation’s power to transform our world, we need to
make sure that they work with and for society.
But what does this mean in practice? What does it
mean for research and researchers? These are the questions that we are setting out to answer in our RRI Tools
project, and that we will be discussing at the European
Association of Research Managers and Administrators’
conference in Leiden, the Netherlands, later this month.
The aim of our project is to develop an RRI toolkit.
This initiative, which runs from 2014 to 2016 and
is funded by Framework 7, involves 26 institutions
from across Europe, led by the La Caixa Foundation in
Barcelona. We are developing digital tools and training
programmes to bring the RRI idea to life in five important areas: research, industry, policy-making, civil
society and education.
Our first steps have been to explore perceptions of RRI
in these areas and identify emerging needs and actions.
Last autumn, we ran 30 workshops in 22 countries across
Europe, bringing together more than 400 people to discuss how to make RRI happen.
These workshops yielded rich feedback. Interestingly,
participants believed that RRI had as much to offer the
culture of research as it did wider society. Possible
benefits include avoiding public controversies around
science and technology, and recognising and potentially
transforming the wider system of institutions, rules and
incentives that shape scientists’ work.
Researchers in particular viewed RRI as an opportunity to increase understanding of their role in society.
RRI may also lead to an increase in the number and
range of science vocations, participants pointed out,
and encouraging researchers to engage with wider
perspectives and different networks could increase the
creativity and quality of their work. Opportunities to
transform the peer-review process in an open-access
system and to develop new citation practices were also
raised as possible benefits, along with making use of all
talents—regardless of, for example, gender—and focusing on longer-term problems.
Ignasi López-Verdeguer is the project director for RRI
Tools at the La Caixa Foundation in Barcelona. Melanie
Smallman is the deputy director of the RRI Hub at
University College London. See www.rri-tools.eu.

As well as potential benefits, our workshops identified
significant obstacles to achieving RRI. Besides the challenges of understanding precisely what RRI means and
of changing people’s behaviour, participants described
how the pressure to publish encouraged a view of science that cut it into disconnected projects rather than
revealing the big picture.
Another problem raised was the way in which science
is assessed: this may hold back RRI, as research evaluation tends to be rooted in productivity rather than social
relevance. Some participants even argued that the prevalent evaluation procedures may sometimes undermine
RRI objectives.
No-one sees RRI as a panacea, or is under the illusion that its implementation will be frictionless. The
unpredictability of science and the right to academic
freedom are just two stumbling blocks that will prevent
that from being the case.
A host of questions remain unanswered: How should
RRI change how we plan research? At what point can we
judge if its outcomes will be desirable or not? Who can
be expected to take responsibility for such a networked
activity and diverse outcomes? How do we manage collective responsibility? How do we get the benefits of RRI
while minimising the potential downsides?
Participants’ suggestions for encouraging take-up of
RRI included finding ways to make the concept relevant
for different groups and highlighting outstanding examples. They discussed the possibility of setting RRI as a
requirement for research funding—and in a meaningful
way, rather than as a box-ticking exercise.
Other ideas include ensuring that research funding reflects society’s needs and considers socially
desirable outcomes, and using research data to help
us understand and challenge whether these goals are
being achieved. Participants saw that an RRI perspective could provide opportunities to build relationships
between the various relevant parties and the public.
Developing practical training and guidance on how to
‘do’ RRI was also seen as a priority for
the immediate future.
Over the next few months, those
of us involved in the RRI Tools project will be working with all of the
advice we have gathered to compile
and develop tools that encourage
and support take-up of the concepts
and practices associated with RRI.
We can’t do it alone, so please get in
touch if you wish to find out more.
Something to add? Email comment@
ResearchResearch.com

‘How do we get
the benefits
of responsible
research and
innovation while
minimising the
downsides?’

8  news

Research Europe, 18 June 2015

i n t e r v i e w    w ł o d z i s ł a w d u c h

A long way to go
Poland’s science and higher education minister tells Cristina Gallardo of the
country’s recurrent research woes.
Poland is the largest of the 13 newest EU member states,
and also the largest single recipient of EU structural
funds for 2014-20. Some €77.6 billion has been allocated
to the country—and the pressure is on to show that the
money is spent wisely.
Włodzisław Duch, a 51-year-old physicist who arrived
at the Polish science ministry in April 2014 after two
years as vice-rector at the Nicolaus Copernicus University
in Torun´, admits that several issues still cast shadows
over the country’s research system.
Despite heavy EU spending in the past decade, and
some positive developments such as the launch of a
Polish Space Agency last month, the country is still facing brain drain, a lack of innovation and collaboration
between universities and industry, and low academic
salaries. “We are not satisfied with the state of research
at the moment,” Duch says.
The aim is to use the structural funds to employ the
right people in teaching and research, he says, in contrast with the past emphasis on buildings and equipment.
But other sources for research funding in Poland
remain scarce, with both public and private spending falling well below the thresholds desired by the
European Commission. The Polish
government—a coalition between
Włodzisław Duch
the Civic Platform and the Polish
2012-present Undersecretary
People’s Party—is theoretically
of state for science and higher
committed to doubling spending
education, Poland
on R&D from 0.9 to 1.7 per cent
2012-2014 Vice-rector,
of GDP by 2020. Duch says this
Nicolaus Copernicus University,
Poland
remarkable target has now been
2010-2012 Visiting profesincreased further, to 2 per cent.
sor, Nanyang Technological
An increase is needed to satUniversity, Singapore
isfy the myriad research facilities
2000-present Professor,
that were built using structural
Nicolaus Copernicus University
funds from Framework 7, many
1998-2008 President, DuchSoft
of which are already struggling to
R&D company
fund their operations. “We have
1996-2001 Visiting scienreceived dozens of requests from
tist, Max Planck Institutes for
Astrophysics and Psychological
laboratories asking for additional
Research, Germany
money to complete some parts
1990-1999 Associate professor,
of the work they are undertakNicolaus Copernicus University
ing,” Duch says. “The number
1980-1982 Postdoctoral felof requests is growing and that
low, University of Southern
shows that researchers are ambiCalifornia
tious—but also that we don’t have
1980 PhD in quantum physics,
Nicolaus Copernicus University
enough funding.”

*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*

The Commission has praised Poland’s efforts to
increase competitive funding, which accounts for 52 per
cent of publicly funded R&D. The rest is allocated to
national research institutes on the basis of evaluations
carried out by the ministry every four years, the latest
of which is now under way. The previous evaluation,
in 2011, led to a series of closures and mergers that,
according to Duch, have helped to ensure that the surviving institutes are financially sound.
The work of researchers in Poland is also made more
difficult, Duch says, by a heavy teaching load at universities, scant experience of knowledge transfer, and too few
international partners.
Several EU and Polish initiatives are aiming to attract
Polish emigrants back to the country. Duch acknowledges, however, that most returnees are near the end of
their careers: younger talent is still leaving in search of
better working conditions and higher pay.
One reason for emigration is the salary gap between
Horizon 2020 grantees working in western and eastern
Europe—an unresolved issue, Duch says, despite the
Commission’s decision in 2012 to introduce a bonus of
up to €8,000 a year on top of basic salaries. The consequences of the gap are still “rather severe” in Poland, he
adds, which is leading a group of nine countries pressing
the Commission for more solutions.
“In Poland, the basic wage is always low, but researchers receive lots of different motivational bonuses, for
activities such as publishing or writing reviews,” he says.
“Polish researchers are starting to say that they are not
willing to apply for Horizon 2020 calls because they can
receive a bigger amount from national grants.”
The official goal is for Poland to win €1.5bn from
Horizon 2020: a highly ambitious target, given that
it only won €430 million under Framework 7 and only
2 per cent of Horizon 2020 proposal submissions in 2014
involved Polish researchers.
Poland will hold a parliamentary election in October,
at which the Eurosceptics of the Law and Justice Party,
which won the presidential election in May, could well
enter government. But Duch rejects the possibility that
Poland’s commitment to European research programmes
could waver. “If we leave well-thought-out plans, worked
out with the scientific institutions, whoever comes after
us is likely to keep to that path. Even the Eurosceptics
will need to show progress in research.”
More to say? Email comment@ResearchResearch.com

funding opportunities

Research Europe
18 June 2015

every new opportunity  every discipline

highlights
EU environment grants
The Directorate-General
for Environment invites
proposals for projects on
climate change, resource
efficiency, nature and
biodiversity, and environmental policy, under the
LIFE programme. The total
budget is worth approximately €3.46 billion [19],
[26], [28].
EU telecommunications
EUREKA invites proposals
for its Celtic-Plus call. The
average budget is worth up
to €70 million [37].
EU vocational education
Cedefop invites applications to participate in
ReferNet, its European
network for vocational education and training. Grants
are worth up to €43,620 at
a co-financing rate of up to
70 per cent [39].
EU health programme
The Consumers, Health,
Agriculture and Food
Executive Agency invites
proposals for its HP-PJ2015 call within the
third health programme.
Individual topic budgets
range from €1.3 million to
€2.5m at a co-financing
rate of 60 per cent [42].
EU sustainable logistics
ERA-Net Transport
invites proposals for its
sustainable logistics and
supply chains call. The
total budget is worth
€10 million [45].
not to be
photocopieD
For subscriptions call +44 20 7216 6500

deadlines
Opportunities from previous issues
of Research Europe, listed by closing
date. European Commission and
associated funders marked EU.
Each entry is followed by a Web id

June

Directorate-General for Employ26 EUment,
Social Affairs & Inclusion EaSi
Progress – mobility for professionals 1184823
EU Ditrectorate-General for Research and Innovation study on frugal innovation and re-engineering
of traditional techniques 1185045
EU European Centre for Disease
Prevention and Control support to
healthcare-associated infectionsnet coordination and analysis of
HAI-Net data 1184759
DK Velux Foundation young investigator programme 1164089
EU European Agency for Safety and
Health at Work foresight on new
and emerging occupational safety
and health risks associated with
information and communication
technologies and work location by
2025 1184927
UK Royal Photographic Society
postgraduate bursaries 1174139
UK Wellcome Trust pathfinder
awards 1166338
IE Assistive Technologies for People
with Intellectual Disabilities and
Autism fellowships 1181813
ES BBVA Foundation frontiers of
knowledge awards 212505
AU Creswick Foundation fellowships
in child and adolescent development 1171922
IT CRT Foundation Lagrange-CRT
Foundation prize 185105
EU Directorate-General for Energy
environmental baseline study for
the development of renewable
energy sources, energy storages
and a meshed electricity grid in the
North and Irish Seas 1184726
EU European Food Safety Authority
modelling population dynamics of
aquatic and terrestrial organisms
using dynamic energy models –
application to risk assessment of
chemical mixtures 1185154
EU European Global Navigation
Satellite System Supervisory Agency
European satellite navigation
competition 1159204
FR European Society for Surgery
of the Shoulder and the Elbow
research grant 259563

EU European Society of Contraception and Reproductive Health
course grants 1170016
EU European Society of Contraception and Reproductive Health
project grants 1170015
CH European Society of Regional
Anaesthesia and Pain Therapy
educational grant 1170467
IT Gino Galletti Foundation neuroscience prize 250978
AU IDP Education Australia IELTS
research grants 1172047
ES Institute of Photonic Sciences
international postdoctoral programme 1162929
NL International Organisation for
the Study of Inflammatory Bowel
Disease operating grants 1171126
HK M+/Design Trust research fellowship 1184798
BE Multidisciplinary European low
dose initiative award 1179628
LU National Research Fund Luxembourg INTER mobility programme
1172551
UK Research Councils UK/Department for Business, Innovation and
Skills R&D services and related
consultancy services 1185327
CA Royal College of Physicians and
Surgeons of Canada McLaughlinGallie visiting professorship
1173753
NL Royal DSM NV science and technology award 1164974
UK Society for Applied Microbiology
hardship research grant 1165464
FR UNESCO-Equatorial Guinea
international prize for research in
the life sciences 1179260
CH World Association of Societies of
Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
Gordon Signy fellowships 1180063

29

30

 1

July

IT Central European Initiative knowhow exchange programme 1179745
EU ESF cold-water carbonate
mounds in shallow and deep time –
science meetings 1165788
EU European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control whole genome
DNA extraction and sequencing
services for salmonella, listeria,
E. coli and campylobacter 1185294
DE European Foundation for
the Study of Diabetes/Japanese
Diabetes Society reciprocal travel
research fellowships 1166990
DE European Foundation for the
Study of Diabetes/Juvenile Diabetes
Research Foundation/Lilly European programme in type 1 diabetes
research grants 201616

Online Funding Search
For full details of every funding opportunity, visit
www.ResearchProfessional.com
Online subscribers can view full details of any funding opportunity by
simply searching for the Web id number as free text in a funding search.

Funding search
Free text: 1234567 x

Search

europe
Inflammatory bowel disease
The European Crohn's and Colitis Organisation invites applications for its inflammatory bowel diseases fellowship. This
encourages young physicians in their
career and promotes innovative scientific
research in inflammatory bowel diseases
in Europe. The award is worth €60,000.
Web id: 194827
Email: ecco@ecco-ibd.eu
Deadline: 1 September 2015 [1]

EU transnational tech projects
EUREKA invites applications for its funding for network projects. This encourages
the creation of transnational, marketdriven innovative research and development project consortia that aim to
develop marketable products, services or
processes in any technological area with
a civilian purpose.
Web id: 1185502
No deadline [2]

EU fish mortality study
The Executive Agency for Small and
Medium-sized Enterprises invites tenders for the provision of a tagging study
to determine mortality sources on cod in
the Irish Sea. The tenderer will provide a
methodology for and subsequently implement a large-scale conventional tagging
programme focused on the Irish Sea in
order to provide a complete picture of
mortality. The contract is worth €600,000.
Web id: 1185465
Email: easme-procurement@ec.europa.
eu
Deadline: 7 July 2015 [3]

EU genetic resources
The Directorate-General for the Environment invites tenders for the preparation
of guidance documents on the implementation of the EU access and benefit
sharing regulation 511/2014. The tenderer will draft elements for guidance
documents relating to access and benefit
sharing of genetic resources and organise
a process for soliciting stakeholder input
into their finalisation. The contract is
worth up to €215,000 over one year.
Web id: 1185436
Email: env-tenders@ec.europa.eu
Deadline: 13 July 2015 [4]

EU grants review
EEA Grants and Norway Grants invite tenders for a mid-term review of the EEA and
Norway grants. The tenderer will assess
the efficiency and effectiveness of the
grants at the current stage of implementation. The maximum budget is €200,000.
Web id: 1185460
Email: ast@efta.int
Deadline: 13 July 2015 [5]

EU forest management
The Directorate-General for the Environment invites tenders for the provision of a
study on implementing sustainable forest
management. The tenderer will conduct a
study to help the commission understand
to what extent European-wide agreed
ecological principles and guidelines for

10  funding opportunities
sustainable forest management are being
applied in forest planning, management
and land-use operations; identify problem areas and pre-empt threats; and identify practices and solutions for optimising
forest management. The contract is worth
up to €120,000 over one year.
Web id: 1185474
Email: env-tenders@ec.europa.eu
Deadline: 14 July 2015 [6]

EU cross-border data flow
The Directorate-General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology invites tenders for a study on data
location restrictions – facilitating crossborder data flow in the digital single
market. The tenderer will analyse legal
and non-legal barriers in member state
practices which hinder the free flow of
data within the EU in order to contribute
to the sustainable development of a digital single market. The contract is worth up
to €140,000 over 16 months.
Web id: 1185368
Email: cnect-r2-eoi@ec.europa.eu
Deadline: 17 July 2015 [7]

EU renewable energy 1
The Directorate-General for Energy invites
tenders for a study on maintenance and
development of an internet database with
renewable energy support schemes and
related information. The tenderer will
provide and maintain a thorough and
regularly updated web-based database of
renewable energy measures, in particular
covering financial support and market
or grid access. The contract is worth
€150,000 over 36 months.
Web id: 1185539
Email: ener-c1-tenders@ec.europa.eu
Deadline: 17 July 2015 [8]

EU renewable energy 2
The Directorate-General for Energy
invites tenders for the development and
maintenance of an Internet database
with certification schemes or equivalent
qualification schemes for installers of
small-scale renewable energy source
technologies. The tenderer will provide
and maintain a thorough and regularly
updated web-based database for installers of small-scale RES technologies, in
particular covering the criteria of annex
IV of the directive for each member state
of the EU, EEA, EFTA and Energy Community countries. Work should be completed
within 24 months.
Web id: 1185556
Email: ener-c1-tenders@ec.europa.eu
Deadline: 22 July 2015 [9]

Research Europe, 18 June 2015
EU industrial legislation

EU raw materials

Infectious diseases prize

The Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs
invites tenders for a study on cumulative
costs assessment of the EU ceramics and
glass industries. The tenderer will analyse
cumulative regulatory costs of the most
relevant EU legislation for the EU ceramics
and glass industry. The contract is worth
up to €550,000 over 18 months.
Web id: 1185458
Email: entr-g-financial-team@ec.
europa.eu
Deadline: 14 August 2015 [11]

The Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs
invites tenders for a review of the list of
critical raw materials. The tenderer will
carry out a study in order to deliver the
next report and a list of raw materials
identified as critical to EU. The contract is
worth €400,000 over 18 months.
Web id: 1185541
Email: entr-g-financial-team@ec.
europa.eu
Deadline: 4 September 2015 [16]

The National Fund for Scientific Research
invites nominations for the InBev-Baillet Latour health prize. This recognises
achievements in biomedical research for
the benefit of human health and encourages the laureate in the pursuit of his or
her career. The prize is worth €250,000.
Web id: 253842
Email: prix@frs-fnrs.be
Deadline: 30 September 2015 [25]

EU energy efficiency
The Directorate-General for Energy invites
tenders for the delivery of informed
investment decisions for energy efficiency
investments through accessible data,
standardised procedures and benchmarking of performance. The tenderer will
develop and launch an EU-wide initiative
to work out a common set of procedures
and standards for corporate energy efficiency and building renovation underwriting for both debt and equity financing
products. Work should be completed
within 24 months.
Web id: 1185553
Email: ener-tender-2014-563@ec.
europa.eu
Deadline: 17 August 2015 [12]

EU air transport policy
The Directorate-General for Mobility and
Transport invites tenders for a framework
contract to provide support for further
development of EU air transport policy
in relation to third countries and within
the internal air transport market. The
tenderer will assist with the legal, technical and socio-economic aspects of this
work. The contract is worth €1.4 million.
Web id: 1185366
Email: move-air-annual@ec.europa.eu
Deadline: 21 August 2015 [13]

EU research policy
The Directorate-General for Research and
Innovation invites tenders for beyond
the horizon: foresight in support to the
preparation of the EU's future policy in
research and innovation. The tenderer
will provide policy recommendations for
possible new approaches, priorities and
themes to be considered in the planning
of future EU R&I policy and funding, in
particular as support to the preparation
of the next framework programme for R&I.
The contract is worth €600,000.
Web id: 1185503
Deadline: 31 August 2015 [14]

EU fisheries and aquaculture

EU consumer law

The Directorate-General for Maritime
Affairs and Fisheries invites tenders for
the provision of a study on the approaches
to management for data-poor stocks in
mixed fisheries. The tenderer will develop models and strategies for providing
advice for mixed fisheries concerning
catches compatible with: fishing mortality ranges defined as compatible with
the maximum sustainable yield; all fish
caught being landed; significant components of the marine fish ecosystem lacking
key biological information. The contract is
worth €1 million over two years.
Web id: 1181373
Email: mare-tenders@ec.europa.eu
Deadline: 31 July 2015 [10]

The Directorate-General for Justice
invites tenders for the provision of an
evaluation study of national procedural
laws and practices in terms of their impact
on the free circulation of judgements.
The tenderer will examine the impact
of national procedural law on the free
circulation of judgements and evaluate
whether national procedural laws and
practices ensure the procedural protection of EU consumer rights and whether
they satisfy requirements stemming from
the rulings of the Court of Justice of the
EU. The contract is worth €400,000.
Web id: 1185459
Email: just-a4-cft@ec.europa.eu
Deadline: 1 September 2015 [15]

EU cooperative SMEs
The Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs
invites proposals for a pilot project on
business transfers to employees creating
a cooperative in order to ensure sustainability of SMEs. This aims to improve the
environment for transferring businesses
to employees and workers organised in
a cooperative form and to raise awareness about the benefits of a cooperative
model. Funding is worth up to €250,000
per project at a co-financing rate of up
to 70 per cent.
Web id: 1185507
Email: grow-cfp-pp15-tte@ec.europa.eu
Deadline: 10 September 2015 [17]

EU traffic data
The Directorate-General for Mobility and
Transport invites applications for a programme support action for the maintenance and further development of DATEX
II. This supports the implementation of
a study addressing the coordination,
harmonisation and standardisation of
traffic and travel data exchange. Funding
is worth €2 million.
Web id: 1185498
Email: move-c3-secretariat@ec.europa.
eu
Deadline: 11 September 2015 [18]

EU environment grants 1
The Directorate-General for the Environment invites proposals for the following
calls under the LIFE programme:
•call for technical assistance projects.
Grants are worth up to €100,000 per
project. Web id: 1185443
•traditional projects on climate change
adaptation. Web id: 1185440
•traditional projects on climate governance and information.
Web id: 1185441
•traditional projects on climate change
mitigation. Web id: 252916
•pilot on-farm projects to test resultbased remuneration schemes for the
enhancement of biodiversity. The budget
is worth €500,000 to fund one or two
proposals at a maximum EU co-financing
rate of 70 per cent. Web id: 1181209
Email: easme-life@ec.europe.eu
Deadline: 15 September 2015 [19]

EU low carbon technology
EUREKA invites proposals for projects
under its Eurogia2020 cluster. Funding
supports multidisciplinary, innovative
research and development projects that
will reduce the carbon footprint of energy
production, improve energy efficiency
and develop solar, wind, biomass or geothermal technologies.
Web id: 1161448
Email: contact@eurogia.com
Deadline: 18 September 2015 [24]

EU environment grants 2
The Directorate-General for Environment
invites proposals for the following calls
under the LIFE programme:
•integrated projects under both its climate and environment sub-programmes.
Web id: 1180297
•traditional projects on environment
and resource efficiency.
Web id: 1185437
Email: easme-life@ec.europe.eu
Deadline: 1 October 2015 [26]

EU environment grants 3
The Directorate-General for the Environment invites proposals for the following
calls under the LIFE programme:
•traditional projects on environmental governance and information.
Web id: 1185439
•traditional projects on nature and
biodiversity. Web id: 1185438
Email: easme-life@ec.europe.eu
Deadline: 7 October 2015 [28]

Environmental footprints
The Working Group on Environment and
Economy, under the Nordic Council of
Ministers, invites tenders for a project on
environmental footprints. The aim is to
explore the methodological and analytical basis of environmental footprinting
and challenges and limitations in the
use of such estimates for policy use. The
budget is DKK350,000 (€46,900).
Web id: 1185508
Email: jens.perus@ely-keskus.fi
Deadline: 19 July 2015 [31]

Cancer research prize
The Association for Cancer Research
invites applications for the Léopold Griffuel prize. This recognises a major breakthrough in fundamental research or in
applied research in oncology. Each prize
is worth €150,000.
Web id: 254982
Email: prixarcleopoldgriffuel@
fondation-arc.org
Deadline: 31 July 2015 [32]

EU smart electronic systems
EUREKA invites proposals for projects
under its Euripides2 cluster. Funding
supports the development of innovations
in the field of smart electronic systems.
Funding is provided by partners' respective governments.
Web id: 1161501
Deadline: 25 September 2015 [33]

EU radio astronomy
RadioNet3 invites proposals for its transnational access call. This enables user
groups from EU and associated states
to access RadioNet3's telescopes and
arrays in Europe. The use of telescopes
and arrays are provided free of charge,
including technological and scientific
support as well as training.

funding opportunities  11

Research Europe, 18 June 2015
Web id: 1173211
Email: irottmann@mpifr.de
No deadline [35]

Industrial metallurgy
EUREKA invites proposals for the 2015
call under its metallurgy Europe cluster
programme. This supports large-scale,
market-driven cluster projects in a broad
range of metallurgical and manufacturing
fields, in accordance with the metallurgy
Europe technology roadmap 2014-2021.
The budget for each of the project calls is
worth up to €20 million.
Web id: 1185470
Email: hans.fecht@metallurgy-europe.
eu
Deadline: 31 July 2015 [36]

EU telecommunications
EUREKA invites proposals for its CelticPlus call. This supports information and
communications technology projects
that focus on research related to a smart
connected world. The budget is worth up
to €70 million.
Web id: 1158474
Email: office@celticplus.eu
Deadline: 15 October 2015 [37]

EU vocational education
Cedefop invites applications to participate in ReferNet, its European network
for vocational education and training.
This enables candidates to participate
in a four-year partnership framework
agreement for reporting on national VET
systems and policy developments. The
total budget is €4 million, with annual
grants worth up to €43,620 at an EU cofinancing rate of up to 70 per cent.
Web id: 185333
Deadline: 21 August 2015 [39]

EU deforestation policy
The Joint Research Centre invites tenders
for a study on the impact of EU sectorial
policies on tropical deforestation and
forest degradation. The tenderer will
assess the impact of sectorial policies on
tropical deforestation and forest degradation, taking into consideration sectorial
policies on transportation and related
infrastructure, agriculture and mining.
The contract is worth €120,000.
Web id: 1185521
Email: jrc-ies-procurement@ec.europa.
eu
Deadline: 21 July 2015 [40]

EU women and poverty
The European Institute for Gender Equality invites tenders for a study on area A of
the Beijing platform for action – women
and poverty. The tenderer will produce
a report of the current stage of implementation on the strategic objectives
formulated in Area A, providing a review
of the agreed indicators and highlighting the situation of groups that face a
higher risk of poverty. The contract is
worth €260,000.
Web id: 1185394
Email: procurement@eige.europa.eu
Deadline: 16 July 2015 [41]

EU health programme
The Consumers, Health, Agriculture and
Food Executive Agency invites proposals
for its HP-PJ-2015 call within the third
health programme. Funding supports collaborative projects that address the fol-

lowing health topics: reducing availability
of alcoholic beverages; early diagnosis
and treatment of viral hepatitis; early
diagnosis of tuberculosis; integrated
care, frailty prevention, adherence to
medical plans and age-friendly communities; common assessment methodology
on quality, safety and efficacy of transplantation therapies. Individual topic
budgets range from €1.3 million to €2.5m
at an EU co-financing rate of 60 per cent.
Web id: 1180093
Email: chafea-hp-calls@ec.europa.eu
Deadline: 15 September 2015 [42]

Security and rule of law
The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research's Division of Science
for Global Development (NWO WOTRO)
invites proposals for its security and rule
of law strategic research fund: call for
comprehensive approaches to human
security. This supports research projects
that contribute to new evidence-based
knowledge and insights on policies
and intervention theories and strategies regarding inclusive, comprehensive
approaches to human security in fragile
and conflict-affected settings, in view of
transnational security threats. Funding is
worth up to €443,000 per project.
Web id: 1185517
Email: r.zuidema@nwo.nl
Deadline: 18 August 2015 [43]

EU heritage awards
Europa Nostra, supported by the European Commission, invites applications
for the Europa Nostra awards. These
recognise best practices in the conservation of tangible cultural heritage, and aim
to stimulate trans-frontier exchanges of
knowledge and experience throughout
Europe. Award are worth €10,000 each.
Web id: 1173676
Email: eb@europanostra.org
Deadline: 1 October 2015 [44]

Brief therapy
The European Brief Therapy Association
invites proposals for its research grants.
These support projects on solutionfocused brief therapy and its applications.
Grants are worth up to €3,500 each.
Web id: 1170211
Email: mark.beyebach@gmail.com
Deadline: 30 October 2015 [52]

Clinical research
The AO Foundation invites applications
for the ARI medical research fellowships.
These provide motivated surgeons with
on-site research training to gain experience in R&D projects on relevant clinical
problems. A living cost stipend is provided
for a period of 12 months.
Web id: 1173198
Email: sonia.wahl@aofoundation.org
No deadline [54]

Cognitive neuroscience
The Human Brain Project invites proposals
for its flagship call. This supports research
on systems and cognitive neuroscience
which cuts across and links existing
HBP subprojects. Funding is worth up to
€2 million per project.
Web id: 1185379
Email: s.bradler@fz-juelich.de
Deadline: 3 July 2015 [55]

CERN fellowship
The European Organisation for Nuclear
Research invites applications for its post
career break fellowship. This supports
science and engineering graduates wishing to restart their careers. Fellowships
provide a stipend, insurance, travel
expenses and family allowances for up
to three years.
Web id: 1176979
Deadline: 7 September 2015 [56]

Paediatric nutrition

ERA-Net Transport invites proposals for
its sustainable logistics and supply chains
call. This aims to connect research related
to the formation of a freight network
of pan-European dimensions that will
answer the needs of shippers, logistics
service providers and carriers, in the light
of the objectives of an internationally
competitive and environmentally sustainable transport sector. The total budget is
worth €10 million.
Web id: 1185012
Email: sustainablelogistics@rws.nl
Deadline: 2 October 2015 [45]

The European Society for Paediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition
invites applications for its international
exchange programme awards. These
enable members to acquire clinical or
research skills not available to them
in their host country by undertaking
exchange visits and gaining specific diagnostic or therapeutic endoscopy skills,
by learning a relevant technique, or by
learning how to set up or provide a specific service model. Up to seven awards,
worth €3,000 each, are available.
Web id: 1169286
Email: espghanho@mci-group.com
No deadline [59]

Science prizes

Portfolio evaluation

EU sustainable logistics

The Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts
and Sciences (KNAW) invites applications
for the following prizes:
•the CL de Carvalho-Heineken prize
for cognitive science, worth US$200,000
(€177,600). Web id: 187344
•the Dr AH Heineken prize for environmental sciences, worth US$200,000.
Web id: 187341
•the Dr AH Heineken Prize for history,
worth US$200,000. Web id: 187343
•the Dr AH Heineken prize for medicine, worth US$200,000. Web id: 187340
•the Dr HP Heineken prize for biochemistry and biophysics, worth US$200,000.
Web id: 187339
Email: dianne.van.avendonk@knaw.nl
Deadline: 15 October 2015 [46]

The Scottish Government's Scottish
Enterprise invites tenders for the provision of a property portfolio asset valuation service. The tenderer will undertake
a revaluation of Scottish Enterprise's
investment property portfolio, focusing
on a valuation of land and property assets.
The contract is worth up to £180,000
(€247,300) over three years.
Web id: 1185388
Email: alison.mcmillan@scotent.co.uk
Deadline: 8 July 2015 [60]

Skin pharmacology
The University of Leicester's department of cell physiology and pharmacology invites tenders for the provision of
services to support the development of

topical salbutamol to prevent human skin
scarring and hyperpigmentation. The tenderer will assess safety and tolerability of
topical salbutamol when applied to linear
incisions and determine the optimal topical salbutamol dose for scar improvement,
with a view to moving towards therapeutic
implementation.
Web id: 1185544
Email: acm26@le.ac.uk
Deadline: 16 July 2015 [61]

Health crises
The Department for International Development and the Wellcome Trust, via
Enhancing Learning and Research for
Humanitarian Assistance, invite expressions of interest for their call for research
for health in humanitarian crises. Funding
supports collaborative projects that aim
to improve health outcomes by strengthening the evidence base for public health
interventions in humanitarian crises.
Seed funding of up to £10,000 (€13,800)
per project is available.
Web id: 1171539
Email: r2hc@elrha.org
Deadline: 20 July 2015 [62]

Scottish wave energy
The Scottish Government's Highlands and
Islands Enterprise invites tenders for its
stage one research and development call
for a novel wave energy convertor, under
its Wave Energy Scotland programme. The
tenderer will develop novel wave energy
converter devices, specifically focusing on
the prime mover and structure. Projects
may receive up to £300,000 (€414,400)
each.
Web id: 1185554
Deadline: 13 August 2015 [63]

Cambridge fellowships
Trinity College Cambridge invites applications for its junior research fellowships. These enable applicants to pursue
research for up to four years in Cambridge.
Fellowships are worth up to £25,135
(€34,500) per year.
Web id: 210261
Email: jrf@trin.cam.ac.uk
Deadline: 28 August 2015 [64]

rest of world
Visiting professorships
The Weizmann Institute of Science invites
applications for its visiting professorships. These enable scientists to undertake research in Israel. Funding may
include financial remuneration, round
trip airfare and rent free housing for up
to one year.
Web id: 198003
Email: visiting.proposal@weizmann.ac.il
Deadline: 31 December 2015 [69]

Water research
The King Saud University invites applications for the following awards:
•the Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz international prize for water – creativity, worth
US$266,000 (€236,300).
Web id: 1182633
•the Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz international prize for water – specialised,
worth US$133,000 each.
Web id: 1182635
Email: info@psipw.org
Deadline: 31 December 2015 [70]

12  funding opportunities
tenders
Radar calibration *ESA
The European Space Agency invites tenders for the provision of a biomass external calibration study. The tenderer will
conduct an external calibration study of
a P-band synthetic aperture radar through
an end-to-end characterisation of the
radar measurement chain. The contract
is worth up to €500,000. Ref: 15.156.05.
Deadline: 5 August 2015

Electromagnetic shielding *ESA
The European Space Agency invites tenders for the development of electromagnetic interference-tight rectangular
connector assemblies. The tenderer will
study the suitability and ability of electromagnetic interference shielding measures
for an electrical connector assembly from
a system perspective. The contract is
worth up to €500,000. Ref: 15.1EE.24.
Deadline: 1 September 2015

Satellite modelling *ESA
The European Space Agency invites tenders for the provision of high fidelity
channel modelling for global navigation
satellite system receiver performance
characterisation. The tenderer will provide the following services: analyse
the impact of multi-path characterisation on GNSS receivers and analyse the
limitations of current radio frequency
constellation simulators regarding the
simulation of high fidelity channel models for GNSS receivers, and develop new
potential techniques. The contract is
worth up to €500,000. Ref: 15.1EE.19.
Deadline: 1 September 2015

Satellite data *ESA
The European Space Agency invites
tenders for the exploitation of Sentinel 2 land and water data products
under its Scientific Exploitation of
Operational Missions programme. The
tenderer will develop exploitation methods of data products from the Sentinel 2 satellite. The contract is worth a
minimum of €500,000. Ref: 14.155.21.
Deadline: 1 September 2015

Reflect array antenna *ESA
The European Space Agency invites tenders for the development of a reflect
array antenna for medium-size apertures.
The tenderer will study and develop a
reflect array antenna capable of providing improved radio frequency performance, compared to complex shaped
reflector antennas, while offering advantages in terms of cost, accommodation
and versatility. The contract is worth a
minimum of €500,000. Ref: 14.1TT.45.
Deadline: 4 September 2015

Sparse arrays antenna *ESA
The European Space Agency invites tenders for the design and development of
sparse arrays with improved aperture
efficiency and scanning capabilities. The
tenderer will design and develop antenna systems, generating spot or shaped
beams in a large field of view and ensuring transmit or receive functions in Ku,
Ka, or higher frequencies. The contract
is worth up to €500,000. Ref: 15.1EE.22.
Deadline: 7 September 2015
---------------------------------------------

*ESA is at: http://emits.esa.intw

Research Europe, 18 June 2015

usa
Brain and Behaviour Research Foundation NARSAD distinguished investigator
grant
Web id: 184724
Deadline: 6 July 2015 [78]
US Department of Defense Gulf War illness research programme – clinical trial
award
Web id: 1166818
Deadline: 9 July 2015 [79]
US Department of Defense Gulf War illness research programme epidemiology
research award
Web id: 1184935
Deadline: 9 July 2015 [80]
US Department of Defense Gulf War illness research programme – innovative
treatment evaluation award
Web id: 1166858
Deadline: 9 July 2015 [81]
US Department of Defense neurofibromatosis research programme – clinical trial award
Web id: 161066
Deadline: 10 July 2015 [82]
US Department of Defense neurofibromatosis research programme investigator-initiated focused research award
Web id: 1158325
Deadline: 10 July 2015 [83]
US Department of Defense tuberous
sclerosis complex research programme
exploration-hypothesis
development
award
Web id: 1158323
Deadline: 10 July 2015 [84]
US Department of Defense tuberous
sclerosis complex research programme –
idea development award
Web id: 161004
Deadline: 10 July 2015 [85]
US Department of Defense spinal cord
injury research programme clinical trial
award
Web id: 1173770
Deadline: 13 July 2015 [86]
US Department of Defense spinal cord
injury research programme: investigator-initiated research award
Web id: 255292
Deadline: 13 July 2015 [87]
National Humanities Center fellowships
Web id: 1160718
Deadline: 15 October 2015 [88]
Association for Computing Machinery/
Infosys Foundation award in the Computing Sciences
Web id: 251822
Deadline: 30 November 2015 [89]
Association for Computing Machinery
AM Turing award
Web id: 202797
Deadline: 30 November 2015 [90]
Association for Computing Machinery
Panis Kanellakis theory and practice
award
Web id: 202803
Deadline: 30 November 2015 [91]
Association for Computing Machinery
software system award
Web id: 202790
Deadline: 30 November 2015 [92]
Gruber Foundation genetics prize
Web id: 195481
Deadline: 15 December 2015 [93]
Gruber Foundation neuroscience prize
Web id: 195476
Deadline: 15 December 2015 [94]

policy diary
June
24 Association of European
Research Libraries Annual
Conference, London, UK. To 26.
http://rsrch.co/1nj77SM
  • University-Industry Interaction
Conference. Berlin, Germany.
To 26. http://rsrch.co/Vjs5Dg
28 EARMA: Enabling Cultures and
Diversity in Research Management. To 1 July.
http://rsrch.co/1EC1PGg
29 3rd Hellenic Forum for Science,
Technology and Innovation.
Athens, Greece. To 3 July.
http://rsrch.co/1MJexaq
30 Priorities for Science and
Innovation Policy: Opportunities, Structures and Investment. London, UK.
http://rsrch.co/1MJeOdi
July
  7 Caps 2015: Networked Social
Responsibility: The Second
International Event on Collective Awareness Platforms for
Sustainability and Social Innovation. To 8. Brussels, Belgium.
http://rsrch.co/1JFWaVo
September
  7 Academia Europaea 27th
Annual Conference 2015,
Darmstadt, Germany. To 10.
http://rsrch.co/1EOEt1C
14 International Conference on
Theory and Practice of Digital
Libraries. Poznan, Poland. To
18. http://rsrch.co/1AUR9UC
24 Re-work Future Health Summit,
London, UK. To 25.
http://rsrch.co/1zGccsh
October
14 2015 Earto Innovation Prize
Ceremony. Brussels, Belgium.
http://rsrch.co/1DNp2np
20 Aeronautic Research and Innovation 2015. London, UK. To
23. http://rsrch.co/1EFYHft
November
  4 World Science Forum.
Budapest, Hungary. To 7.
http://rsrch.co/1yYYthU
17 6th European Innovation Summit, Brussels, Belgium. To 20.
http://rsrch.co/1Ef31jy
18 Social Innovation 2015: Pathways to Social Change. Vienna,
Austria. To 19.
http://rsrch.co/1F9bmma
19 The Innovation Connection
– the 2014 Science Business
Summit. Barcelona, Spain. To
20. http://rsrch.co/1EY8lZ1
  • 10th European Quality Assurance Forum – Taking Stock and
Looking Forward.
London, UK. To 21.
http://rsrch.co/1AwdbhS

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Research Europe, 18 June 2015

analysis 13

insider

A question of standards
The Internet of Things could allow devices and appliances of all descriptions to
work seamlessly together. But what approaches to regulation and standardisation
might help usher it into existence? Lindsay McKenzie reports.
It’s been clear for some time now that the European
Commission sees the Internet of Things—a buzz phrase
for interoperability between everything from toasters to televisions—as a vital element of its support for
research and innovation. And last month, a European
Parliamentary Research Service report, The Internet of
Things: Opportunities and challenges, said the time was
right for the EU to take a global lead in implementing it.
The market for interacting devices is growing exponentially. Gartner, a market research firm in the United
States, estimates that the number of connected objects in
the world will rise from 4.9 billion now to 25bn by 2020.
But commercial interest in designing and selling these
devices is already driven by incentives that go beyond
the selling price of the devices themselves. Much of the
value lies in the data that they transmit, and what those
data say about people’s behaviour. As privacy advocates
have already pointed out, the pending avalanche of such
information carries threats as well as opportunities.
Commission officials who are trying to forge an EU
policy on the Internet of Things argue that its benefit
lies not only in the potential boost to the economy but
also in the advantages that the technology can bring to
society as a whole. It may increase efficiency in health
services, for example, help us to waste less energy or
make agriculture and manufacturing cheaper and safer.
The Commission is therefore prepared to invest heavily in ensuring that Europe is ahead of the competition
in the US and China. It spent more than €100 million on
related research in Framework 7, and has just evaluated
proposals from ICT 30, a Horizon 2020 call worth €51m.
Next year, the Commission plans to create a work
programme with a further budget of more than €100m.
The call, to be announced in September at the ICT 2015
conference in Lisbon, will mainly support large pilot
schemes but will also include money for “tailored, longterm research—especially on issues such as security and
privacy”, according to a Commission official.
Jan Höller, a principal Internet of Things researcher
at the communications technology company Ericsson,
agrees that funds should be used to research security
and privacy, but warns that the real barrier to progress is
a lack of standardisation, as differing standards prohibit
data sharing and innovation.
The fear is that this lack of standardisation may lead
to sets of discrete device networks that sit forever apart.

Products from different manufacturers may fail to communicate with one another, limiting the knowledge
that can be obtained from the data. “Instead of creating
an Internet of Things, we are in danger of creating an
Intranet of Things,” as one Commission official puts it.
Creating standards that work for everyone is challenging, and is considered a priority by the Commission in
its pursuit of a digital single market. The Commission is
working with at least four industry consortia to map out
how many standards are already in place and find a way
of consolidating them. It says its approach will be to create industry-driven rather than top-down standards, so
that uptake will be as quick as possible.
European regulations may help to prevent the creation
of too many isolated systems, but data protection will
remain a pressing issue. “We should be worried about
privacy,” says Maarten Botterman, the director of GNKS
Consult in Rotterdam.
“I think politicians and citizens are unaware of what
is coming,” says Botterman. He warns that devices such
as voice-activated televisions are already recording and
transmitting vast numbers of private conversations,
without the speakers’ knowledge. “Take the example of
voice-activated smart TVs,” he says. “The fact that you
can activate these devices by saying ‘TV on’ means that
they are also listening when they’re turned off.”
The Commission, the Council of Ministers and the
European Parliament are engaged in a battle over revisions to the 1995 Data Protection Directive, the outcome
of which will frame the regulation of the use of such data
in Europe. Originally due for completion last year, the
updated directive is expected to be the subject of fierce
negotiations later this year, with all sides hoping that
the new rules can be implemented by 2017.
The update is expected to make the directive more
appropriate for the internet age and give citizens more
control over the use of their data—but a move in that
direction will naturally make data sharing
more complex. Failure to create suitable,
specific legislation for the Internet of
Things “would be a real setback for the
industry”, says Botterman. “It is really
important to find a way forward that is
responsible but does not block progress.”
Something to add? Email comment@
ResearchResearch.com

‘The pending
data avalanche
carries threats
as well as
opportunities.’

14  news

Research Europe, 18 June 2015

uk & ireland

Research councils achieve mixed success
with invitations to peer review
The UK research councils are experiencing a hugely variable success rate with their requests for academics to
review grant applications, according to data obtained
through freedom of information requests.
An analysis by Research Fortnight, the sister publication of Research Europe, reveals that the Medical
Research Council had the lowest rate of acceptance of
its invitations in 2014, at 45.5 per cent. The Natural
Environment Research Council’s rate was the highest, at
79.9 per cent. The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences
Research Council and the Economic and Social Research
Council fell below the average rate of 54.8 per cent.
Academics face growing workloads and pressure to
publish, and have few incentives to undertake activities such as external examination and peer review.
“Universities need to make sure that they continue to
allow academics time under the heading of scholarship
for work that keeps the whole academic system ticking
over,” says Adam Golberg, the research manager at the
University of Nottingham’s business school.
NERC and the Engineering and Physical Sciences
Research Council are investigating how they might recognise and reward peer review, while the MRC and the
ESRC are planning to tell institutions the names of their
top peer reviewers.
Some councils are becoming more open with these
data in an attempt to make institutions think about

uk&i
in brief

Societies uneasy over PhD loans
Loans for PhD students as proposed by the UK government could
present a sizeable debt burden to
postgraduates and reduce the chances of them pursuing
their interests in academic research, scientific societies
have said. The Society of Biology and the Institute of
Physics said they would prefer alternative mechanisms,
with the society calculating that many researchers would
finish doctorates with “mortgage-sized” debt of £70,000.
Call for more R&D investment ahead of budget
Overall government investment in R&D must increase
in real terms if the UK is to remain at the forefront of
science and innovation, the Campaign for Science and
Engineering has told the Treasury, which is preparing the budget for 8 July. CaSE said that the economic
and societal benefits of research could only be realised
through long-term planning and increased investment.
Nobel laureate resigns over ‘girls’ comments
The biochemist Tim Hunt has resigned from the European
Research Council’s scientific council after being criti-

by Adam Smith

asnews@ResearchResearch.com

how much they put into the funding system and how
much they take from it. Since 2014, the MRC has sent
institutions comparative data to allow them to benchmark, saying that this helps “to highlight the challenges
funders face in this area and to encourage institutions to
do more to support and recognise peer-review participation at a level in line with their MRC funding”. There is
anecdotal evidence that this has changed performance,
but it is too early to draw firm conclusions, the MRC says.
The chance of an academic accepting an invitation to review a grant does not seem to correlate at all
with his or her institution’s grant income for the same
year. For example, the top three institutions receiving
BBSRC grants that started in 2014 were the Universities
of Edinburgh, Cambridge and Manchester. But these
three were far from the top of the BBSRC’s peer-review
acceptance-rate table, coming in at 25th, 31st and 32nd
respectively. Meanwhile, the University of Hull, which
accepted 75 per cent of its MRC invitations, the highest
rate for the council, started no MRC grants that year.
The MRC says its acceptance rate may seem particularly
low because, unlike some councils, it does not approach
reviewers before sending a formal invitation; other councils may have achieved a higher score because negative
responses prior to a formal invitation were not counted.
cised for saying that the “trouble with girls” in the lab is
that “you fall in love with them, they fall in love with you
and when you criticise them, they cry”. Hunt received the
Nobel prize in physiology or medicine in 2001.
Practice-based researchers aim to lift status
Academics who incorporate practice into their research
must form a movement to break down their peers’ negative perceptions, a symposium has heard. Bruce Brown,
the pro vice-chancellor for research at the University of
Brighton, said that practice researchers must simply “get
over it and get on with it” to defy their detractors.
Universities don’t want black leaders, say academics
UK universities are still hostile to black and minority
ethnic leaders despite years of equality and diversity
schemes, academics have told a conference on leadership in higher education. The summit, held in London
on 10 June, heard that black leadership is all too often
blocked from universities, and that black academics
often feel that they have to comply with forms of leadership developed by traditionally white institutions if they
want to be seen as leaders.

  news  15

Research Europe, 18 June 2015

nations

Germany fails to absorb international
talent, says education report
Only 44 per cent of students with foreign roots remain
in Germany after completing a degree in the country, an
annual report on higher education has said.
The 2015 report, published on 3 June and compiled by
the Stifterverband, an association of research funders,
and the consulting firm McKinsey, says that the number
of international students in the country is rising rapidly: if it continues at the same rate, it will increase from
102,000 today to 258,000 by 2025.
The German economy, however, is not benefiting to
the extent that it should. The report says that in 2014,
41 per cent of international students interrupted or
dropped out of their studies—compared with only 28 per
cent of home students—and more than half left the
country after graduating.
This is a particularly disappointing statistic given that
in the Stifterverband’s survey of German companies, carried out last year and included in the report, 50 per cent
said they were dependent on graduates from abroad to
meet their need for skilled workers—and 66 per cent
said they expected such graduates to become even more
valuable assets in the future.
The report’s authors make several recommendations
for universities, businesses and politicians to implement
by 2025, including the introduction of standardised performance tests for international students before they
begin their studies, to ensure that students have chosen

nations
in brief

Top engineering school told
to change or perish
The École Polytechnique, an
elite engineering school near
Paris, will lose what remains of its international renown
if it does not modernise, according to a report commissioned by the French government. The report says the
school should merge with nine other science-focused
grandes écoles—elite institutions outside the university
system—to form the École Polytechnique de Paris.
Cybersecurity collaboration planned
Germany’s federal education ministry is to bring universities and industry together for a €20-million project
focused on improving the country’s cybersecurity. A
total of 14 companies and seven research institutions
and universities will work on how to minimise the number of entry points for hackers in any given network.
Greek universities hit hardest by crisis
Public funding for Greek universities decreased by
50 per cent, to €133 million, between 2008 and 2014,
according to an online tool launched by the European

by Martyn Jones

news@ResearchResearch.com

a suitable level and subject, and the creation of regional networks of universities, employment agencies and
immigration authorities to provide guidance for students and graduates.
“We invest a lot of money in international students,
but do little to guide them successfully to graduation
and to motivate them to stay in Germany,” said Volker
Meyer-Guckel, the deputy general secretary of the
Stifterverband.
The report’s other main finding is that the number of
Germans studying abroad has stagnated—and the number who carried out an internship between 2000 and
2012 even dropped, from 17 to 13 per cent.
On average, half of the companies surveyed said that
they considered experience abroad to be an important
criterion in their hiring processes, and this rose to
73 per cent for hi-tech firms.
However, students tend to favour nearby countries:
between 2001 and 2012, the number who chose Austria,
Switzerland, Belgium, the Netherlands or Luxembourg
rose from 28 to 54 per cent. Jürgen Schröder, McKinsey’s
director, said: “Nothing against these partly Germanspeaking countries, but the fact is that German students
will probably not pick up the skills there that companies
need in markets outside Europe.”
University Association on 4 June. Funding in Italy and
Spain also decreased, by 13 and 7.6 per cent respectively. In Portugal, however, there was a 7.1 per cent
increase. Funding for Swedish and Austrian universities
increased the most, by 31 and 32 per cent respectively.
EU funds cross-border projects
Spain and Portugal have received €110.6 million from
the European Commission to carry out cross-border
projects on research, environment and development in
collaboration with three African countries. The money,
from the European Regional Development Fund, should
be spent on projects involving the Canary Islands,
Madeira, Azores, Cape Verde, Mauritania and Senegal.
State steps in to save nuclear energy firms
The French government has ordered the state-controlled
energy companies EDF and Areva to merge their reactor businesses in an attempt to rationalise the country’s
nuclear power industry. Areva, which focuses mainly on
nuclear energy, reported a loss of €4.8 billion in March,
after demand for nuclear energy fell worldwide following
the Fukushima disaster in 2011.

16  news

Research Europe, 18 June 2015

nordic

Research spending absent from election
campaign as pleas fall on deaf ears
Denmark’s political parties have not covered the topic of
public research funding during their election campaigns,
despite lobbying from universities, industry and unions.
The country will vote in the parliamentary election today, with the latest polls indicating a tight race
between the governing centre-left coalition—led by
prime minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt—and right-wing
opposition parties. In a poll published by the national
daily Politiken on 10 June, the coalition led by a whisker:
50.1 to 49.9 per cent.
On 25 May, Universities Denmark, the Danish
Confederation of Professional Associations and the
Confederation of Danish Industry published a joint
report calling on the government to increase public
spending on research from 1.1 to 1.5 per cent of GDP by
2025. Public spending on research increased annually
until 2010, when the country’s goal of spending 3 per
cent of GDP on research was met, but since then it has
been stable. The groups argued that it was necessary
to spend more to keep up with higher spenders such as
China, Germany and South Korea.
But so far, research has not been mentioned in the
election campaign. “Between 2003 and 2010, the former

by Jenny Maukola

jemnews@ResearchResearch.com

[right-wing] government passed many reforms in terms
of research policy, but since the government changed
in 2011 the emphasis has shifted,” says Kaare Aagaard,
a senior researcher at the Danish Centre for Studies in
Research and Research Policy at Aarhus University.
Reforms included a set of mergers in 2007 that
reduced the number of universities from 12 to eight, and
an increase in the proportion of research funding distributed competitively. “It seems that all political actors
are reasonably happy about how the system is organised,” says Aagaard.
Higher education has received more attention, as
part­ies disagree on what policies are the most effective
to ensure that students finish their masters degrees in
the recommended five years. Thorning-Schmidt’s government passed a law in 2013 under which students
must complete a certain number of courses each semester. The centre-right opposition parties have said that
this is not realistic and that better incentives are needed
for students to move fully into the workforce, but have
not specified the changes that they would make.

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  analysis  17

Research Europe, 18 June 2015

In from the outside
Jenny Maukola talks to Curt Rice, an American linguist, about his forthcoming role
as rector of Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences.
When Curt Rice first moved to Norway with his
Norwegian-born wife in 1991, his intention was simply
to take some time out and explore the country. “I was
lucky enough to join a research group that I was interested in, for a year,” he says. “That led to an offer of a
temporary job, which led to a permanent job. One thing
led to another, and there’s been 25 years of that.”
Initially, Rice worked in what he describes as “normal” academic jobs, as an associate professor at the
Universities of Trondheim and Tromsø, and later as a professor. “But then I started getting drawn into leadership
positions: as the chairman of my department, then as
head of a research centre, and finally as the vice-rector
for research at Tromsø.”
This is a challenging time to be taking the reins of a
university college in Norway, as there have been significant changes in higher education policy since prime
minister Erna Solberg’s Conservative government took
office in October 2013.
The research minister Torbjørn Røe Isaksen proposed a
restructuring of higher education in January 2014, and in
October a 10-year higher education plan was published.
Its stated aim is to increase Norway’s competitiveness
by improving the quality and international outlook of
the country’s research and higher education systems.
There will be nationwide mergers, and researchers will
be encouraged to focus on areas in which Norway has a
comparative advantage.
It was another government-initiated change that
led Rice to his new job. Higher education institutions
have been encouraged to recruit externally rather than
elect their leaders internally , and the Oslo and Akershus
University College complied by advertising for a rector.
Rice is the first non-Norwegian to head a Norwegian
higher education institution.
One of Rice’s aims when he takes over in August is to
increase the institution’s research activity, in the hope
of obtaining full university status. Oslo and Akershus is
the third-largest higher education institution in Norway,
with about 18,000 students. Universities and university
colleges in Norway have been converging since a 2003
law change brought them under the same legislation,
and Rice hopes to be the leader who succeeds in getting
the university college reclassified.
“I thought it was an interesting challenge,” he says. “As
I learned more about the institution, I decided I would
like to help it take the last step to become a university.”

Historically, university colleges focus more on applied
and professional education, whereas universities offer
theory and discipline-based degrees. To become a university, a university college must have at least four PhD
programmes and generate a certain level of research output. It then applies to a national accreditation office,
which advises the government on a final decision.
Rice says the biggest barrier to this is that university
colleges have a different funding structure from universities. The government allocates funding to them in a
way that obliges their staff to teach more, leaving less
time for research. “We’ll have to be creative in making
time for people to be active researchers,” says Rice.
There is also the problem that additional PhD studentships are expensive to fund. “A decision to have 50 more
PhD students has major economic implications. We
might wait a bit with the application to get a few more
people through our PhD programme so we can demonstrate that they’re well-functioning programmes.”
Universities have more autonomy than university colleges, which have to involve the education ministry when
creating degrees and programmes. “Autonomy is one of
the main reasons we want university status,” says Rice.
And because universities have a higher status, they
can quickly gain a strong international profile, which
is vital for building research connections and attracting students. The term ‘university college’ is not used in
many other parts of the world, says Rice, which makes it
hard to forge international relationships.
If the institution does achieve full university status, Rice will be keen to maintain its development. A
report by the Nordic Institute for Studies in Innovation,
Research and Education, published on 5 June, says that
clear differences remain between traditional universities
and university colleges that have gained university status—as most of the latter still focus more on education
than on research.
Rice says the first steps on the path to
long-term development will be to increase
cooperation with students and help them to
foster better relationships with their future
employers; communicate with alumni to
understand the quality of programmes; and
train researchers to write more successful
proposals to bring in international funding.
Something to add? Email comment@
ResearchResearch.com

‘We’ll have to
be creative in
making time
for people
to be active
researchers.’

18  news

Research Europe, 18 June 2015

usa

Open-access advocates slam publisher’s plan
Supporters of open access have said that Elsevier’s latest
policy for sharing papers in university repositories will
hamper scientific progress.
Elsevier, the world’s largest publisher of scientific
journals, announced in April that it was updating its
rules about how researchers can share their papers
throughout the publishing process.
The publisher portrayed its updated guidelines as a
way to help authors understand how and when they could
share their work. For instance, authors can share preprints freely, but once an article is accepted it can only
be shared privately or on the ArXiv and RePEc servers.
The policy also defines differences between regular,
subscription articles and those that have “gold openaccess” status, which authors must pay for. The latter
can be shared more freely.
After an article is published, Elsevier appears to be
open to some sharing of the contents but wants to retain
rights to the journal version, which it describes as the
official version. After an embargo, which Elsevier says
will typically last for between 12 and 24 months, the
paper can be made available to the public.
However, open-access proponents have described the
move as a way for Elsevier to retain control over research
articles. Heather Joseph, the executive director of the
Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition
(Sparc), says: “My sense is that Elsevier perceives the
growing popularity of these institutional digital repositories as a threat. Its core journal business depends on
readers having just one channel—the publisher’s website—to access articles.”

usa
in brief

House passes NSF
appropriations bill
The House of Representatives
has voted through a bill on funding for the National Science Foundation, despite claims
that it will hurt the social sciences and geosciences.
The bill allocates $7.4 billion (€6.6bn) to the NSF and
other agencies for the 2016 fiscal year, which begins
in October. This is an increase of less than 1 per cent,
against the $7.7bn requested by the White House.
NIH suspends lab after contamination found
The National Institutes of Health has suspended work
at a laboratory that makes drugs for clinical trials, after
contamination and poor lab practices were discovered.
Fungus was found in two vials at the Pharmaceutical
Development Section of the NIH’s Clinical Center.
Academy calls for science in diplomacy
A report from the National Academy of Sciences has said
that diplomats’ understanding of science should be as

by Sam Lemonick

news@ResearchResearch.com

Most universities maintain collections of research
papers written by their faculty members, many of which
are publicly accessible. Elsevier’s policy does not prevent a professor from sending a copy of a given paper
to anyone who asks for it, but it seems to rule out open,
searchable collections of research articles.
A group of open-access advocates criticised Elsevier’s
policy in a joint statement organised by Sparc and the
Confederation of Open Access Repositories.
“This policy represents a significant obstacle to the
dissemination and use of research knowledge, and
creates unnecessary barriers for Elsevier-published
authors in complying with funders’ open-access policies. In addition, the policy has been adopted without
any evidence that immediate sharing of articles has a
negative impact on publishers’ subscriptions,” the
statement said. As this article went to press, more than
150 organisations had signed the statement, including
the American Library Association, Creative Commons
and dozens of universities.
In a statement, Elsevier denied several of the claims
made by the two groups. It said the new rules would not
be applied retroactively, although it is not clear whether
it changed its policy on this after the initial criticism. It
also highlighted the fact that institutions will no longer
have to sign a formal agreement to abide by embargoes,
and it encouraged researchers who want fewer restrictions to choose its gold open-access plan, which can cost
as much as $5,000 (€4,500).
important to the Department of State as their language
skills. The report says that science and technology play
critical roles in foreign policy, from disaster management to economic development to national security.
Geological survey accused of neglect
A campaign group has accused the United States
Geological Survey of mismanaging its collection of
plants, animals and fossils, and allowing many examples to be lost or destroyed. Public Employees for
Environmental Responsibility, a not-for-profit organisation that supports whistle-blowers at federal agencies,
filed a formal complaint with the Department of the
Interior, which houses the USGS, on 4 June.
$400m donation for Harvard
John Paulson, a hedge fund manager, has donated
$400 million (€360m) to support faculty, research and
students at Harvard University’s school of engineering
and applied sciences. The gift has been described as the
largest single donation in Harvard’s history.

news  19

Research Europe, 18 June 2015

world

North Korea’s ‘privileged’ scientists keen
for global links, conference told
North Korea’s scientists are relatively privileged compared with most citizens in their country and are
involved in a number of international collaborations, a
meeting in Seoul has been told.
Researchers enjoy internet access, some are even
allowed to use mobile phones on a 3G network and outdoor photography is not banned, according to Chan-Mo
Park, a Korean-American IT researcher and the chancellor of Pyongyang University of Science and Technology,
a private institution that opened in 2010.
Speaking at a panel debate on science diplomacy at
the World Conference of Science Journalists, which took
place in Seoul from 8 to 12 June, he did acknowledge,
however, that students were restricted to accessing websites in a computer room and only faculty members were
permitted to use Wi-Fi.
Youngah Park, the president of South Korea’s science and technology evaluation agency Kistep, agreed
that scientists north of the border seemed to be treated
relatively well. She said a Kistep survey of 30 scientists
who had defected from north to south found that twothirds regarded their salary and social status in the
north more favourably than professionals in other
fields. Nonetheless, she pointed out that North Korean
researchers have published just 152 papers in international journals in the past 40 years.

world
in brief

Morocco under pressure from
surge in students
Student numbers in Morocco’s
public universities rose by 85 per
cent between 2009 and 2012, a report by the British
Council has said. The report says the system is struggling
with redundancies and retirement of senior researchers,
and asks whether the most popular courses are useful
in the job market: 18 per cent of graduates are unemployed—almost twice the rate in the general population.
China announces manufacturing R&D plan
The Chinese State Council has unveiled a strategy to
upgrade the country’s manufacturing industries through
technology improvements and greater automation. The
national strategy targets improvements in 10 areas
including ICT, robotics, railways, the aerospace industry, agricultural machinery, and medicines and medical
devices. The government will fund the establishment of
40 manufacturing innovation centres by 2025.
Vow to minimise impact of war on universities
A declaration aimed at protecting universities and
school buildings from armed conflict has been signed

by Ehsan Masood

news@ResearchResearch.com

North Korea’s science is organised through the State
Academy of Sciences, which comprises 95 disciplinebased institutions and 34 affiliated institutions. Science
is one of the country’s three strategic objectives, alongside spreading its ideology and building a strong military.
North Korea has had no formal links with its southern
neighbour since 2008, and tensions have been steadily
escalating. On 24 May, the Seoul government announced
that travel to or contact with North Korea would be a
criminal offence for all except travelling monks.
But Chan-Mo Park and Youngah Park agreed that
south and north could learn from East and West Germany,
which maintained scientific links during the Cold war,
often brokered by a third country. “That is why I would
like South Korea’s leaders to treat scientists differently”
and exempt them from sanctions, Chan-Mo Park said.
The debate was organised to highlight the role that
international science funders can play in keeping
diplomatic channels with nuclear-armed North Korea
open. Some international universities and science
academies, including the UK’s Royal Society and the
American Association for the Advancement of Science,
maintain formal scientific links with North Korea, the
meeting heard.
by 37 nations, including several in Africa, the Middle
East and Europe. The Safe Schools Declaration says steps
must be taken to prevent armed forces from using educational buildings as a base, to record casualties from
attacks on education and to support the continuation of
education in countries affected by war.
Fragmented approach to data hinders development
Developed countries must take a more unified approach
to data handling to achieve their post-2015 development goals, the director-general of the World Health
Organization has said. Margaret Chan told a summit in
Washington that more than 100 countries were lacking
the necessary systems to track vital statistics such as
causes of death, and that developed countries must work
together to invest effectively in information systems.
Unesco wants research on risks faced by journalists
The UN’s science and education agency Unesco has
produced a research agenda to encourage academics
to address the topic of journalists’ safety. The agenda,
published on 10 June, sets out 10 broad areas of work
including psychological, legal and conflict issues, such
as how war correspondents can avoid danger.

20  inside out

Research Europe, 18 June 2015

S ufficiently decisive “More research is needed” is a
phrase rumoured to be banned by certain journals for
being so spectacularly uninformative. Sometimes, however, it’s not what you say but how you say it. The Real
Clear Science blog has just published a list of “Six wordy
ways famous scientists have called for more research.”
Our favourite comes from the physicist Thomas Young:
“Sufficient and decisive as these arguments appear, it
cannot be superfluous to seek for further confirmation.”
Jargon running wild At a regional innovation conference
in Riga earlier this month, the European Commission
needlessly saw fit to coin the term “triple helix” to
describe the three main actors in smart specialisation:
regional governments, industry and universities. This
prompted the Latvian-American journalist Juris Kaža to
stand up and express his frustration: “There are three
English languages spoken in the EU: British, American
and Eurocratic.” The newspaper Politico went one stage
further, launching the Twitter hashtag #EUjargonauts as
the new home for Eurocratic excess.
Y es , we have no gender equality Also on Twitter, a
campaign called EU Panel Watch is endeavouring to
denounce EU events at which women are excluded from
the panel of speakers—or not allowed to intervene.
Example: seven men formed a panel at a cybersecurity

conference hosted by the European Commission’s DG
Connect late last month. Back in March, Robert Madelin,
the head of the directorate, had promised to include at
least two female speakers in each of its events.
Brazen bid for office As Danish political leaders compete for the attention of the last undecided voters before
today’s election, most of them are focusing on policy.
But for John Erik Wagner, an independent who has run
unsuccessfully twice before, it’s important that voters
understand the full package they’ll get if he is elected. In
a series of election posters scattered around Copenhagen,
Wagner poses in a cowboy hat, a gun holster—and nothing
more. “It helps to look good if you want to be in government and people say I have a nice body, so I thought, this
is me, here I am,” he is quoted as saying.
Educational viewing Isaac Pérez, a physical education
lecturer at the University of Granada in Spain, has taken
his passion for Game of Thrones directly into the lecture
room. Pérez, who teaches sports science to second-year
undergraduates, is encouraging his 62 students to dress
up as characters from the series, and dividing them into
four ‘kingdoms’, each of which specialises in one of the
four blocks of the course programme. The best thing,
however, is the homework: watching the entire series in
Spanish, which is now available.

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