Svetlomir Stavrev

CERN in Horizon Europe: a glance at 2022

Submitted by alegall on
15 December 2022

The Framework programme for research and innovation continues to be attractive for many CERN teams across the organization: 46 proposals with the participation of CERN were submitted to different Horizon Europe programmes. With 21 proposals, the ERC remains the most popular programme for the CERN research community. The ERC, together with the Research Infrastructure Programme (7 proposals) and the Marie-Curie Programme (4 proposals), compose the Excellence Science Pillar of Horizon Europe, which is the main EU source of funding for fundamental research, and hence has been the main focus of interest of the CERN community for nearly 10 years. In addition to the projects where CERN participates as a beneficiary, there were also 34 Marie-Curie post-doctoral fellowship applications, submitted by individual researchers (a record number).

Other programmes, to which several proposals have been submitted, include the European Innovation Council (EIC) and the Widening Excellence part of Horizon Europe.

As regards the success rates, 30 out of 46 proposals have been evaluated so far. Out of the 30 evaluated proposals, 9 have been funded, which gives a success rate of 30%. This is quite good, taking into account that the average success rate of Horizon Europe programmes is around 15%, and that most of the proposals were submitted to highly competitive programmes such as the ERC, Marie-Curie and EIC. And then 3 of the evaluated proposals are ranked on a reserve list, which means that they still have a chance of being funded, provided that some additional budget becomes available. The 34 individual Marie-Curie proposals are all still under evaluation.

Out of the 46 proposals, 19 have been submitted by CERN and 27 by other institutes. It is to be noted that 16 out of the 19 proposals submitted by CERN are ERC grant proposals. In other words, the number of projects where CERN took the lead of a consortium and submitted a proposal for a new EU project together with a number of other participants, has been quite low, and that has not been the case in previous years. 

Out of the 9 successfully evaluated proposals (so far), 1 is coordinated by CERN: HEARTS, a project for providing European industry with access to high-energy accelerators for radiation shielding and testing, which was funded under the Space programme of the Digital and Industry Cluster of Horizon Europe.

With 16 proposals under evaluation, there are still hopes for some other successful Horizon Europe projects among those that were submitted in 2022.

In 2023, the new cycle of Horizon Europe programmes (covering 2023-2024) will start. There will be multiple opportunities for EU support to CERN programmes and projects, including new initiatives such as the Green Village and the CIPEA programme. The EU Office welcomes for discussion and provides advice to everyone who has ideas for new projects and is looking for EU funding for this purpose.

With 2022 drawing to a close, it is appropriate time to look back at the participation of CERN in Horizon Europe during this year.
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CERN exceeds expectations after over one year of Horizon Europe

Submitted by alegall on
05 September 2022

Started one year and half ago, the Horizon Europe Programme has generated a lot of interest from the CERN community. So far, the Organization has been involved in more than 60 proposals, if we exclude the individual Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellowships. Success is clear. With over 30% of its projects selected of funding, CERN is doing very well compared to the average Horizon Europe rate, which stands around 15%.

As was the case in the previous EU Framework Programmes for Research and Innovation, most popular with our scientists and engineers are the European Research Council (ERC) Grants, Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) and Research Infrastructure (RI) programmes. 13 of the 19 successful projects will be funded under one of these three programmes. This success includes 4 ERC Grants hosted by CERN and the Muon Collider Design Study, coordinated by CERN, which was recently selected for funding.

While these three programmes have been traditionally very popular and successful for CERN, a somewhat worrying trend is the declining interest in the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Doctoral Networks, in particular those where CERN takes the lead. In the latest issue of the “EU Projects @ CERN” newsletter, we took a dive into this programme specifically aimed at highly skilled doctoral candidates, to train them, stimulate their creativity, enhance their innovation capacities and boost their employability in the long-term.

On the positive side is the enhanced participation of CERN in other Horizon Europe programmes. Worth mentioning are one of our flagship projects, ATTRACT, whose Phase 1B will be funded by the European Innovation Council, and the HEARTS project, coordinated by CERN, which will be funded under the Digital, Industry and Space Cluster of Horizon Europe.

From quantum-resistant cryptography to advanced robotics, from two-dimensional materials to extreme data mining, a dozen Horizon Europe calls have been identified by CERN’s EU Projects Office as being of potential interest for the organisation. If you are considering EU funding for your R&D projects, please do not hesitate to visit the CERN EU Projects website and contact the EU Office, for a discussion, advice or opinion, and support in the preparation of the proposal.

With over 60 proposals submitted, the new EU Framework Programme shows continued interest from the CERN community.
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Did you know that … CERN had a very successful participation in Horizon 2020?

Submitted by alegall on
08 November 2021

“With 110 projects and 74 M€ of corresponding funding from the European Commission (EC), CERN has been one of the most successful international organisations in Horizon 2020 (H2020)”, says Svet Stavrev, Section Leader for EU Project Management and Operational Support in the IPT Department. “H2020 was the previous EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation, which ran from 2014 to 2020. It is followed by Horizon Europe which started in 2021”.

Which were the most successful programmes for CERN in H2020?

80% of the projects and 85% of the EC funding for CERN in H2020 came from its Excellence Science pillar. Under this pillar, CERN had a very strong track record with grants coming from the different programmes:

  • The European Research Council (ERC), which provided support for top-level CERN researchers to perform frontier research;
  • Marie-Sklodowska-Curie actions, which provided valuable training and work experience for 100 young scientists and engineers in different fields of science and technology;
  • E-infrastructure projects, which provided support for grid and cloud computing and related IT services and platforms;
  • Research infrastructure projects, which provided support for accelerator and detector R&D, innovation actions, and future projects in Particle Physics.

Apart from receiving funds, how does CERN benefit from its participation in EU projects?

EU projects provide complementary support to the main R&D programmes of the Organisation, and to other activities such as innovation and technology transfer for industrial and societal applications (e.g. medical technologies and use of accelerators outside of Particle Physics). They also allow CERN to recruit and boost the careers of a large number of young scientists and engineers, from technical student to post-doc and early career level, most of whom leave CERN afterwards and pursue a career in industry or research.

EU projects provide a collaborative framework for strengthening and developing new links with academic and industrial partners from the CERN Member States and beyond: in total, CERN collaborated with 800 partners from 57 countries through H2020 projects, out of which 487 were academic organisations and 223 industrial companies.

What can CERN expect from Horizon Europe, the new EU Framework for Research and Innovation?

All programmes in which CERN has had a traditional strong participation, will be continued and/or expanded in the new Framework Programme. Horizon Europe will be a very competitive programme, but we expect CERN to continue to have high success rates with ERC Grants, Marie-Curie actions, e-infrastructure and research infrastructure projects.

We can expect support for breakthrough research, innovative detector and accelerator technologies, knowledge transfer projects for development of applications outside of particle physics, and continued EC support for accelerator and detector collaborative programmes, as well as for new projects such as the Future Circular Collider (FCC).

In order to continue this successful streak, we need a constant inflow of people with new ideas: if you are considering EU funding for your R&D projects, please do not hesitate to contact the EU Projects Office for advice and support with your proposals.

With 110 projects and EC funding of 74 M€, CERN has been one of the most successful international organisations in H2020