“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.