Horizon 2020 in sight

Every tenth member of the CERN personnel participates in an EU-funded project – a strong indication of CERN’s successful relations with the European Commission (EC), coordinated by the CERN EU projects office. The EC director in charge of preparing “Horizon 2020”, the new EU funding programme for research and innovation (2014-2020), will be giving a presentation at CERN on 8 May. He will reveal more about what the new programme has in store.


“It’s a very interesting time in the development of Horizon 2020, which is focusing the attention of all research communities in Europe,” explains Svetlomir Stavrev, head of the EU projects office. “After a long public consultation and drafting process, the Horizon 2020 proposal documents are now being reviewed by the European Parliament and Council.” CERN already participated in the consultation, making good use of the opportunity to contribute to the shaping of what is effectively the European Union’s scientific research agenda until the end of the decade. The process for the adoption of the new 80 billion euro framework programme is expected to be completed by the middle of next year.

CERN has benefited significantly from the previous and current Framework Programmes (FPs). “Since the start of FP7 (2007-2013) CERN has been involved in almost 70 EU projects with associated EC funding of about 80 million euros, which is basically double compared to the previous programme FP6,” says Svetlomir. “It’s not all about this additional funding, though. The added value is even more important.”

This, he says, comes in three forms. Firstly, participating in EU projects means CERN can strengthen existing collaborations and build new ones with industry, research organisations and universities across Europe and even beyond. It also helps the Organization to do some complementary research that is not in its core mission, such as the development of medical applications. Last, but definitely not least, is the support made available for training researchers and engineers in different scientific fields. “The EU Marie Curie Actions have traditionally been very successful for CERN. Since the start of FP7 in 2007, more than 350 Fellow-years have been funded under the Marie Curie programme,” explains Svetlomir.

The proposal for Horizon 2020 has a significantly larger proposed overall budget than FP7 and contains all the areas (see box) where CERN has been successful in submitting EU projects so far. In addition, the European Commission is working on ways of simplifying administrative procedures for scientists applying for and implementing EU projects. To find out more, come to the presentation by Jack Metthey, EC Director for the Framework Programme, in the Council Chamber on 8 May.

CERN’s experience with EU projects includes:

- Research infrastructures: accelerator and detector R&D
- e-infrastructures: Grid computing and information technology
- Marie Curie Actions: training for scientists and engineers
- European Research Council: funding for world-class research investigators
- Health: hadron therapy and medical physics
- Open Access: providing unrestricted online access to scientific publications
- Science education: developing novel and attractive teaching methods and tools


by Joannah Caborn Wengler