Several organisations and institutions articulate the European Union scientific and technology landscape. These institutions complement other funding activities in Europe such as those of the national research funding agencies. Let’s briefly go through some of them.
This Directorate General falls under the responsibility of the Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth. The department is in charge of EU policy on research, science and innovation, with a view to help create growth and jobs and tackle our biggest societal challenges.
Although the whole directorate is embracing science diplomacy as a key dimension of their work, the International Cooperation Unit is crucial for defining and deploying the European science diplomacy strategy. The unit is in charge of fostering international cooperation as it allows:
The European Research Council (ERC) focuses on frontier research (new and emerging fields). This may be cross-disciplinary and involve unconventional approaches. ERC promotes “bottom up” or “investigator-driven” research allowing researchers themselves to identify new opportunities and funding competitive grants for scientific excellence. The ERC operates as an autonomous science-led funding body.
ERC opportunities are open to researchers of any nationality and at different stages of their careers who intend to conduct their research activity in any EU country or associated country (countries that have signed agreements with the EU can be seen in this list).
The European Commission Joint Research Centre (JRC) is the science and knowledge service for the EU Commission. The JRC employs scientists to carry out research in order to provide independent scientific advice and support to EU policymakers. The Joint Research Centre and partner European Commission services manage and operate six Knowledge Centres:
The European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) is based in Budapest and aims to strengthen the innovation capacity of European Union countries by integrating higher education, research and innovation and promoting synergies and cooperation between them.
The EIT relies on Knowledge and innovation communities (KICs). KICs are strategic networks or independent partnerships of higher education establishments, research institutes, companies and other stakeholders in the innovation process. The KICs are funded by the EIT and are selected via calls for proposals and they have a great degree of freedom to define their legal form and composition.
The EU Innovation Council (EIC) is a key novelty of Horizon Europe and represents the most ambitious innovation initiative that Europe has taken, with a budget of €10 billion for the period 2021-2027. The EIC has a mission to identify, develop and scale-up breakthrough technologies and disruptive innovations and in this way scales up potential projects that are too risky for private investors (70% of the budget of the EIC earmarked for SMEs).
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