May 2022 issue

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The May 2022 issue of our newsletter is packed with interesting material, such as upcoming events for NCPs and useful information on ERA Policy and impact in Horizon Europe proposals. There is also a presentation of the Bridge2HE Twinning & Mentoring Programme. The article of the month features a recent interview with Anna Panagopoulou, Director of the Research Area and Innovation at DG RTD. Finally, we would like to draw your attention to a newsletter of interest, on Reforming and Enhancing the European R&I System, which is published by the Research Executive Agency (REA). Here are also links to the latest issue from 17 May and also to the subscription page.

Policy Update

ERA Policy Update

The Widening participation and Strengthening the ERA part of Horizon Europe is closely connected to ERA policy. In the next work programme for 2023-2024, all calls will have clear references to ERA policy objectives. Already now in 2022, to write a successful proposal for WIDERA – or to advise programme applicants – up-to-date knowledge of ERA policy is necessary, as it defines the context of the programme. The concept of ERA was first put in place in the year 2000 and while the basic idea still stands, the concept has developed, and the priorities of the current ERA policy were defined during 2020-2022. Jörg Niehoff, Deputy Head of Unit in DG RTD in charge of ERA governance and implementation, has made it easier for us to keep up with policy issues, with his concise presentation on the new ERA policy agenda delivered on the WIDERA info day 27 April 2022. This info day can be re-watched, and his slides consulted, by anyone who wants to brush up on their knowledge about the vision and objectives of the new ERA, the policy framework, priority areas, and the timeline of implementation. (Kristin Kraav, ETAG, Estonia.)

What is happening in other NCP networks?

Bridge2HE Twinning and Mentoring Programme launched!

The programme is an initiative developed under Bridge2HE and dedicated to NCPs from widening countries and countries with outermost regions. Its goal is to support NCPs with relevant knowledge and skills in identified fields such as proposals pre-screening, legal and financial issues, organisation of events, widening package and synergies. The initiative, with more than 80 applications, is one of the most required service offered by an NCP project. The programme gathers 19 experienced NCPs as mentors, who come from Austria, Belgium, Czechia, Luxembourg, Poland, Portugal, Italy, Spain and Switzerland. The mentees come from 21 widening countries. The Programme was launched on May 13th as a side event to the NCP Coordinators' Meeting that took place at the French Ministry for Higher Education, Research and Innovation. Mentors and mentees formed pairs that have the opportunity to collaborate individually or during group sessions between May and September 2022. The collaboration methodology is based on the capacities of individual participants. Additionally, group sessions and meet-and-exchange workshops will be organised to complement the programme. The initiative is developed by a team of NCPs from Poland, Czech Republic, Cyprus, Lithuania and Belgium. See also section below, on upcoming events for NCPs, with further information. (Katarzyna Walczyk-Matuszyk, NCBR, Poland.)

Expert Advice


The impact section in Horizon Europe proposals is made up of two main parts: a) impact/outcomes and b) measures to maximise impacts/outcomes. Applicants that want to write a good impact section, should keep in mind: 
  • to be credible and specific to the proposal, have consistent KPIs with clear benchmarks, barriers and obstacles explained in detail with mitigation plan, and have well-designed communication strategy;
  • to address both expected impacts, which are on the one hand long-term impact that goes beyond the project duration, and are described in the relevant Destination of the WP, and on the other hand short to medium term impact, identified the call text;
  • to describe pathways and logical steps leading to the impact and actions to be taken. Mentions of specific stakeholder groups should include description of how to involve them in co-creating the project;
  • expected outcomes and impacts must have SMART KPIs, benchmarked and base-line explained;
  • to include broad, but targeted group of stakeholders (involving regional actors), but not using stakeholders just for dissemination of results;
  • to consider sustainability of the project after the funding stops, as well as scalability, which refers to how fast you can move from small to large scale activity of project outputs as two critical measures of impact;
  • to explain and quantify the scale and effects the project will reach, e.g. reaching different stakeholder groups, geographical reach), and how important they will be (significance).
(Aurelija Povilaike, LMT, Lithuania.)

Article of the Month

Interview with Anna Panagopoulou  
A significant part of Horizon Europe budget has been earmarked to support participation of countries with low R&I performance. In a recent interview with Anna Panagopoulou, Director of the European Research Area and Innovation at DG RTD, she explains the Hop-on facilty, which is a new element of the widening package.
Read the whole interview.

Upcoming Events for NCPs

Capacity building for NCPs on pre-screening.
3 June 2022 at 10:00-15:00 CET.
Training event organised by the WIDERA.NET for NCPs dealing with Widening issues. The aim is to diagnose the needs of NCPs, facilitate a peer learning process by showcasing the standpoint of three NCPs and focus on the three evaluation criteria, impact, excellence and implementation.

The event will be fully interactive with a plenary session, breakout groups and collective reflection on outputs. Conclusions will be further communicated within the project to facilitate a tailored-made approach to NCP capacity building events.

Registration: Link for registration
Contacts: Vassiliki Kalodimou and Maria Samara.
The Widening programme from Pillar II NCPs' perspective
10 June 2022 at 12:15-15:00 CET.
Training organised by the B2HE project in collaboration with NCP WIDERA.NET. In the first part, basic information on the programme’s main elements, Teaming, Twinning and ERA Chairs, will be presented in addition to complementary funding opportunities. In the second part, the coordinator of NCP WIDERA.NET will present the project with focus on services and opportunities for Pillar II NCPs and applicants from widening countries. The training is addressed to all NCPs, with emphasis on Pillar II NCPs, while it is also useful for new WIDERA NCPs.

Registration: Link for registration.
Contacts: Vassiliki Kalodimou and Katerina Papadouli.
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This project is funded by the European Union's programme
Horizon Europe under grant agreement no. 101055286