Action Plan of the Federal State Government of North Rhine-Westphalia

for the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation “Horizon 2020”

in the context of the Europe 2020 Strategy and the Innovation Union Flagship Initiative

(adopted on 29th of April 2014)

– Summary –

With its Action Plan for the EU’s Research Framework Programmes, since 2006 the federal state government has created a structure which aims to raise – by means of bundled and coordinated measures – the level of participation of North Rhine-Westphalian players in European research and innovation funding as well as in the knowledge and innovation networks it generates.

The current “Action Plan for Participation in Horizon 2020” (duration 2014-2020) pursues the following objectives:

  • Strengthening of the competitiveness of science and business in NRW
  • Stronger focus on innovation: “Overcoming the innovation gap”
  • Commensurate attention to the topic of social innovation
  • Anchoring of the cross-cutting issue of gender equality
  • Complementarity with NRW’s innovation and research policy

Many of the measures in the Action Plan are implemented in the framework of the “NRW.Europa” project, the NRW node of the European information, consulting and advice network entitled “Enterprise Europe Network (EEN)”, which is coordinated by ZENIT GmbH. Partners are NRW.BANK and NRW.International (the latter since 2015).

The Action Plan comprises the following measures:

1.     Information services
1.1   Horizon 2020 Internet portal.
1.2   Newsletter (to date some 3.400 subscribers from science and business).

2.     Integrated event concept
2.1   Presentations of NRW research priorities at the federal state’s representation to the EU in Brussels:
“Grand Challenges: Answers from NRW”.
2.2   Events for specific target groups in North Rhine-Westphalia, including the “Successful R&I in Europe – European Networking Event” with about 350 participants from NRW and other European regions as well as the “NRW-FIT in Europa” training programme for proposers and project managers in Horizon 2020.

3.     Optimization of advice structures
3.1   Regular workshops for EU and innovation consultants from science and business in NRW to discuss quality assurance aspects, evaluation, further development of own consulting expertise etc.
3.2.   Since 2010, the Ministry of Innovation, Science and Research has supported the establishment of EU project management structures at higher education in-stitutions with overall funding of € 3.1 million. A total of 23 institutions were successful in the framework of two competitions in 2010 and 2014.

4.     Support for building project consortia in Horizon 2020 is provided through NRW.Europa services (brokerage events, delegation visits, etc.).

5.     Support of knowledge and technology transfer of results from NRW participation in Horizon 2020 through NRW.Europa services such as, for example, compilation and dissemination of evaluated technology offers and requests, help with licensing and spin-offs from science, involvement of players in brokerage events etc.

6.     Technology and innovation support, in particular through participation in the new SME funding measures. About 20% of the funds available in the Horizon 2020 priority areas of “Industrial Leadership” and “Societal Challenges” are earmarked for SMEs.

7.     Synergies between Horizon 2020 and the Structural Funds are to be created in NRW by offering both information and advice services for building research and in-novation capacities (“upstream”) as well as measures to improve the use and eco-nomic as well as social commercialization of research results (“downstream”).

8.     Innovation-oriented public procurement plays a prominent role in Horizon 2020 in the shape of two new instruments. Pre-Commercial Procurement (PCP) allows buyers in the public sector to have technologically innovative solutions developed for their own special requirements. The purpose of Public Procurement of Innovative Solutions (PPI) is the purchase of already developed innovative products and thus also facilitation of their market introduction. In the framework of NRW.Europa, information events are organized, EU projects and/or applications supported and contacts mediated between suppliers and inquirers.

Action Plan Handlungskonzept der Landesregierung NRW “Horizont 2020” in German.