Successful training sessions on European project development and management held in Gran Canaria

Gran Canaria, Spain. On June 4 and 11, Consulta Europa successfully conducted two training sessions as part of the course “Training in the Development and Management of European Projects.” Organised by the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (ULPGC) in collaboration with the European Projects Office of the Canary Islands Foundation for Science and Technology Park of ULPGC (FCPCT), 2024, by our CEO, Michelle Perello.

The 12-hour course covered both theoretical and practical topics, providing comprehensive insights into various European funding programmes such as Horizon Europe, Erasmus+, LIFE, Citizens, Equality, the Rights and Values Programme, the Creative Programme, and Interreg.

Key areas of focus included:

  • Methodology for project development and management
  • Criteria and processes for project evaluation
  • Strategies to enhance participation
  • Project objectives
  • Work plan structure
  • Consortium description
  • Budget structure

Participants also engaged in a proposal development laboratory, where they learned how to search for calls, identify and analyse annex documents, draft objectives and competence maps, structure work plans, tasks, deliverables, and milestones, and conduct joint project evaluations.

The course aimed to expand the knowledge and skills of ULPGC’s research community, enabling them to participate in and lead European-funded research projects. This initiative is part of the activities under the LidERA OPE-ULPGC Project: “Training for Leadership in the European Research Area” (Ref: GPE2022-001124). Funded by the State Research Agency, LidERA’s primary objective is to increase the participation of ULPGC’s research community in European Framework Programmes, particularly Horizon Europe, and to improve national return rates in these programmes.

The successful completion of these training sessions marks a significant step towards enhancing the capabilities of researchers at ULPGC, positioning them to secure and manage European research funding more effectively.

BESTLIFE2030’s impact at the CPMR Islands Commission General Assembly

In the face of climate change, insular regions are on the frontline, grappling with unprecedented impacts on their fragile ecosystems, rich in endemic species critical to global biodiversity. However, amidst these challenges, opportunities arise to strengthen these territories through tangible Nature-based Solutions and regional climate adaptation strategies.

 

Shedding light on these pathways, Consulta Europa as the Macaronesia Regional Hub of the BESTLIFE2030 programme participated in the CPMR Islands Commission’s General Assembly, held on the 23rd and 24th of April in Ponta Delgada (Azores), focusing on three key topics.

 

Empowering territorial governments

The programme recognised the vital role of territorial governments in supporting biodiversity conservation and sustainable development. By engaging local authorities and stakeholders, BESTLIFE2030 taps into their expertise, enhancing the prospects for long-term sustainability. This collaborative approach guides the implementation of targeted conservation measures tailored to each region’s specific needs.

 

Biodiversity and climate change

The nexus between biodiversity conservation and climate change adaptation is undeniable. As ecosystems face unprecedented threats, safeguarding biodiversity becomes paramount in adapting to the impacts of climate change in insular regions. BESTLIFE2030 represents a promising initiative, offering a responsive mechanism to adapt to these challenges head-on. By prioritising biodiversity conservation, the programme not only safeguards ecosystems and human well-being but also enhances resilience to climate change, benefiting both present and future generations.

 

Getting hands-on

Examples of potential projects put forward within the Macaronesia regions by BESTLIFE2030 were promoted at the event serving as compelling case studies to highlight the programme’s efficacy in addressing regional biodiversity challenges. For instance, it was presented how BESTLIFE2030 can the preservation of marine ecosystems through habitat mapping, biodiversity data collection, and environmental impact assessments in the Macaronesian regions (Azores, Canary Islands, Madeira).

 

In conclusion, BESTLIFE2030 underscores the pivotal role of insular governments in biodiversity conservation. Through collaborative efforts and strategic interventions, the programme not only tackles regional biodiversity challenges but also lays the groundwork for context-appropriate and effective responses.

Strengthening the Role of Equality Bodies Across the EU: The Council Adopts Two Directives

On May 7th, a milestone in the fight against discrimination within the European Union occurred as the Council formally adopted two directives aimed at enhancing the role and effectiveness of equality bodies across member states.

Equality bodies, established to promote equal treatment, combat discrimination, and aid victims, will see their capabilities significantly bolstered under the new directives. These directives introduce EU-wide minimum requirements that ensure these bodies operate with enhanced competence and greater independence.

Key Provisions of the New Directives:

  1. Enhanced Competences: Equality bodies will have expanded authority to address discrimination based on religion or belief, disability, age, and sexual orientation in employment, as well as sex-based discrimination in social security.
  2. Independence: There is now a legal mandate ensuring equality bodies remain free from external influences, allowing them to operate impartially and effectively.
  3. Resource Allocation: Member states are required to provide equality bodies with sufficient human, technical, and financial resources to fulfil their mandates.
  4. Consultation and Prevention: Public institutions must consult equality bodies on discrimination-related matters. Equality bodies are empowered to carry out preventive measures and promote equal treatment through positive action and mainstreaming equality.
  5. Increased Powers: These bodies are granted greater authority to conduct inquiries and engage in dispute resolution in line with national laws and practices.

The adoption of these directives is a crucial step towards harmonising the standards and operations of equality bodies across the EU, addressing the significant discrepancies that currently exist between member states.

Next Steps: Following the signing and publication in the EU’s Official Journal, member states will have two years to align their national legislation with the new directives.

Implications for the ATHENA Project: The directives are particularly significant for initiatives like the H2020 project ATHENA, coordinated by Consulta Europa, which aims to implement gender equality plans in research organisations across Europe. ATHENA focuses on eliminating barriers to the recruitment, retention, and career progression of female researchers and addressing gender imbalances in decision-making processes.

Michelle Perello, CEO at Consulta Europa and coordinator of the ATHENA Projects, expressed optimism about the directives: “We were all looking forward to the approval of these two directives, which will make the work of equality bodies more efficient and impactful. We hope now that member states will not delay too much in adopting and implementing them.”

For further details, visit the official press release: Strengthening the Role of Equality Bodies Across the EU: The Council Adopts Two Directives.

Successful Celebration of the International Day of Girls in Information and Communication Technology in Gran Canaria

Yesterday, Gran Canaria, Spain, marked a successful celebration of the International Day of Girls in Information and Communication Technology (ICT), emphasising the crucial need to bridge the gender gap in the tech sector. The event, organised by the ATHENA Project and the Department of Universities, Science, Innovation, and Culture of the Government of the Canary Islands in collaboration with the Canarian Agency for Research, Innovation, and Information Society (ACIISI), drew the participation of prominent personalities and organisations dedicated to promoting equal opportunities in STEM careers for women.

The ATHENA Equality project, funded by the European Union under the Horizon 2020 Programme and led by Consulta Europa, also played a pivotal role in the event. Beatrice Avagnina, Managing Director of Consulta Europa and an expert in innovation projects and participatory approaches, represented the project and underscored the importance of removing barriers to recruitment, retention, and career progression for female researchers, as well as addressing gender imbalances in decision-making processes.

One of the highlights of the event was the presentation of the MUCICA study, which revealed significant insights into the vocational levels of young Canarian women in science and technology. Romina Ojeda Brito, CEO of Reboot and President of WISE Canarias, took part in a roundtable discussion where the challenges and opportunities for women in these fields were extensively explored.

The involvement of inspirational figures such as Esther Pérez Verdú, Gara Miranda Valladares, Marta Cabrera Hernández, Laura Ruiz Caramés, Purificación Jurado Antúnez, and Maria Dolores Marrero Aleman also highlighted the ongoing support from organisations like WISE Canarias and ACIISI in fostering female talent in innovation and technology in the Canary Islands.

This event not only marked a significant milestone for the tech community in Gran Canaria but also represented a crucial step towards creating a more inclusive and equitable environment for women in the fields of science and technology.

THE ERASMUS+ Care4youth project consortium gathered in Palermo to promote intercultural integration and youth development.

The Erasmus+ Care4Youth Project consortium meeting held in Palermo, Italy, from April 9th to April 11th, convened stakeholders from across Europe for a dynamic exchange of ideas and best practices. 

Highlights of the event included focused working sessions on project management during the first day, with partners from Serbia, Spain, and Italy presenting comprehensive national reports on youth development and integration efforts. These reports emphasised both progress made and challenges faced in fostering inclusive environments for young people.

The second day featured a compelling study tour, where participants engaged with local stakeholders and explored innovative social projects like Molti-Volti and initiatives in the multicultural Ballaró neighborhood. The visit also celebrated the achievements of the Handala Mediterraneo Antirazzista organisation in promoting social integration.

The culmination of the meeting was a co-creation workshop at the European Palermo Youth Centre on the final day. Utilising Dixit cards to stimulate creativity, participants engaged in collaborative exercises such as brainstorming and mind mapping to design tailored training and sports programmes for youth in care.

The Palermo meeting reaffirmed the commitment of the Eramus+ Care4Youth project partners and organisations to advancing intercultural integration and youth development in Europe. It served as a vital forum for fostering partnerships and innovative solutions, underscoring the ongoing dedication to creating inclusive opportunities for young people.

For more information about our initiative. Please visit our social media pages.

The 2nd IKAT Tourism Call for SMEs in Europe Offers Financial Support for Coastal and Maritime Services

The 2nd Eurocluster IKAT call for SMEs engaged in coastal and maritime tourism is now open, welcoming applications until Wednesday, May 15, 2024, at 16:00 Canary Islands time.

The initiative encourages robust participation from Canarian enterprises. Targeting SMEs involved in nautical and coastal tourism, the call aims to fund services for these businesses through pre-identified providers (including entities from the Canary Islands). This proactive involvement is crucial in identifying and supporting SMEs that many of you are likely to collaborate with. While the application process is straightforward, support is available to assist in English submissions, given the European project context.

Objectives of the 2nd Call The IKAT services targeting SMEs in the coastal and maritime tourism sector aim to provide solutions that address and are in alignment with the priorities of the European Strategy for More Growth and Jobs in Coastal and Maritime Tourism, as well as to recover pre-pandemic Gross Domestic Product (GDP), contributing to re-establishing broken value chains, collaboration, and increasing the resilience of tourism SMEs.

IKAT Eurocluster Supplier Catalog The IKAT EUROCLUSTER establishes a supplier catalog by type of service. This catalogue is developed based on the expertise and quality of the suppliers demonstrated by testimonials, previous work funded through European projects or previous work with at least one of the IKAT partners, and the location of these suppliers in the IKAT countries and EU-13 countries.

IKAT’s primary goal aligns with the European Commission’s updated tourism strategy post-pandemic, emphasising the Mediterranean’s tourism, maritime, and coastal sectors. Establishing an initial consortium, IKAT emphasises a democratic, agile, and flexible approach for short- and medium-term actions supporting the tourism ecosystem.

The IKAT Tourism Call for SMEs in Europe targets entities within the maritime and coastal tourism ecosystem. Key sub-sectors include ports, marinas, recreational and sport boat services, vessel manufacturing and sales, charter and maritime excursions, coastal tourism, water sports, and related services.

Participating SMEs stand to benefit from financial support to enhance their innovation activities within these sectors.

To engage with this opportunity, interested parties can access further information and submit applications through the following links:

  • IKAT Platform Euroclustering: Find detailed information and submit applications at the IKAT Project Website.
  • Funding and Tenders Opportunities: Explore European funding opportunities and submit applications at the European Commission’s Funding and Tenders Portal.
  • ECCP: European Cluster Collaboration Platform: Discover opportunities promoted by European clusters and access the IKAT Tourism 2nd Call for SMEs in Europe information at ECCP.

Don’t miss out on the chance to win financial support and contribute to the thriving coastal and maritime tourism ecosystem through the IKAT Tourism Call for SMEs in Europe!

Webinar Success: BestLife2030 Program Update & Recording Now Available!

We’re thrilled to share the success of our recent webinar, that focused on introducing technical and financial information for the 1st Call of Proposals’ Final Phase of the BESTLIFE2030 Programme!

Held on 4 April 2024, this event saw enthusiastic participation from project representatives selected for the full phase, from the Canary Islands, Madeira, and the Azores. Attendees walked away equipped with invaluable insights and resources to develop their projects forward effectively.

Now, the recording of the webinar is available for viewing, ensuring accessibility for all participants below:

Dive into the discussions and stay tuned for more updates as we continue to advance conservation efforts in our region through collaborative initiatives. Good luck to the applicants!

Finally, to download the presentations please click below:

About BESTLIFE2030

The BESTLIFE2030 programme is a comprehensive initiative aimed at promoting conservation and sustainable development in various regions. Through strategic funding and support, BESTLIFE2030 empowers projects that address environmental priorities, contribute to regional ecosystems, and align with global sustainability objectives. By monitoring and evaluating project performance at multiple levels, BESTLIFE2030 ensures that interventions are effective, innovative, and aligned with the programme’s overarching goals. Emphasizing knowledge sharing and learning, BESTLIFE2030 fosters collaboration among stakeholders, disseminates best practices, and maximizes the impact of conservation efforts. Ultimately, the programme seeks to create lasting positive change by protecting biodiversity, supporting local communities, and advancing environmental stewardship for a better future.

The first multi-purpose platform for floating offshore wind and aquaculture in the Atlantic Basin is set to launch

This Wednesday, March 13, members of the Consortium of the European AquaWind project, coordinated by the Ministry of Universities, Science, Innovation and Culture, through the Canary Islands Agency of Research, Innovation and Information Society (ACIISI), visited the W2Power prototype at the ASTICAN facilities.

Present at the visit were Germán Suárez, president of ASTICAN and president of the Canary Islands Marine Maritime Cluster, Javier Franco Hormiga, director of the Canary Islands Agency of Research, Innovation and Information Society (ACIISI); Elba Bueno, CEO of the Canary Islands Marine Maritime Cluster, Ana Mayorga, CFO of ENEROCEAN; Joaquín Hernández Brito, CEO of the Oceanic Platform of the Canary Islands (PLOCAN), and Juan Manuel Afonso, Director of the Aquaculture Research Group (GIA) at ULPGC.

The aim of AquaWind is to carry out a demonstration test of an integrated and co-located multi-use solution. The trial consists of validating an existing prototype of floating marine renewable energy production, which will be integrated with an aquaculture production system.

The aquaculture prototype includes a custom-designed fish cage with innovative net materials, a high level of digitization, and validation with fish species to be cultivated. This project will conduct real-world tests for the first time, integrating marine energy production with live fish aquaculture in the Atlantic region.

AquaWind brings together the efforts of a multidisciplinary consortium including R&D centres, companies, SMEs, a regional authority, and a maritime cluster from three EU member states (France, Spain, and Portugal).

This is an 80% co-financed initiative with over €1 million from the European Climate, Infrastructure, and Environment Executive Agency, thanks to the European Maritime, Fisheries, and Aquaculture Fund, with the remaining 20% coming from the project partners’ own funds, highlighting that over 50% are SMEs. “This is a good indicator of the effort being made in the Canary Islands through ACIISI to promote projects and activities of public-private collaboration and knowledge transfer in the regional R&D&I field,” noted Javier Franco.

In the Canary Islands, the consortium has key entities such as PLOCAN, which, besides providing support from its Test Bench for validation tests, will lead the work in obtaining the necessary licences and permits for the new activity, as well as economic studies. The University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (ULPGC) is responsible for the aquaculture system through the ECO-Aqua Institute and will also be supported by Canexmar S.L., a company dedicated to aquaculture production and commercialization. Additionally, the Canary Islands Maritime Cluster will promote the meeting and dialogue of all social agents related to the sea.


AquaWind’s Consortium members

In this regard, the director of the Canary Islands Agency of Research, Innovation and Information Society, Javier Franco, specified that “a consortium led by the Canary Islands such as AQUAWIND being selected to develop the first multi-purpose platform for floating wind and aquaculture built and installed in Spain, and having significant participation from Canary Islands companies, the Cluster, R&D Centers like PLOCAN, and the University of Las Palmas, reaffirms the commitment of this Government and ACIISI to support our R&D centers so that they continue to develop scientific-technological capacities and human capital that contribute to the much-needed regional economic diversification and prevent brain drain. It is no coincidence that ACIISI, as the managing body responsible for the development of the smart specialisation strategy of the Canary Islands, maintains and reinforces its commitment to the development of the common blue economy industry among the regional priorities in the new framework of the European operational programme 2021-2027.”

The Consortium has chosen Gran Canaria for the development of its project meeting on March 12–13, attended by the project officer (Ms. Sonia Karasavvidou) representing the European Commission and showing interest in the project’s progress.

In this regard, progress was presented at the technical conference held at the ACIISI headquarters on March 12, where the different project partners discussed the project’s progress and milestones. These include progress led by PLOCAN on the regulations and permits necessary for implementing these activities in Canary Islands waters and more biotechnological aspects led by ULPGC and EnerOcean, addressing the engineering solutions enabling the integration of the two major infrastructures consisting of the aquaculture cage and the wind turbine, as well as associated sensor, monitoring, and digitalization systems for the prototype. All this without neglecting the biological and environmental aspects of the action plan and monitoring that will be launched to assess environmental impact and any necessary mitigation, as well as Consulta Europa, a local development agency responsible for connecting the Canary Islands with Europe.

During the week of March 1st, the section of the prototype that will develop fish production led by the Aquaculture Research Group (GIA) of the University Institute of Sustainable Aquaculture and Marine Ecosystems (ECOAQUA) of ULPGC, as indicated by GIA Director Juan Manuel Afonso, was installed in the water sheet of the port of Taliarte (Telde), destined for R&D&I operations. Likewise, shortly, the launch of the W2Power prototype by EnerOcean will take place at the ASTICAN facilities, which have been modified according to the project’s needs.

Subsequently, the prototype will be taken to the PLOCAN test bench, where engineering tests combining the two structures will begin, providing the first real data from the testing campaign to evaluate the behaviour of the structure and the environmental impact in the surrounding maritime space. This will be complemented by the additional work of the Portuguese project partners, represented by the company WAVEC.

Before the start of these tests and for several months, digital twins simulating the conditions of both structures were modelled and generated, a task carried out by the French partners of the company Innosea in collaboration with EnerOcean and ULPGC. Equally important is the assessment of the project’s socio-economic dimension, where the Canary Islands Maritime Cluster has conducted extensive consultations with different sectors and stakeholders to collect perceptions about the activity and the impact that this initiative and its commercial development can generate in the Canary Islands blue economy industry. In this same vein, the PLOCAN team is developing an economic model projecting the profitability perspective of the multi-purpose facilities.

FINAL CONFERENCE: “IDEAHL, EU Digital Health Literacy Strategy Project”

On March 6, 2024, the final conference of our Horizon Europe IDEAHL “EU Digital Health Literacy Strategy” project took place at the European Parliament in Brussels. At the conference, the outcomes of the project were discussed, emphasising the impact of digital education on the promotion of healthier and more active lifestyles among citizens across Europe.

Within the IDEAHL project, our team from Consulta Europa is the leader of Work Package 2 (WP2) on co-creation of solutions for the improvement of the digital health literacy (dHL) levels of EU citizens. Particularly, Consulta Europa led the development and implementation of a sound co-creation methodology for the organisation of project co-creation exercises across the 10 project countries. Over 1,400 citizens and professionals were engaged in IDEAHL co-creation across 19 different target groups and through the organisation of an overall 140 co-creation sessions.

Co-creation entailed a wide range of stakeholders, from policymakers to healthcare professionals and students, informal caregivers, social agents, and a variety of citizen groups, including, among others, young women, senior people, children, migrants, and prisoners.

The co-creation experience was target- and result-oriented to feed the development of the main expected outcome of the IDEAHL project, the EU dHL Strategy. This strategy offers detailed directions for enhancing digital health literacy for the entire population. It emphasises health promotion, disease prevention, treatment, self-management, and monitoring of the effects on quality of life, well-being, productivity, and the economy. It also addresses geographical, social, and economic factors that contribute to inequalities in digital health literacy.

The strategy is the result of a synergy between different organisations and experts who share a single goal: to provide individuals with the tools they need to access, understand, and effectively use health information from digital sources. The strategy focuses on several key areas, such as training and skills development, content and curriculum creation, evaluation and monitoring, policy and strategy development, access to and understanding of information, critical evaluation, and application. These elements form the foundation of digital health literacy and are essential to enabling individuals to become informed and aware users of digital health resources.

Within the Final Conference of the IDEAHL project, Consulta Europa had its own space, where our Managing Director Beatrice Avagnina coordinated an interesting panel on ‘WP2 Co-Creation Activities for the EU Strategy’. Moreover, our ethics expert, Dr. Carina Dantas, participated in another panel of the event, presenting the work implemented under Work Package 4, focusing on ethics, privacy, and social inclusion for dHL.

The conference was an engaging and stimulating occasion with outstanding speakers, a way to share the important results the project managed to achieve, and a way to network with like-minded individuals sharing ideas and exploring possibilities for collaboration and future exploitation of the outcomes.

The Power of Multi-Actor Projects in Horizon Europe

Embarking on a Journey of Collaboration, Innovation, and Real-world Impact

In the realm of Horizon Europe, the multi-actor approach (MAA) stands as a beacon of collaborative innovation, a methodology where diverse stakeholders unite to co-create solutions addressing the genuine needs and challenges faced by farmers, foresters, and rural communities. This paradigm shift towards a more demand-driven, reliable, and socially relevant Research and Innovation (R&I) process is evident in the Horizon-funded multi-actor projects, which are forging new paths in the interactive innovation model.

Understanding the Multi-Actor Approach

At its core, the multi-actor approach is an interactive innovation model that brings together actors with complementary backgrounds and expertise. This holistic engagement involves researchers, farmers, foresters, advisors, businesses, consumer associations, and more, creating a dynamic collaboration that spans the entire project lifecycle. The approach is deeply embedded in the fabric of Horizon Europe’s Cluster 6 Work Programme, exemplifying a form of responsible R&I that resonates with society’s needs.

The Interactive Innovation Model in Action

The interactive innovation model is not a theoretical construct but a living, breathing entity manifesting in various Horizon-funded initiatives, including thematic projects, advisory networks, living labs, and CAP-funded Operational Groups (OG). These projects are not merely research endeavours; they are co-creative processes that emphasise tacit knowledge, real-world needs, and the active participation of practitioners.

Building Blocks for Success: Key Actors in Multi-Actor Projects

In a multi-actor project, success hinges on the genuine and sufficient involvement of a diverse array of stakeholders, each playing a crucial role. These actors include researchers, farmers, foresters, advisors, businesses, and even local communities and citizens. The goal is not merely to disseminate results but to ensure a co-creation process where practical and local knowledge converge with entrepreneurial skills to develop solutions. This collaborative effort accelerates the acceptance and uptake of new ideas, approaches, and solutions.

Evolution under Horizon Europe

Under Horizon Europe, the multi-actor approach has undergone reinforcement, with revised and simplified definitions and requirements. It has also expanded its scope to cover all sectors under Cluster 6, including agriculture, forestry, rural areas, food, bioeconomy, environment, fisheries, and aquaculture. In the two consecutive Cluster 6 work programmes, 44% of the topics required multi-actor engagement, showcasing a commitment to this collaborative model.

Crucial Requirements for Multi-Actor Project Proposals

Detailed requirements for multi-actor project proposals are outlined in the Horizon Europe work programme. Proposals must meticulously demonstrate their alignment with the needs of end-users, the balanced composition of relevant key actors, the use of existing practices and tacit knowledge, and the facilitation of the multi-actor engagement process. The emphasis is placed on generating practical and ready-to-use knowledge that can be easily understood and freely accessed.

EU-Wide Communication through Practice Abstracts

To ensure widespread communication, areas related to the European Innovation Partnership for Agricultural Productivity and Sustainability (EIP-AGRI) and the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) specific objectives must be summarised in ‘practice abstracts.’ These abstracts, following the EIP-AGRI format, act as conduits for sharing knowledge on agriculture, forestry, and rural development across the EU.

Multi-actor projects in Horizon Europe are not just projects; they are collaborative journeys that bridge the gap between research and practice, creating tangible solutions for the challenges faced by our agricultural and rural communities. The era of interactive innovation has dawned, and with it comes a promise of a more responsive, practical, and impactful future for European research and innovation.

EU Funding: Six Essential Insights from the European Research Executive Agency (REA)

Applying for European Union (EU) funding can be a complex process, but with the right guidance, it becomes a rewarding journey. The European Research Executive Agency (REA) offers valuable insights to ensure applicants are well-prepared at every step. Here are six crucial things to know before diving into the world of EU funding:

1. Who Can Apply?

EU funding is designed for collaborative efforts, requiring a team of at least three partner organisations from different EU or Horizon Europe Associated Countries. One of these partners must hail from an EU country. The list of Participating Countries in Horizon Europe serves as a handy reference to confirm partner eligibility. Depending on the specific call, applicants should include diverse stakeholders such as universities, SMEs, NGOs, and law enforcement agencies. Some calls even necessitate a multi-actor approach, emphasising the involvement of various stakeholders.

Find out more about who should apply on the REA website.

2. Join the Info Days

Participating in Horizon Europe Info Days is a golden opportunity to delve into the topics earmarked for funding. These events, coupled with Brokerage Events, offer a chance to network and form or join a consortium for EU funding applications. REA organises Info Days covering specific Horizon Europe topics, and attendance or viewing of recordings is highly encouraged.

Stay updated on upcoming Info Days through the REA events calendar and register to attend or watch recordings.

3. Discover the DOs and DON’Ts

Crafting a successful project proposal demands meticulous planning, accurate budgeting, and seamless collaboration. REA provides a comprehensive list of Dos and Don’ts to guide applicants in preparing a high-quality proposal. Avoiding common mistakes is essential for a smooth application process.

Check out the Dos and Don’ts on the REA website.

4. Follow Open Science Principles

Open Science is a cornerstone of research under Horizon Europe, emphasising the early and wide dissemination of knowledge, results, and tools. Compliance with open access and open data principles is mandatory. EU-funded project data must adhere to the FAIR principles (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Re-usable).

Read the Q&A page on Open Science for guidance on complying with open access, open data, and Intellectual Property Rights.

5. Support Gender Equality

Gender Equality is not just a consideration but a ranking criterion in Horizon Europe. Gender Equality Plans are mandatory for higher education establishments, research organisations, and public bodies applying for the program. Integrating gender aspects is now a requirement in all research and innovation projects unless explicitly specified otherwise.

Access the information package and Q&A series on gender equality to align with Horizon Europe funding principles.

6. Plan the 3 Essentials: Communication, Dissemination, and Exploitation

Visibility is key to the success of EU-funded projects. Communication activities inform and promote project activities and results, while dissemination and exploitation activities make knowledge publicly available and facilitate concrete utilisation of results. Compliance with these activities is a legal obligation under the grant agreement.

Plan your Communication, Dissemination, and Exploitation activities in line with your grant agreement obligations.

For those seeking more information, stay updated on upcoming funding opportunities, timelines, specific advice, news, and events in the Research and Innovation world by visiting the REA website. The path to EU funding becomes more manageable with the guidance provided by the European Research Executive Agency, or just simply contact us, and we will guide you all the way through the process.

Empowering Youth in EU Outermost Regions: YOUTH 4 OUTERMOST REGIONS Launches Initiative for Inclusive and Sustainable Development

In a bid to address the unique challenges faced by the approximately five million European Union citizens residing in the outermost regions, YOUTH 4 OUTERMOST REGIONS has embarked on a mission to empower the youth in these distant areas. Spanning the Atlantic and Indian Oceans, the Caribbean Sea, and South America, these regions are integral to the EU but grapple with issues such as remoteness, insularity, small size, challenging topography, and susceptibility to extreme weather events.

To address these challenges, the European Commission adopted a comprehensive strategy in May 2022 titled “Putting People First, Securing Sustainable and Inclusive Growth, Unlocking the Potential of the EU’s Outermost Regions.” The strategy aims to enhance the quality of life in these regions while promoting sustainable recovery and growth.

As part of this broader initiative, the YOUTH4ORs project has been developed, aligning with the European Year of Youth (2022). The European Year of Youth underscored the significance of engaging and supporting young people to become active and informed citizens.

The YOUTH 4 OUTERMOST REGIONS project is co-funded by the European Union and carried out by SERN. SERN is a European network of regional stakeholders working to foster a culture of social and economic innovation. YOUTH4ORs focuses on providing financial support for youth-led initiatives within the outermost regions through the launch of two calls for action. The project encourages young individuals or teams, as well as organisations working with young people, to propose actions aimed at enhancing their local communities or regions. This encompasses a broad spectrum of issues, allowing for a diverse range of proposals that address the specific needs and aspirations of these regions.

Young changemakers are invited to apply for financial support to bring their ideas to life and contribute to the overall development and well-being of their communities. To learn more about the initiative and to submit proposals, interested individuals and organisations can visit YOUTH4ORs’ official website.

YOUTH 4 OUTERMOST REGIONS is poised to play a crucial role in fostering positive change, empowering the youth, and advancing inclusive and sustainable development in the outermost regions of the European Union.

Successful Launch of the Rural Toolkit: A Comprehensive Guide to EU Funding for Rural Development in the European Union

In a stride towards fostering rural development, the European Union has successfully launched the Rural Toolkit today, February 6, 2024. This comprehensive guide serves as an invaluable resource for local authorities, institutions, stakeholders, businesses, and individuals, providing crucial information on EU funding and support opportunities tailored specifically for rural areas within the European Union.

Key Features of the Rural Toolkit:

The Rural Toolkit boasts a funding finder, a user-friendly platform that allows users to explore various financing opportunities. Additionally, the resources section includes detailed guides on EU funding opportunities available from 2021 to 2027, focusing on sectors such as broadband, culture, education, energy, environment, and tourism.

The toolkit aims to guide rural communities in implementing integrated strategies and projects, such as Community-led local development (CLLDs) and Integrated territorial investments (ITIs). By doing so, it facilitates the design and execution of initiatives that address the unique challenges faced by rural areas.

How the Rural Toolkit is Helpful:

The toolkit acts as a unique entry point for all existing initiatives, offering comprehensive information on available resources and explaining their relevance to rural areas. Practical examples featured on the platform encourage knowledge sharing and peer learning among rural communities. The “Get Inspired” section provides insights into successful initiatives implemented in rural areas across the EU, illustrating effective combinations of EU funds to maximise impact and address specific local needs.

Equipped with handbooks and guidance on EU funding opportunities, the toolkit empowers users and applicants with the knowledge and tools needed to tackle the distinctive challenges faced by rural areas. It encourages an effective, integrated, and place-based approach to rural development.

Funding Opportunities Categorised:

The toolkit serves as a gateway to various EU Funding and Financing initiatives, categorised into three main groups:

  1. EU initiatives – direct application
  2. EU initiatives – application via national or regional authorities
  3. Financial Instruments

Why a Funding Guide for Rural Areas:

Although not explicitly designed for rural development, many EU funding programmes and initiatives play a crucial role in revitalising and enhancing the quality of life in rural areas. However, identifying the right source of funding and understanding how to make the best use of it can be challenging.

The Rural Toolkit aims to streamline this process, serving as a guide for local institutions, businesses, associations, and individuals in rural areas. By navigating the diverse EU funding and support options, the toolkit empowers stakeholders to take full advantage of the available resources.

The Rural Toolkit aligns with the European Commission’s long-term vision for stronger, connected, resilient, and prosperous rural areas in the EU. It exemplifies how initiatives and practices supported by EU funding schemes and policies can contribute to the revitalization of rural communities and territories.

Explore the digital toolkit here: https://funding.rural-vision.europa.eu/?lng=en

ATHENAs’ 4th newsletter is ONLINE!

We are glad to announce that the 4th newsletter of the ATHENAs’ project is now online.

Read the newsletter here 👉 https://www.athenaequality.eu/wp-content/uploads/2024/01/ATHENA-Newsletter_issue_04_v3.pdf

ATHENA is a project funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, focused on Gender Equality.

The newsletter summarises the activities implemented during the past months, such as the Webinar on “Synergies among R&I organisations and policy makers for gender equality”, Athena’s participation in 16 days of activism against gender-based violence, the Athena’s Consortium meeting and the 3rd Mutual Learning Workshop in Ponta Delgada, Azores, an article on empowering Gender Equality Good Practices in European Research Institution, few interesting documents published on Gender Equality and the list of Future events on Gender Equality.

Discover, engage, and be part of the gender equality movement!

ATHENA project – implementing gender equality plans to unlock research potential of RPOs and RFOs in Europe

In the framework of the ATHENA project, a project funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, the 3rd Mutual Learning Workshop was held in the Azores (Portugal) on the 16th of January. Athenas’ project involves 6 Research Performing Organisations (RPOs) and 2 Research Funding Organisations (RFOs), in the development and implementation of Gender Equality Plans (GEPs) to generate systemic institutional changes.

During the event the project partners have met to share their experience with the implementation of the Gender Equality Plan so far and with the collection of monitoring data.

The event was opened by Dr. Michelle Perello, project coordinator at Consulta Europa, who emphasised how the ATHENA project made a difference in the adoption of the Gender Equality Plan and who underlined the positive relationship between gender equality and the research and innovation performance of research organisations and countries.

This was followed by speeches from the other project partners, who showed their satisfaction with the results achieved through ATHENA and presented the main lessons learnt, emphasising the importance of respecting the GEP as an essential tool to correct gender gaps at university.

After the individual presentations, a discussion between the partners was then initiated, focusing on the sustainability of the plans and the replicability of the measures included in the plans.

It was remarked how some gender mechanisms in academia meritocracy are still “invisible” and how the trainings and focus groups implemented during the project were helpful to highlight those dynamics.

The discussion was very fruitful and was not limited to the gender gap: it also touched upon the concept of intersectionality, which is essential to understand how different forms of oppression can interact and add up, leading to unique experiences of discrimination and privilege. All partners acknowledge that hardly any measures have been devoted to this aspect in their current GEPs: the next important step is to consider intersectionality in future GEPs, for further inclusiveness and equity.

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