How does EU help Ukraine in science and innovation

From 2014 to 2018, the EU Horizon 2020 programme provided 184 projects of 110 Ukrainian private and public enterprises, research institutes and universities with grants worth a total of nearly EUR 21.7 million. The National Aerospace University “KhAI” received the largest funding of more than EUR 1.8 million in Kharkiv. The university implements several projects to make airplanes more powerful, reduce fuel consumption and harmful emissions into the atmosphere.

What is Horizon 2020?

Horizon 2020 is the biggest EU Research and Innovation programme ever. It is open to scientists, researchers, innovators, research institutions and business from all over the world. A full list of countries and special terms of participation can be found on the official website.

This is a seven-year programme (2014-2020) with nearly €80 billion of funding. Horizon 2020 is aimed at supporting and funding innovative ideas and products that are important to various areas of our life.

After signing the Association Agreement in 2015, Ukraine can participate in Horizon 2020 and receive funding on an equal footing with the EU Member States and other Associated States. Ukrainian scientists and entrepreneurs can apply for grants and other opportunities offered by Horizon 2020.

One of the key conditions of Horizon 2020 is cooperation in the consortium, which should include at least three organizations from three EU Member States or Associated States. This helps Ukrainian scientists and organizations to establish scientific contacts in the EU, share experiences and expertise with their colleagues.

 

What is Horizon 2020 funding?

Horizon 2020 provides funding for projects that win open tenders.

The framework programme consists of three Pillars:

─ Excellent science. Fundamental research, development of scientific infrastructure, advancement of breakthrough technologies. As well as international and intersectoral exchange of scientific personnel, career development.

Industrial leadership. This Pillar is focused on industrial developments, innovations in information and communication technologies, nanotechnologies, and space technologies.

Societal challenges. This Pillar covers scientific developments in six areas. The first one is health, demographic change and wellbeing. The second area explores food security, as well as agriculture, ecosystem and the Bioeconomy; The third area studies safe, clean and efficient energy, deals with climate change and rational use of resources. The fourth area is focused on the development of resource-saving, computerized, green transport. The fifth area is focused on security, and the sixth one – on research in humanitarian spheres.

 

What tasks does Horizon 2020 accomplish?

For example, Europe needs a new generation of civil aviation airplanes. This is a serious and large-scale scientific and engineering task. It may take decades to accomplish it. For example, the project on the development of new generation airplanes was launched in the early 2000’s. And according to the developers’ forecasts they will fly not earlier than in 2035.

And the conditions of such flights are very strict: from the best flight indicators to a significant reduction in emissions of harmful substances into the environment. The main priority is safety. No airplane will be allowed to commercial use without 100% reliability.

Horizon 2020 makes it possible to concentrate the efforts of scientists from different countries to solve this difficult task. Ukrainians also help. National Aerospace University “Kharkiv Aviation Institute” (KhAI) received more than €1.84 million from Horizon 2020 for the development of scientific projects. Now it is the largest funding among Ukrainian institutions.

In addition, the KhAI investigates the use of composite materials in modern aviation, exchanges experiences with European colleagues, works on the promotion of Ukrainian aviation abroad.

 

What did Ukraine achieve in Horizon 2020?

After the Association Agreement, Ukrainian scientists and entrepreneurs are actively participating in Horizon 2020 – 1 738 applications were submitted from 2014 to 2018. The funding was received by 110 organizations that participated in the development of 184 scientific and innovation projects. The total funding for Ukrainian organizations amounted to €21.692 million. A little more than half of the EU grants were received by private enterprises under the SME Support Programme. Research organizations rank second, and higher education institutions and state-owned enterprises rank third.

Among scientific projects, one third are the programmes of scientific mobility with European organizations. But most of them account for scientific activity covering up to 20 areas.

According to KhAI representatives, the main problem of Ukrainian applicants is negligent completion of applications. The fact is that the official EU requirements for documents do not foresee free compositions. Documents must be completed in accordance with formal requirements – instructions and guidelines. These requirements are often ignored and the applicants are disqualified not because of bad projects, but because of incorrectly completed forms.

At the same time, Ukraine has a good level of approved projects. If applications from EU countries receive funding in 11% of cases, then Ukrainian projects – in 9% of cases. KhAI International Department is among the leaders – the rate of success reaches 15%.

 

At the university they say that Horizon 2020 funding is not just easy grant funds, as it may seem. First of all, it is an opportunity to implement specific scientific projects and solve production problems. They recommended to treat projects responsibly – from the idea to the preparation of an application.

 

By Mykhailo Sapiton

Source – AIN

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