News Writer Colby Lazcano reports on the First Horizon Europe Insights Day held at UoB

Written by Colby Lazcano
2nd Year Undergraduate - BSc Chemistry with Medicinal Chemistry and Drug Discovery

On the 13th of March 2024, UoB invited a multitude of different bodies and individuals to the first Horizon Europe Insights Day, with the main goal of increasing collaboration and furthering research in different scientific fields of study. Alongside UoB, Innovate UK (of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) and the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology also partnered with the University for this event.

‘The UK’s engagement with Horizon Europe is a significant opportunity for our research and innovation ecosystem.’

With the aims of the event, Vice-chancellor Adam Tickell remarked ‘The UK’s engagement with Horizon Europe is a significant opportunity for our research and innovation ecosystem.’ The event started at 9:30 AM for the ‘optional information sessions’, with the main event starting at 12:15 PM with an introduction given by Vice-chancellor Tickell, and the closing remarks being given at 16:00 PM by Pro-Vice-chancellor Rachel O’Reilly.

Horizon Europe is the EU’s largest funding programme that started in 2021 and will end in 2027, with a total budget of €95.5 billion (over £81 billion).This budget is used to fund different institutions, like universities, to improve their Research and Innovation capabilities through open science. Open science has been defined by the European Commission as: ‘Open access to research outputs … Early open sharing of research … Use of open research infrastructures … Participation in open-peer review … Measures to ensure reproducibility of results; and Open collaboration within science and with other knowledge actors.’

UoB has already leveraged this development…a project aiming to make data ‘Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Re-usable’

After Brexit, the UK was originally not involved with this programme, though it benefited from the programme’s predecessor, Horizon 2020. However, the UK re-joined Horizon Europe, with the announcement made in 2023, and UoB has already leveraged this development, with Professor Iseult Lynch leading the Nanoparticle section of WorldFAIR, a project aiming to make data ‘Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Re-usable’. Much of Horizon Europe’s five Missions are based on a growing emphasis on transitioning towards cleaner and greener solutions to climate change and the need for carbon neutrality, along with one of the missions being focused on reversing an increase in cases of cancer in Europe. 

UoB has been one of the most engaging universities in the UK, with UoB being both the most successful in Cluster 4 (Digital, Industry and Space) for Pillar 2 for ‘Global Challenges and European Industrial Competitiveness’, as well as only being behind the Universities of Oxford, Cambridge, and both Imperial College London and University College London (not in order) for engagement with the programme’s projects. Outside of programme projects, UoB has also been engaging with other projects that fit closely in line with the Missions of Horizon Europe. For instance, UoB is currently carrying out a project called 100 Plastic Rivers, which is aimed to provide thorough research about the effects of microplastics in freshwater in rivers and their different properties. 

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