CREATIVE CONNECTIONS IN HORIZON 2020: Opportunities & insights for the Health, Secure Societies & Food (incl. Marine Research/Blue Growth) Societal Challenges

Posted: 11 February, 2014

The Irish Research Council, Ireland’s principal research funding body across all disciplines, organized a Horizon 2020 workshop on the societal challenges of Health, Food (including Marine Research/Blue Growth) and Secure Societies on the 11th February 2014.

Intended as a stimuli towards the formation of connections across and within the AHSS and STEM domains, this ‘Creative Connections’ workshop reflects an initiative to support new and existing levels of real and meaningful collaboration between these disciplines.

The plenary session of the workshop provided an introduction and ‘executive summary’ of the broader perspectives characterizing the Societal Challenges dimension of Horizon 2020.  Reflecting on the evaluators’ and other perspectives, speakers in the plenary shed light on the general attributes of innovative research projects, specifically those that involve a range of disciplines.

In terms of main objectives, the Challenge-based sessions were primarily designed to demonstrate the wide range of possibilities and approaches the relevant work programmes offer. As the structure of Horizon 2020 highlights a different approach to European funding, urging the adoption of a broader, challenge-based thinking as opposed to individual disciplines, the sessions of the workshop were dedicated to illustrating how these wide potentials can be harnessed through demonstrating how it has previously been achieved in FP7 and other initiatives.

The programme involved a lunch with experts to maximize the opportunity such events hold for participants to get insights, make new connections and consolidate existing contacts. Various experts and speakers were available during this time to engage with participants and to give advice on different aspects of European research funding work from building an international research consortia, writing applications to management. In essence, the workshop provided practical insights into European research funding programmes and will also offer valuable advice about the mechanics of preparing and managing a successful interdisciplinary research project.