Welcome to Unite for
Horizon Europe Project!
While the Horizon 2020 programme has demonstrated closer and more increased collaboration activities in comparison with its predecessor FP7, the European Commission is looking to “raise the bar in the quality and widening of participation” in its follow-up Horizon Europe programme period, commencing after 2020. It particularly concerns the involvement of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in innovation partnerships as the latter have been reported considerably low, resulting in lower intensity of cross-sectoral cooperation among knowledge providers and smaller businesses. Observing this gap inspired an international consortium of partners from Cyprus, France, Finland, The Netherlands, Spain, Germany and Ireland to undertake a brand-new Erasmus+ project “Unite for Horizon Europe” (UNITE4H), which aims to identify the limitations and help build strategic engagement capacity between academics and SME representatives to develop, apply and implement projects within the Horizon Europe framework.
Notably, many SMEs continue to struggle to adopt the right strategy, business processes, skills, or other resources to get involved in European funding partnerships. Similarly, even though the participation of the higher education institutions (HEIs) and research organisations in the Horizon 2020 has been the strongest among others, their involvement for the new framework is deemed to be further enhanced by the provision of tailored support for collaboration with a more diverse range of stakeholders. In the light of the low success rate and missed opportunities for more strategic cooperation between HEIs and SMEs, the availability of supportive engagement training programmes is crucial.
Throughout the life of the project, we will produce several outputs. The project starts off with an investigation into the needs and challenges experienced by HEI and SME representatives, resulting into a programme framework. Based on this framework, we will develop a training programme and toolkit to increase awareness, skills, and knowledge capacity among academics and SME representatives. The two training programmes, one for SMEs and one for HEIs, each consist of several modules. During the last phase, these modules will be pilot tested among academics and SME representatives within the partners’ institutions and networks.