The Europe Unit was established at the beginning of 2014 for the purposes of increasing the number of European training and research project applications by teams on the academic site.
The four main activities conducted by the Europe Unit are as follows:
- looking out for and disseminating calls for projects;
- support for setting up projects;
- developing partnerships.
These activities fall within the academic site strategy logic on European issues, discussed during three meetings with staff at the offices of Research and Postgraduate Study and International Relations departments of the European Union Affairs Commission (EUACOM) and during the project drafting process.
Looking out for European projects
The Europe Unit (french website) is the main channel for disseminating information on calls for European projects, with more than 600 information sheets describing project funding lines. A search engine can be used to identify a call for projects by key word, theme or requirement.
In addition, 407 personnel have subscribed to bi-monthly theme-based newsletters, which accounts for almost 1,100 newsletters being sent for each edition (most recipients have subscribed to several newsletters) . The themes are as follows:
- Aeronautics and Space
- Agronomics, Agriculture and Food
- Biology and Biotechnology;
- Environment, Climate and Oceans
- Human Health
- Engineering Science
- Social and Human Sciences
- Information and Communication Technology
Moreover, "Open Day" type information events have been organised regularly. The Europe Unit and its local network of Europe correspondents are described in the introduction. One of them, organised as part of Action 1 "training and networking" under the POCTEFA EBRoS 2020 project, received 178 subscriptions and covered all funding opportunities for bio-economics; energy, environment and climate; nanoscience, materials science, further education and training; health, demographics and ageing; human and social sciences; information and communication technology in the form of workshops for discussion with National Contact Points, small and medium-sized enterprises and project initiators (20 June 2014).
In addition to these tools, research lecturers can search for particular skills from the Europe Unit by filling in a form, benefiting in this way from a customised search tailored to their international funding needs: Eleven application forms have been filled in (not including informal requests).
During the summer of 2015, meetings were held with IDEX research funding recipients from the 2013 funding round to provide them with information on European funding opportunities relevant to their area of research. In the same spirit, meetings are organised in laboratories to present a selection of Horizon 2020 funding lines linked to laboratory research activities.
Two training events were organised for researchers and research lecturers on the academic site:
- "How to Write a Competitive Proposal by 2020" (15 April 2015): delivered from the Toulouse site by Sean McCarthy (Hyperion). A total of 139 people enrolled for this training course, which was disseminated in real time among partner universities of the cross-border EBRoS campus (see below).
- Distance learning "How to write a European Research Council (ERC) Grant Proposal" (7 May 2015): organised by the University of Navarre, this course enabled 27 research lecturers to be trained on European Research Council scholarships.
Other topics of interest to research teams will be dealt with during 2016, in particular research data management.
Training is also being organised for the administrative staff of member establishments and associates on setting up, managing and steering Horizon 2020 projects.
The Europe Unit develops partnerships with numerous stakeholders. The Regional Council, Toulouse Métropole, the Midi-Pyrénées Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Madeeli agency, the Aerospace Valley Centres of Excellence, Agri Sud Ouest Innovation, CBS and DERBI are priority local contacts for the Europe+ Unit. The resulting interaction enables work on specific projects (e.g. "Smart and sustainable cities" with Toulouse Métropole) or on more cross-cutting projects (e.g. information on European funding or synergy between funding sources, jointly with the Regional Council).
Local level: establishing and coordinating the European Project Coordinator Network in Toulouse
The RECET network, comprising a research section and a training section, has 60 subscribers. Through four annual meetings and a common email address, regular discussions can take place on current European events and laboratory activities while local stakeholders such as Science Animation Midi-Pyrénées or the initiator of ESOF 2018 can be presented.
National level: representation of the Conference of University Presidents (CUP) in Brussels
In addition to participation in the meetings of Europe correspondents of the CUP in Brussels, links were strengthened by coordinating the working group on synergy between European funds (structural funds, Horizon 2020 and Erasmus + in particular).
A seminar on the European and International development of universities held on 16 September 2014 was a good opportunity to discuss European issues with university presidents and local stakeholders (Regional Council, Toulouse Metropolis, competitive clusters, etc.). This discussion was based on data from European research and training projects obtained during the 2007-2013 period.
Cross-border level: EBRoS cross-border campus
The EBRoS cross-border campus brings together the Federal University of Toulouse Midi-Pyrénées, the Iberus campus of excellence (which itself unites the University of Saragossa, the Public University of Navarre and the Universities of Lleida and La Rioja) and the University of Pau and the Pays de l'Adour. This activity supports scientific collaboration, project creation as well as student and personnel mobility in three priority areas:
- materials and technologies to enhance the quality of life in the areas of health and energy/environment;
- food processing and nutrition;
- heritage, memory and identities.
Interreg POCTEFA provided financial support for these activities, particularly the organisation of a scientific seminar with 65 participants entitled "Long Term Socio-Ecological Research Site: Pyrénées-Ebro-Garonne" (8-9 April 2015). The purpose is to extend the area of the PYGAR workshop affiliated to the CNRS (National Scientific Research Centre) National Energy and Environment Institute in the cross-border area. More than 70 participants attended the event.
European level: Vision 2020: the Horizon Network
Member establishments of the Federal University decided to join the Vision 2020 Network for lobbying and project creation purposes. Apart from the participation in thematic clusters that should be introduced in 2016, we intend to start and coordinate a "Space" cluster.