Horizon 2020 and its impact on university research

Horizon 2020 and its impact
on university research
Univ.-Prof. Dr. Susanne WeigelinSchwiedrzik
Vice-Rector for Research and Career
University of Vienna
What is a university research strategy?
Two approaches
• The „key research area“
• Policy driven
• Top-down
• Critical mass in one field
• Output oriented
• Risk: everybody wins
the same and loses the
The „profile“ approach
University based
Critical mass by
• outcome oriented
• Risk: non-mainstream,
open end
How to define a research strategy
• The „key research area“
• Ranking
• Bibliometry
• Grants and prices
• Problem: The research for
tomorrow is designed
according to what is
highly acclaimed today.
The „profile“ approach
High risk, high gain
Quality before quantity
Solving problem capacity
Problem: The research of
tomorrow is designed
according to the
problems of today.
Output and outcome
What’s new?
Horizon 2020 is a research strategy!
• By combining three forms of research it goes
for the „research profile“ approach:
Interdisciplinary, intersectoral and
• It defines the problems in accordance with the
Europe 2020 strategy: Europe needs
innovation, economic growth and jobs.
• It also allows for „pure“ curiosity driven
research. (ERC)
The implicit paradigm shift of the Horizon
2020 societal challenges strategy
• The Horizon 2020 societal challenges strategy is
problem and outcome oriented and not
performance or output oriented.
• As it is problem oriented, it prioritizes
interdisciplinary research to excellence in one
• As it is problem oriented, it prioritizes applied
and translational research to fundamental
• Problem solving capacity is the indicator of
The implicit paradigm shift of the
Horizon 2020 innovation strategy
• The industrial leadership program goes for
intersectorial collaboration and strongly favors
research with technology transfer potential.
• It pushes for more research in industry and
puts pressure on research institutions to favor
applied research.
• Innovation is not an accidental by-product,
but an intentional aim of research.
Making the implicit paradigm shift
• Before the shift
• Thematic based
• Output orientation
• Linear approach in
proposal design
• After the shift
• Challenge based
• Re-orientation towards
innovation and societal
• Outcome orientation
• Synergistic approach in
proposal design
Three ways to look at Horizon 2020
• For Horizon 2020 and its implicit research
strategy to become reality three stakeholders
have to be taken in account:
• The inventors of Horizon 2020
• The applicants
• The referees
• The implicit research strategy of Horizon 2020
needs responsive applicants and cooperative
referees in order to become true.
How responsive are potential
• Interdisciplinarity is of high risk for researchers
as journals seldom accept publications based
on interdisciplinary research.
• Most funding agencies fund mono-disciplinary
• Intersectoral research collaborations slow
down the publication of research results.
• Chances are high that applicants do not want
to follow the Horizon 2020 paradigm shift.
Horizon 2020 – Societal Challenges
Societal Challenges
Health, demographic change and wellbeing
Food security, sustainable agriculture, marine
and maritime research & the bioeconomy
Secure, clean and efficient energy
Smart, green and integrated transport
Climate action, environment, resource
efficiency and raw materials
Inclusive, Innovative and Reflective Societies
Secure Societies
Example 1: Embedding SSH
• None of the societal problems can be solved
without the support of society.
• Interdisciplinarity therefore implies embedding
SSH into research in all societal challenges except
for those which exclusively address problems
within the scope of SSH.
• SSH researchers often are unexperienced with EU
• Non-SSH researchers fear the intrusion of SSH
cultures into their research.
Example 2: Output versus Outcome
• The system of science and research is output
• Research assessment is output oriented.
• Reputation and renumeration are output
• Outcome has no assessment system (yet).
For which option will the referees go?
• Referees can either go for or against the Horizon
2020 strategy.
• As the Horizon 2020 strategy was invented with
the participation of the scientific community, the
selection of referees can prioritize those who
support the Horizon 2020 strategy.
• However, as outcome oriented assessment
strategies are new, referees might tend to stick to
conventional assessment procedures.
What does this mean for a university
• Universities need to prioritize which of the three
options of Horizon 2020 fits best their respective
research profiles.
• Universities need to define incentive structures
according to the growing certainty of how the
implicit paradigm shift becomes the reality of
Horizon 2020.
• Universities need to participate in the
consultation procedures of Horizon 2020 to
influence to which degree it wants the paradigm
shift become true.
Thank you for your
Univ.-Prof. Dr. Susanne WeigelinSchwiedrzik
[email protected]

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