A program designed to boost investments in the scientific infrastructure of Europe’s lagging regions by pairing them with elite institutes elsewhere on the continent has proved unexpectedly popular. The European Commission has received 169 scientific business plans for the scheme, dubbed Teaming, and may be able to advance only 16% of the proposals to the next round of the competition. The commission will start reviewing the proposals in Brussels next week.
….Slovenia, for instance, will model the governance of the institutes proposed in its plan on German and other foreign research centers, says Urban Krajcar, the director-general for science at the country’s Ministry of Education, Science and Sport. The country has also promised to double any Horizon 2020 Teaming funds with money from the so-called European Structural and Investment Funds for regional development, he says. (The funds—worth some €352 billion between 2014 and 2020—are typically used for other types of infrastructure, such as roads and bridges; the commission’s hope is that the Teaming call will shift part of them to scientific infrastructure.)
Among Slovenia’s proposals is a nanoscale sensor research center, a center for vaccine production and biotherapeutic technology, and a plan to upgrade an existing biomedical engineering Center of Excellence. “It would be a great honor for Slovenia to have one” of the winning applications, Krajcar says.
The commission will announce about 27 first-stage winners in February 2015; the list will be further winnowed down to perhaps six pilot Teaming centers by 2016. Horizon 2020 foresees another Teaming call beginning in 2018, but given the demand for this first round, the authors of the internal document propose adding an extra cycle in 2017 if the commission can find the funds.