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Welsh life-science sector - take note of Horizon 2020

Written by Anna Pearce on 8 November 2017

A summary of our key learning points for the life-science sector following the Horizon 2020 Health, Demographic Change and Wellbeing Information Day

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Female researcher holding test tube

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Wales, home to a diverse, research orientated and emerging life science sector, with around 11,000 people employed in the sector in over 350 companies, it is no surprise that life-science is one of the priority sectors in Wales. 


Research, funding and partnerships are key to driving the sector, but with the uncertainty of Brexit looming, many companies are unsure of the funding and support which remain available to them.


Companies should not be put off by Brexit


European funding remains open to UK participants. With an approximate budget of €2bn for 2018-2020 and €2.6bn already invested since 2014, Horizon 2020 Societal Challenge 1 is not something to be overlooked. 


The UK Government is committed to supporting research and innovation, and has guaranteed funding for UK participants by underwriting Horizon 2020 funding. You can find out more in our recent blog: Horizon 2020 European business funding - UK underwrite Q&A


With this in mind, we joined forces with Welsh European Funding Office and our Innovate UK family to spread the message, and encourage both Welsh and UK-wide companies to take advantage of the opportunities that remain available to them, in a Horizon 2020 Health, Demographic Change and Wellbeing Information Day in Cardiff.


Researches, companies and universities from across the sector in the UK and further afield joined together to gain unique access to experts who provided pointers and tips on achieving success in Horizon 2020, including valuable insights on topics to be funded by the EU in 2018, and an overview of the support available locally and nationally to develop applications. 121 ‘match’ meetings throughout the day also enabled and encouraged consortium building between delegates, and proposal development on specific calls. 


Here is our summary of the key learning points:


The UK is leading the way


Within Societal Challenge 1, the UK is leading on both the number of participations and the aggregate EU funding awarded. This is a good basis from which to seek to capitalise upon the enormous budget allocated to the triennial 2018-2020 Societal Challenge 1 work programme. 


Spend time assessing the options


Bernard Mulligan, Health Directorate at the European Commission outlined a wide array of Horizon 2020 health research programmes & initiatives, so time spent assessing all the options could help to ensure the best fit between your company’s plans and a supporting element within Horizon 2020. 


Partnerships are key


Interesting indications that Horizon 2020 project consortia with two or more international (non-EU) partners have been 5% more likely (19% v. 14%) to be successful in being awarded Horizon 2020 funding. It was also highlighted that most opportunities require 3 different partners from different countries, with international collaboration a key feature of the 2018-2020 Work Programme.


Explore our partnering opportunity database to see how we can help find trusted partners.


The 7 Priorities


There are 7 priorities for collaborative Health research for 2018–2020, which will be implemented through 3 Calls for proposals:


  1. Personalised medicine 
  2. Innovative health and care industry 
  3. Infectious diseases and improving global health 
  4. Innovative health and care systems – Integration of care 
  5. Decoding the role of the environment, including climate change, for health and well-being  
  6. Digital transformation in Health and Care 
  7. Trusted digital solutions and Cybersecurity in Health and Care


Working together, with you in mind


Useful presentations from Jerome de Barros, Health NCP, and Dr. Gabriela Juárez Martínez from KTN, showed how the assistance provided to prospective funding applicants by EEN, KTN and the NCPs is highly complementary with minimal overlap and together combining into a strong overall Innovate UK family offering to clients. Make full use of the support available to you when preparing Horizon 2020 bids.


What next?


If you are considering European funding for your business, contact us to find out more about how we can work with the Innovate UK family to support you to


  • understand the calls
  • find partners to build a consortia
  • protect your IP
  • submit your proposals.