The ENRF Office joins a virtual conference organised by the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in cooperation with the Norwegian Contact Office for Research, Innovation and Education (NORCORE) on EU funds for research and innovation.  This conference, titled “One Hour with Europe”, aims to keep interested researchers up to date on what is happening in the EU institutions, and about the latest novelties on Funding. This event highlights the future opportunities that the various EU initiatives hold for researchers – including nursing researchers. 

 

The key speaker of the session was Anna Panagopoulou, Director of Common Support Centre at DG Research and Innovation (European Commission). She explained that the European Commission is working on the European Research Area (ERA). It has successfully established itself as a new “Single Market” for Research and Innovation. It has been operating for already 20 years.  For the European Commission, there is a need to translate R&I results into the economy and to support the transition and the recovery. Also, in terms of gender equality, as progress there is slow – only 24% of top positions in the higher education sector are occupied by women. In addition, citizens and society should be better involved in research, too.

 

The European Commission is working on a stronger ERA for the future in which funding comes from different sources to foster research on key areas and on key priorities. Research and innovation results should be brought closer to the citizens, the businesses and the companies who need it. To fill in this gap, it is also needed to bring closer the academia and the industry. The speaker then introduced the upcoming Horizon Europe research and innovation programme – it has three pillars: 1) Excellent Science, 2) Global Challenges and European industrial Competitiveness (including health), and 3) Innovative Europe. Finally, during 2021, the European Commission will organise meetings with stakeholders (and a targeted consultation) to collect their input on the transformation of the higher education area (the universities). They will discuss what will be the future of high-level education institutions in Europe. 

 

To conclude, it is key that nursing researchers benefit from all these upcoming opportunities to 1) advance their research and deploy it, both for the nursing frontline and for the European citizens; and 2) to transform their Universities, with the support of EU funds, into more targeted organisations that can fill the gap of research outcomes implementation and liaise closer with the health industry.