New Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs) in the context of #Horizon2020

I read today the following tweet

and I wondered what are the KICs in the context of Horizon2020. Everything is explained on the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) website:

Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs) are the independent but operational part of the EIT, the part that puts the innovation web into practise. They are highly integrated, creative and excellence-driven partnerships that bring together the fields of education, technology, research, business and entrepreneurship, in order to produce new innovations and new innovation models that inspire others to emulate it. They are to become key drivers of sustainable economic growth and competitiveness across Europe through world-leading innovation. The KICs will be driving effective “translation” between partners in ideas, technology, culture, and business models, and will create new business for existing industry and for new endeavours. KICs are legally and financially structured entities of internationally distributed but thematically convergent partners. The relationship between the KICs and the EIT in Budapest is organised on a contractual basis, leaving a great degree of autonomy to the KICs to define their own legal status, internal organisation and working methods.

 So there are three already (since December 2009):

And according to that tweet there will be three more in the context of Horizon2020.

HorizonTap or why the EC is not tapping into the knowledge of those it has indirectly hired

Last week a new colleague started working with us as project manager for a EU-funded research project and I took the opportunity to ask her how had she found this job. “Too complicated” she said. She is not alone: an extremely common problem for project managers working on EU-funded projects is that they don’t know what will happen to them when the project ends.

Most usually their contract ends. If one is lucky the scientist for whom one worked for will have succeeded in getting more funding from the EU in the form of a new project, in which case one most probably can continue working with the same community. Even if one has such luck, it is not necessarily possible for this person to continue working there: public organisations in the EU usually put restrictions on how many years someone can work for them on temporary contracts. In the French public sector it is 6 years for example. If you have reached this 6 year limit they either open a permanent position for you (in which case you become a civil servant) or you are out, no matter how good or bad you are at your job. And since it is very difficult to justify new positions, especially in the time of crisis, then most usually you have to go.

So the question is how do you find a new job if you love being an EU-funded project manager?

jobsearch

I searched extensively online and I found no appropriate solution. I still cannot believe that those hiring personnel to work on EU-funded projects are not obliged by the EC to advertise the position in a central place so that all Europeans can apply! I have been working for example for an ERANET project: there is nowhere I can find if there are any other ERANETs looking for a project manager! I have to look at hundreds of websites in order to find this information and in this search some inside knowledge is necessary to succeed in obtaining it.

In the context of a course on “Innovation in the Public Sector” for my MSc in Public Policy and Management I decided to focus on this very important issue. I came up with the idea of HorizonTap, whose full business model you can read/download below. I would like however to summarize some of the main points here:

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Research and Innovation: Commission widens search for expert advisors for Horizon 2020

Research and Innovation: Commission widens search for expert advisors for Horizon 2020

The EC is asking experts from all fields to participate in shaping the agenda of Horizon 2020. These people are going to advise what should be the themes of the Calls that should be launched in each societal challenge in the context of Horizon2020. It will be interesting to see how many nominations they will receive, who these people will be and how they will be selected. In any case these people will have a strong influence on how funding will be distributed over the next 7 years. Very strategic posts!