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European Research, Innovation and Education

August 2013 – 2013/08

Contents SEEN FROM BRUSSELS Democracy and human rights


RESEARCH DOSSIER: Innovation in Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions


Focus: Large e-infrastructure servicing science


> Publications

5 5 5 5

More than 50% of articles published in 2011 are open access Preparing for EDCTP 2 6th FP7 Monitoring report published Report on water-related research

INNOVATION How to commercialise research results


> Publications

7 7

Raw Materials Initiative’s state of play High socio-economic benefits due to Wi-Fi usage

EDUCATION What future for ECVET?


Focus: Students’ access to grants and loans


> Publications Cross-Border Higher Education on an upward curve ETHZ in top 20 Value of TVET recognised at global level

10 10 10

INTRA MUROS … Swiss universities on visit to Brussels!

This edition of the SwissCore Synopsis as well as previous editions are available on our website. SwissCore - Contact Office for European Research, Innovation and Education 98, rue du Trône in 1050 Brussels • Tel. +32 2 549 09 80 • Fax +32 2 549 09 89 •


SEEN FROM BRUSSELS Democracy and human rights Throughout summer the media reported on the atrocities in Syria and the struggles for democracy in many middleeastern countries. The few news from the European institutions often commented on these happenings underlining the need to respect democracy and safeguard human rights. The implicit moral justification for such European commenting lies within our undertakings after World War II to “never have hunger and war again in Europe”. As of the foundation of the Council of Europe in 1949, research and education were attributed crucial roles in promoting democratic citizenship and human rights. But where does they currently stand in Europe?

mental Rights (FRA) in this respect: 47% of the LGBT in the EU feel discriminated. Also, the FRA Annual Report 2012 states that “Crimes motivated by racism, xenophobia and related intolerances, the mainstreaming of elements of extremist ideology in political and public discourse and ethnic discrimination in healthcare, education, employment and housing persist throughout the EU.” Bovens & Wille (2010) in ‘Diplomademocratie’ draw a sombre state of democracy in the Netherlands. Their research revealed a new highly-educated elite profiting from globalisation and European integration increasingly, but losing the middle- and lower-educated to populist parties.

The urge to continuously address democratic citizenship and human rights might have been the reason for proclaiming 2013 the ‘European Year of Citizens’ as many feared the young people's disengagement from political participation. However, Eurydice published a research report on 27 July 2013 claiming that young people are over-represented in the use of alternative forms of political participation using social media and internet. Moreover, the European Commission issued a publication on 20 August to promote good practice projects to preserve the shared values on which Europe has been built and to ensure its future. Declaring ‘gender’ a crosscutting issue for the entire Horizon 2020 points in the same direction.

So, with much of the attention on the economic crisis and the grand societal challenges one can never take democracy and human rights for granted. Raising scientific and educational questions on the state of democracy and human rights lies at the heart of combatting discrimination. For example, is there a relationship between up to 40% youth unemployment and an average intra EU annual mobility of workers of 0.25%? Is there pedagogical evidence justifying to force female Muslim teachers to unveil in classrooms? Are there scientific grounds to forbid asylum seekers making up 0.34% of a village’s population to visit the public swimming pool? Does an explicit coming out of a teacher increase the likelihood of homosexuality within a class and does a prohibition to do so decrease it? Hopefully the candidates for the elections of the European Parliament in 2014 are aware of such eminent current questions and will adequately equip research and education to continue answering them in the future.

But why only gender? Mind the allinclusive ‘lists’ of prominent leaders like Nelson Mandela and Barack Obama! Take the ‘EU Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender survey’ (LGBT) published on 17 May by the EU Agency for FundaEurydice report (pdf)

FRA report (pdf)

EC publication (pdf)

FRA Annual Report 2012 (pdf)

30 August 2013 SwissCore


RESEARCH Innovation in Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions On 22 August 2013, the 50th European Industrial Doctorate (EID) has been awarded to a researcher from the University of Birmingham in a project involving a Dutch company and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETHZ) as partner organisation. This highly publicised news indicates how important the ‘innovation’ component has become for Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) and underlines the focus of the forthcoming Framework Programme for Research and Innovation Horizon 2020. The introduction of European Innovation Doctorates (EID) as a pilot scheme in 2012 responded directly to the objectives of the European Union’s 10-year growth strategy: EID aim at making research careers more attractive, improving the employability of young scientists, strengthening the link between academia and industry by promoting inter-sectoral mobility and providing early stage researchers with excellent academic training complemented by business innovation. Under the Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (FP7), the EID were part of the Initial Training Networks (ITN) of MSCA, with an own earmarked budget and a separate evaluation panel. For 2013, EID have been given a minimum of €30 million, i.e. around 6% of the budget for ITN. Partnerships between academia and industry that involve the training of young scientists also appear at the core of oth-

er initiatives in Horizon 2020 such as the Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KIC) of the European Institute for Innovation and Technology (EIT), the action line for ‘fostering the innovation potential of research infrastructures and their human resources’ in the Excellent Science part of Horizon 2020, the Future and Emerging Technologies (FET) instruments and the Proof-Of-Concept (PoC) grants of the European Research Council. Institutions preparing themselves for Horizon 2020 should therefore include this innovation dimension in their participation strategy in order to be in line with the objectives of Horizon 2020 and hence optimise their chances of success. So far Swiss participation as main beneficiary of EID has, however, been limited to four EID only, three of which were awarded to companies and the fourth to the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN). According to these statistics, Switzerland is the ninth most active country, with regards to the number of EID participant as main beneficiaries, and lies strongly behind the United Kingdom and the Netherlands which count 20 and 18 participants respectively. Interestingly, the most successful countries in EID happen to be also leading in the number of PoC grants awarded. These similar trends observed for different funding instruments are probably best explained by the different research and innovation cultures and funding strategies between countries in Europe.

EC press release

30 August 2013 SwissCore




Focus: Large e-infrastructure servicing science Contemporary science cannot be done without large and efficient einfrastructures that offer fast and reliable exchange of enormous data sets. They allow scientists to collaboratively compute and model experimental data on a global stage. The most important research network of this kind in Europe is GÉANT, which brings together National Research and Education Networks (NREN) of 43 countries connecting over 50 million end users from more than 10’000 universities, higher education institutes, research institutes, libraries, museums, national archives, hospitals, etc. and a further 22’000 primary and secondary schools. GÉANT supports research in areas such as energy, the environment, space and medicine. By removing technical barriers for the sharing of knowledge in Europe, GÉANT must be seen as an essential component for realising the European Research Area (ERA). On 31 July 2013, Neelie Kroes, Vice President of the European Commission in charge of the Digital Agenda, celebrated the latest achievements of the build-up of the GÉANT network, namely that it could reach speeds up to two terabits per second on given sections of the network. European investments in large einfrastructures do not only focus on GÉANT, but include other networks such as the European Grid Infrastructure or the High-Performance Computing (HPC) service PRACE. Besides infrastructures supporting scientists from any given field, dedicated e-infrastructures have been developed or are in development for researchers active in the social sciences and the humanities, life sciences or physics and engineering. Finally, one must consider the developments linked to repositories and data archives such as Open Aire. They will certainly be further developed under Horizon 2020

for archiving and providing open access to research data. Under the Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (FP7), the European Commission (EC) has given over €495 million for einfrastructure under the ‘Capacities’ programme. Exploiting advances in Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) for supporting research proves to be essential for ensuring a striving scientific activity in Europe. It has been taken on board in Horizon 2020 and the topic has found its way right into the legislative texts. The Specific Programme implementing Horizon 2020, for example, includes a dedicated action line for the ”development, deployment and operation of ICT-based einfrastructure” with “the aim of to achieve by 2020 a single and open European space for online research”. The building, deployment and operating of research infrastructures listed in the European Strategy for Research Infrastructure (ESFRI) roadmap and the integration of national infrastructures are further activities listed in Horizon 2020 where ICT will be involved. However, in order to fully exploit the potential of e-infrastructures they must be integrated in global networks and provide European scientists access to data and computing power in other regions in the world. GEANT offers connectivity to 65 countries outside Europe with links to similar regional networks and the European Grid Infrastructure offers collaborations with various regional partners. These partnerships will surely be intensified in the coming years with a global move to open science and the online access to publication and data archives.

EC press release

30 August 2013 SwissCore




> Publications More than 50% of articles published in 2011 are open access On 21 August 2013, the European Commission

pers from the Scopus database from 2004 to

(EC) issued a press release on the availability of

2011. The number of papers available under the

open access publications. According to a study

gold open access rule - i.e. the author pays the

commissioned to Science-Metrix Inc., around 50%

publishing charges - have steadily increased in

of papers published in 2011 are freely available

proportion since 2004, with an estimated growth

online. The study looked at scientific publications

rate of 24% per year. Fields where open access is

in Europe and its main competitors, namely the

most limited are the social sciences and the hu-

United States of America, Japan, Brazil and Cana-

manities as well as applied sciences, e.g. engi-

da and considered 22 scientific fields. The study


examined around 320’000 randomly selected paEC press release Science-Metrix Inc. study (pdf)

Preparing for EDCTP 2 On 30 July 2013, the European and Developing

€12.4 million. Since the start of EDCTP in 2003,

Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP) pub-

€203 million have been spent on research on ma-

lished its 2012 Annual Report. 2012 was all about

laria, tuberculosis and AIDS with the largest share

preparing the transition to EDCTP 2, says the re-

going to drug development. EDCTP also engaged

port, and several related activities have taken

in research capacity building in African countries

place last year. In 2012, EDCTP has provided

by providing scholarships to African scientists and

funding to 45 projects for a total amount of over

training opportunities.

EDCTP press release EDCTP 2012 Annual Report (pdf)

6th FP7 Monitoring report published On 6 August 2013, the European Commission

and applicants had an average success rate of

published the sixth evaluation report of the Sev-

around 22%. The participation of small and medi-

enth Framework Programme for Research and

um-sized enterprise was estimated at 17% of all

Technological Development (FP7). The report pro-

participants in FP7. The report also provides statis-

vides an overview of all activities funded under

tics on the participation and collaboration patterns

FP7 since 2007. According to the report, more

of individual countries. It is for example, pointed


out that Switzerland has mostly collaborated with






105’000 participants have been retained for fund-

Germany and the United Kingdom.

ing, for a total amount of €32.8 billion. Proposals EC monitoring report

Report on water-related research The European Commission (EC) released a report

brief description on the priorities of the EC in this

on water-related research funded by the Seventh

area. Funded projects on water-related research

Framework Programme for Research and Techno-

focus on the effects of climate change on society

logical Development. The report gives a list of

and fresh water supply, the management of water

funded projects and provides the reader with a

resources and innovation in the water sector.

EC report (pdf) 30 August 2013 SwissCore


INNOVATION How to commercialise research results The European Commission (EC) published its synthesis of two reports looking at ‘how to convert research into commercial success stories’. The reports were originally presented as drafts at a conference late January 2013 (see article Synopsis 2013/02). They were produced by the Austrian Institute for SME Research and Oxford Research as well as Price Waterhouse Coopers (PWC) and focus on Key-Enabling Technologies (KET) by analysing a sample of projects from the 4th, 5th and 6th EU Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development. The results show that there are only few cases of linear process from ‘research to retail’ (conversion of knowledge), whereas most projects followed a non-linear, more complex path (transformation of knowledge), in which additional activities such as research, technology scanning, knowledge and technology integration and spill-over effects are necessary before research results are ready for the market as products and/or services. But then, what are the key factors leading to successful commercialisation? According to the reports’ results there is a need for both technology push and market pull, i.e. the technology should be at a satisfactory level for market entry and there should be demand for it. It should be considered that the process can take a long time from two years to twenty years in case of the medical sector and its strict regulations, therefore financial private or public support should be sufficient and so should a set of multidisciplinary skills. However, the most influential is the human factor in the presence of a charismatic leader and a highly motivated team. Other impacting factors are the research fields and the level of innovation in the project, cooperation with industry and end-users, a sound risk management, knowledge and awareness of markets,

modifications through additional research and development, adaptability through organisational change, active dissemination, sufficient demand and good knowledge of production and market processes, international competition and standards and regulations. The report by PWC uncovered a mistake often made by public officials and researchers alike, which is to see the innovation trajectory as linear. Innovation cycles have been proven to be a continuous process with many parallel activities, which take place at the same time as the research, such as interaction with users, designers and engineers, exploration of market opportunities and the protection of intellectual property rights. The report finally provides suggestions for innovation issues to be addressed already at the proposal stage:  key applications of the envisaged results;  maturity of the technology at each project stage;  support needed for the uptake (demonstration, prototyping etc.);  involvement of partners, particularly small and medium-sized enterprise;  technology intelligence (state-of-theart, patents, standards, etc.);  new markets and competitors;  expected impact for all partners;  specific work package on market exploitation, including a detailed plan with deliverables and necessary resources. Within a project, it should be clear who owns the results, which should consequently be protected before dissemination and potential users as well as partners and sources of finance should be identified.

EC synthesis report (pdf)

30 August 2013 SwissCore




> Publications Raw Materials Initiative’s state of play On 24 June 2013, the European Commission (EC)

for stockpiling; European Innovation Partnership

published a report on the implementation of the

(EIP) in Raw Materials; fair and sustainable supply

Raw Materials Initiative. Introduced in 2008, the

from global markets; development policy; sustain-

initiative aims at ensuring a level-playing field for

able supply from within the European Union; re-

accessing resources in third countries, fostering a

source efficiency and recycling. In order to raise

sustainable supply of raw materials from European

awareness around Europe’s raw material chal-

sources and boosting resource efficiency and recy-

lenge, the EC has so far organised two thematic

cling. The report presents the current state of play

events and plans to devote this year’s event to the


EIP in Raw Materials.






themes: identifying critical raw materials; potential EC report (pdf) EIP Raw Materials

High socio-economic benefits due to Wi-Fi usage On 1 August 2013, the Directorate General for

this share is further expected to grow. This expan-

Communications Networks, Content and Technolo-

sion of Wi-Fi usage could result in up to €200

gy (DG CONNECT) of the European Commission

billion in network cost reductions by 2016. The

(EC) released a study on the use and the socio-

study not only discusses savings induced by higher

economic benefits of wireless networks and Wi-Fi.

Wi-Fi usage but also takes a look at market evolu-

According to the study, in 2012, 71% of all wire-

tion of new Wi-Fi technologies and the innovation

less data traffic that was delivered to smartphones

capabilities of its industry.

and tablets in the EU was delivered via Wi-Fi and EC study (pdf)

30 August 2013 SwissCore


EDUCATION What future for ECVET? On 25 July 2013, the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training (CEDEFOP) published a briefing note on the European Credit system for Vocational Education and Training (ECVET). The note stresses out that the perceived value of ECVET is closely related to the implementation of the learning outcome approach, but the urgent need for a credit transfer system does not seem to be felt yet. This observation is based on the results of a survey conducted for the 2013 CEDEFOP monitoring report published earlier this year, which should contribute to the ECVET evaluation scheduled for 2014. According to the Recommendation of the European Parliament and the Council of June 2009 establishing ECVET, the first preparatory phase from 2009 to 2012, during which countries were asked to create the necessary conditions for ECVET, is coming to an end. From 2012 onwards, countries have been invited to gradually introduce ECVET, with the objective to conduct a first comprehensive evaluation in 2014. However, the 2013 monitoring report shows that most countries only are still laying down foundations for ECVET and that full implementation is rather unlikely in the near future. In most countries, it seems that priority is given to the development of the National Qualifications Frameworks (NQF) rather than ECVET. However, both instruments are linked. The development

of NQF increasingly includes discussions on ECVET related aspects such as modularisation or the transferability of learning outcomes. Furthermore, the CEDEFOP briefing note highlights that NQF and ECVET are perceived as serving a similar purpose in making learning outcomes part of qualifications. Yet, it is necessary to highlight that not all countries consider the use of ECVET the same way: whereas the Frenchspeaking community of Belgium e.g. uses ECVET to operate a true shift towards a learning outcome approach, herewith reforming its VET system, Germany only uses ECVET for transnational mobility within specific pilot projects, i.e. on a case by case approach for determined professions. In short, countries seem to adapt the use of ECVET to their needs. Yet, whatever these different needs are, the objective of ECVET as stated out in the 2009 Recommendation remains: not only should ECVET create the conditions for the learning outcome approach, but it should also contribute to the recognition of learning outcomes, allow accumulation of credits towards qualifications and operate as a transnational system allowing mobility of VET students. Conclusions – and possible related recommendations – on the state of implementation of ECVET in the 28 member states of the European Union, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland and Turkey, will be issued next year in the 2014 ECVET evaluation.

CEDEFOP briefing note CEDEFOP 2013 ECVET monitoring (pdf) EP and Council recommendation (pdf)

30 August 2013 SwissCore




Focus: Students’ access to grants and loans Over the past months, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has issued several rulings against discriminatory practices regarding student financial aid. The European Students Union (ESU) considers one of them, the case ‘Elodie Giersch and others vs Luxembourg’, as being highly controversial: in its ruling, the ECJ opens up the possibility for students’ aid to be in the form of loans rather than grants and that aid could be “conditional on the student who receives it returning to Luxembourg after his/her studies abroad in order to work and reside there”. In ESU’s view, the ruling does everything but encourage mobility, although the European Commission (EC) has been trying to promote learning mobility for many decades. According to ESU, the best way to increase student mobility is to improve the portability of national grants. It goes in line with the 2012 Bucharest Ministerial Communiqué, where the commitment to full portability of national grants and loans across the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) was reiterated. However, ‘home countries’ are free to decide whether they allow it or not and, so far, many do not have a portable grant or loan system for studies abroad. As for the financial help from ‘host countries’, the ruling in 2005 of the case ‘Bidar v. London Borough of Ealing & Secretary of

State for Education and Skills’, states that a person can be required to have lived in a country for five years prior to claim a grant or a loan from that country. Basically, countries are also free to decide on the rules applying to foreign students claiming a grant or a loan to study on their territory. So far, there is in Europe no predominance of one practice – ‘home countries’ issuing portable grants or loans to study abroad, which could be compared to the principle of jus sanguinis –, over the other practice – ‘host countries’ giving grants or loans to foreigners coming to study on their territory, which could be compared to the principle of jus soli. In the future, it is certainly important to observe the further evolution of both practices, especially in the light of how they will influence the triangle relationship between a) financial aid to students in the form of loans and/or grants, b) direct funding to institutions for education from government and c) fees requested from students by institutions. Another interesting development to follow in that respect is the set-up of the future European Loan Guarantee Facility of the future Programme for Education, Training, Youth and Sport ‘Erasmus+’ from 2014 to 2020, which will financially support students wishing to complete a Master degree abroad.

ECJ case ‚Elodie Giersch’ ECJ case ‘Bidar’ ESU press release Bucharest Ministerial Communiqué (pdf) EC guide (pdf)

30 August 2013 SwissCore




> Publications Cross-Border Higher Education on an upward curve On 12 July 2013, the European Commission pub-

24 EU member states, with no providers operating

lished a report on ‘Delivering Education across

in Estonia, Portugal and Slovenia, and with Spain

Borders in the European Union (EU)’. It presents

and Greece receiving the highest levels of CBHE

the conclusions of a study conducted by a consor-

activity. The report shows that levels of CBHE are

tium led by the Bertelsmann Stiftung, which exam-

highest where outgoing student mobility is also

ined the provision of higher education services

high and that exporting CBHE activities is domi-

abroad through branch campuses or in the frame-

nated by English-speaking countries. Moreover,

work of franchising or validation agreements, also

the report outlines that the levels of regulation

referred to as Cross-Border Higher Education

vary among member states, but most receiving

(CBHE). Not only students, staff and research

member states do not differentiate in their regula-

projects cross borders; in recent years, the mobili-

tory frameworks between EU-based and non-EU

ty of providers has been proliferating. The report

based providers. Finally, the study reveals that,

shows that even if CBHE affects only a small mi-

often, little information on quality and accredita-

nority of students within the EU, it is on an upward

tion is available, hence the need to improve quality

curve. The study identified 253 CBHE activities in

assurance for CBHE.

EC report (pdf)

ETHZ in top 20 On 15 August 2013, the Center for World-Class

(69), the University of Basel (83), the Ecole Poly-

Universities at Shanghai Jiao Tong University re-

technique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) (between

leased the 2013 Academic Ranking of World Uni-

101 and 150), the University of Bern (between

versities, commonly known as the ‘Shanghai Rank-

151 and 200) and the University of Lausanne (be-

ing’. As usual, the podium is shared by Harvard,

tween 201 and 300). The ETHZ lies on position 8

Stanford and Berkeley. The Swiss Federal Institute

in the field of Natural Sciences and Mathematics

of Technology Zurich (ETHZ) is the highest scoring


institution in continental Europe and with position

ing/Technology and Computer Sciences. Looking at

20, the first ever continental European institution

the ranking by subjects, the ETHZ is among the

in the top 20. Out of the 500 institutions listed, six

five best in chemistry. Altogether, the results are

other Swiss institutions appear in the ranking: the

rather stable compared to last year for Swiss insti-

University of Zurich (60), the University of Geneva









ARWU 2013

Value of TVET recognised at global level On 13 August 2013, the International Center for

TVET. These essays should provide assistance in

Technical and Vocational Education and Training of

implementing the recommendations issued at the

the United Nations Educational, Scientific and

occasion of the Third International Congress on

Cultural Organisation (UNESCO-UNEVOC) released

TVET that took place in May 2012. Overall, the

a publication on ‘Revisiting global trends in Tech-

publication fits into the 2010-2015 UNESCO TVET



Strategy, which explicitly recognises the value of

(TVET): reflections on theory and practice’. The

TVET in addressing issues such as youth unem-

publication brings together a series of essays on

ployment and socio-economic inequalities.





current practices, ideas and debates in the field of UNESCO-UNEVOC publication (pdf) Third International Congress on TVET (pdf) 30 August 2013 SwissCore


INTRA MUROS … Swiss universities on visit to Brussels! One of our goals is to promote the participation of Swiss higher education institutions in Horizon 2020 and Erasmus+. To that end, we organise two rounds of traineeships for research advisors and staff from International Offices at Swiss higher education institutions. From 2 to 6 September, three research advisors from the universities of Geneva and Basel will come to Brussels and follow a set of in-house trainings on European research, innovation and education policies and programmes. In addition to our trainings, a series of visits to the European Research Council Executive Agency, the Research Executive Agency and the European Commission on a set of relevant topics will be organised, with

the view of preparing them for Horizon 2020. While content-related meetings make a big part of the traineeship, a highlight of the visits will certainly be Thursday’s social at Place Luxembourg where our Swiss colleagues will experience the dazzling environment of the European policy and lobby arena, which differs quite significantly from the Swiss way of policy making. From 18 to 20 November, the same type of traineeship will be repeated, this time for staff of the International Offices with the objective to prepare them for Erasmus+. Invitations will be sent shortly. We look very much forward to welcoming all participants!

30 August 2013 SwissCore


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