Third SPIRE Brokerage event shows momentum growing

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The third SPIRE Brokerage event brought a full house to the Crowne Plaza Le Palace hotel on 30 June. Almost 200 eager participants were briefed on the outlook for the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 programme – in particular the forthcoming 2016-2017 work programmes. This was followed by 37 presentations on project ideas and proposals and an intense networking and face-to-face brokerage session.  The day before delegates had attended two parallel sessions: one introducing the majority of the SPIRE projects that had been successfully funded under the 2014 SPIRE calls (see separate article) and the other connecting innovative small and big businesses.

Soren Bowadt from the European Commission sketched out the 2016-2017 Work Programmes relevant to SPIRE. The work programme he described should be officially published in September and was not final.  Twelve SPIRE calls are anticipated for 2016 and 2017 and will focus on the role of improved resource efficiency in enabling the circular economy (see below).


Jeroen Schuppers of the Energy unit at DG Research & Innovation described the proposed LCE25 – 2016 call . This call was similar to SPIRE 8 – 2017 but specifically addressed the technology needed to capture and purify CO2 from process flue gases. Jeroen also described the new Horizon Prize for CO2 Utilisation - a novel instrument for the energy programme with an indicative budget if €1.5 million. The prize contest was scheduled to be launched in the first quarter of 2016 with the award being made in early 2019.

Silvia Vivarelli from European Agency for Small and Medium Enterprises (EASME) outlined the anticipated call EE17 – 2016 Valorisation of waste heat in industrial systems.

Vincenzo Gente of DG Research & Innovation (Eco-Innovation) outlined the thinking behind future calls in the climate action area under sub challenge ‘Enabling the transition towards a green economy through eco-innovation’. The orientation of the 2016-2017 work programme had been the subject of a stakeholder consultation. A Group of Experts had been established to look at a ‘Systemic Approach to Eco-Innovation to achieve a low carbon, Circular Economy’. The outcome of their deliberations were summarised in the Commission publication ‘From Niche to Norm.’   

Building good proposals

Nicholas Deliyanakis works in strategy at DG Research & Innovation and gave delegates some general tips on developing winning proposals. He emphasised the need to focus on the application of outcomes and impact via an outline business plan.

He also said proposers should come up with scenarios for impact. Outline business plans also needed to identify synergies with smart specialisations and other future funding possibilities. The inclusion of a credible (but brief) strategy to achieve full scale manufacturing or production in Europe was key. Mr. Deliyanakis hoped that new guidelines on writing the impact section would help.

Mr. Bowadt also had some tips for project proposers. Proposals needed to consider the whole value chain and look for cross-sector synergies – this is what SPIRE is all about in terms of technology transfer. He also urged delegates not to omit lifecycle perspectives.

Keith Simons, a Horizon2020 expert evaluator, said it was essential that proposal writers understood what the TRL (technology readiness levels) meant and, therefore, what activities should be undertaken in the project. The project implementation plan should reflect targeted TRL requirements and be sensible. The project budget should be balanced, appropriate and sensible.

Industry needs - technology solutions

The rest of the day was devoted to a series of presentations from companies, research organisations and academics. In total 37 presentations on project ideas and proposals were made covering almost all the potential SPIRE call areas for 2016 and 2017. This was followed by a very intense networking and face-to-face brokerage session.

A special video report from the brokerage session can be viewed below and photographs from the Brokerage Day can be viewed in the online gallery here.