Horizon Europe – Cluster 5: Climate, Energy, Mobility

Waterstof - Horizon Europe

Towards the end of January, my colleague Edine Pape published a blog about the structure and pillars of the new Horizon Europe programme for the period 2021-2027. Increasingly, more information about the new programme is beginning to emerge, from the new EIC instruments to draft versions of the programmes that belong to the 5 new clusters. In this blog I will briefly discuss the new programming of Cluster 5: Climate, Energy, Mobility, as presented by RVO last week on March 25.

Horizon Europe: What’s New?

Overall, the Horizon Europe programme has a strong foundation in European policy. The following three policy documents in particular are pivotal:

  • The well-known Paris Agreement to stop global warming. 
  • The Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) of the UN, in particular SDGs 7, 9, 11 and 13.
  • European Green Deal 

Again we see a strong focus on climate and (socially just) energy transition, and digitalisation. The budget for the period 2021-2027 is approximately €96 billion—a third more than during the previous period. In addition, the partnerships have been revised substantially; what used to be societal challenges are now the aforementioned ‘clusters’; and there are five new ‘missions’, each with their own work programme.

Cluster 5: Climate, Energy, Mobility

One of these clusters is Cluster 5: Climate, Energy, Mobility. As described above, the cluster has a strong policy motivation. Also important is its strong impact-driven character. Below, we briefly list the most important points:

  • Successful projects are cross-sectoral and involve multiple stakeholders. Much value is attached to stakeholder and citizen participation.
  • There is an increasing focus on interdisciplinary projects. Involvement from the Social Sciences and the Humanities is appreciated.
  • Social innovation: People are looking for projects the end products of which explicitly benefit society and contribute to development and application.
  • In line with the previous point, end users must also be involved in the project.
  • Synergy with existing initiatives (EU networks and instruments) is important.

The new programme may have a larger role for NGOs, as they have a suitable position to make the required link between research, technology, and stakeholder and citizen participation. With increasing attention for a multitude of stakeholders, it is also expected we will see larger consortia.

Whilst the programme has not yet been published, it is clear that for certain urgent themes, such as hydrogen, the new programme offers more possibilities, but has also become more complex. Whereas initially, funding for hydrogen projects could only be obtained via the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCHJU), there are now six different programmes in which hydrogen is addressed. In addition, hydrogen is no longer excluded from the Cluster 5 programme. This means more possibilities, but also more complexity. We are keen to help you navigate!

The Grant Application

The launch event of Cluster 5 included a number of tips. For example, now is the right time to approach possible consortium partners. It is also a good idea to consider stakeholder and citizen participation already whilst writing the application, for example by including a sounding board.

However, how do you bring the interests of a large group of stakeholders together under one coherent project? Is it actually useful to involve all these stakeholders directly as consortium partners, or would it be better to adopt a different approach? How do you find suitable consortium partners, and how do you realise citizen participation within a project that is, for example, more about technological development? And is it really worthwhile applying for a grant if it also comes with a lot of administrative obligations?

These are all questions that every party will have to address whilst considering a grant application with a large programme such as Horizon Europe. Many clients do not realise that our services go beyond grant advice and application writing alone. Support with consortium formation and project design are also part of the support we offer, allowing you to make use of our own extensive network in the sector. In addition, we also offer support once the grant has been awarded. For example, we write the interim reports and offer support during visits to the monitor.

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