To prevent further disparities, maximize investment in R&D and enhance economic growth, Horizon Europe is taking relevant actions under Widening participation and spreading excellence objective. Twinning actions are one of the main instruments of this objective.
Twinning aims to enhance networking activities between the research institutions of the Widening countries and top-class leading counterparts at EU level by linking it with at least two research institutions from two different Member States or Associated Countries. Therefore, building on the huge potential of networking for excellence through knowledge transfer and exchange of best practice between research institutions and partners. Twinning actions intend to help raise the research profile of the institution from the Widening country as well as the research profile of its staff including a special focus on strengthening the research management and administrative skills of the coordination institution from the Widening country.
Project results are expected to contribute to all of the following expected outcomes:
- Improved excellence capacity and resources in Widening countries enabling to close the still apparent research and innovation gap within Europe.
- Enhanced strategic networking activities between the research institutions of the Widening countries and at least two internationally-leading counterparts at EU level.
- Raised reputation, research profile and attractiveness of the coordinating institution from the Widening country and the research profile of its staff.
- Strengthened research management capacities and administrative skills of the staff working in institutions from the Widening country.
- Improved creativity supported by development of new approaches in R&I collaboration, increased mobility (inwards and outwards) of qualified scientists.
Twinning proposals should have to clearly outline the scientific strategy for stepping up and stimulating scientific excellence and innovation capacity in a defined area of research as well as the scientific quality of the partners involved in the twinning exercise. This scientific strategy should include arrangements for formulating new (or ongoing) joint research project(s) in the scientific area of choice and describe how Twinning will take this research to a new stage, by enlarging its scope and/or the research partnership. If relevant, any links with sustainable development objectives are to be outlined.
Such a strategy should include a comprehensive set of activities to be supported. These should include at least a number of the following: short-term staff exchanges; expert visits and short term on-site or virtual training; workshops; conference attendance; organisation of joint summer school type activities; dissemination and outreach activities. As far as appropriate these activities should take into account the gender equality plans of the participants.
Proposals should also focus on strengthening the research management and administration skills of the coordinating institution from the Widening country. This should take the form of a dedicated work package or task, placing emphasis to specific activities, in view of helping the staff of the coordinating institution to improve their proposal preparation and project management/administration skills. If not yet in place, setting up/upgrading a research management/administration unit within the coordinating institution would be beneficial. This will be achieved by fully utilising the experience and best practices of the internationally leading partners and is expected to be a concrete deliverable of the Twinning exercise.
A research component not exceeding 30% of the total Horizon Europe grant may include an exploratory research project. This will open opportunities for integrating smaller research activities and by this strengthening the commitment and the engagement of the twinning partners.
The Twinning proposals should illustrate quantitatively and qualitatively the expected potential impact of the twinning exercise within the coordinating institution (and possibly at regional/national level) based on indicators such as expected future publications in peer reviewed journals, collaboration agreements with businesses, intellectual property, new innovative products or services, number of international students, number of women scientists and their roles in the research institutions.
It should be explained how the leading scientific institutions in the partnership will contribute in terms of provision of access to new research avenues, creativity and the development of new approaches, as well as acting as a source for increased mobility (inwards and outwards) of qualified scientists and young researchers including doctoral candidates. The benefits for the leading scientific institutions and the way they would materialise through the partnership should be substantiated.
Specific attention should be paid to gender equality objectives, in line with the organisations’ commitments through their adopted gender equality plans, and in line with ERA objectives, as far as appropriate.
The research part of the project should be presented through a dedicated work package and plan including the scientific objectives, tasks and roles of the partners.
The duration of the Twinning project should be up to 3 years.
18 January 2022