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University plays host to European energy experts

28 July 2015

European Energy Experts
Mr Eric Lecomte, Policy Officer, European Commission, Directorate-General Energy; Prof Nora de Leeuw, PVC International and Europe; Prof Hywel Thomas, PVC Reserach, Innovation and Engagement; and Mr Alan Haigh, Head of Department, Horizon 2020 Energy and Transport, European Commission, Innovation and Networks Agency (INEA).

Delegates gather at ‘Vision 2020’ event to discuss EU research and innovation funding

Over 150 energy and policy experts from across Europe have gathered at the University to take part in an inaugural meeting set up to connect participants engaged in the Horizon 2020 funding programme.

The ‘Vision 2020’ event, which took place between 22 and 23 July, enabled academics, researchers, industry, and local authorities from the energy sector to exchange their experiences of the EU funding programme, discuss collaborations and access training.

Delegates were able to build and foster relationships with two key officials from the European Commission, Mr Eric Lecomte and Mr Alan Haigh, who delivered keynote speeches during the two day event, held in the Haydn Ellis and Glamorgan buildings.

Mr Lecomte spoke of the challenges for research and innovation in addressing the aims of the EU’s Energy Union strategy to provide secure, sustainable and competitive energy for every European, and the important role being played by universities, research organisations and industry in the field to develop new technologies to reduce energy consumption and emissions, and to help the transition to a low carbon society. He also invited responses to the recently launched EC Public Consultation on a new Energy Market Design.

In discussing success rates Mr Haigh emphasised that those applying to Horizon 2020 must respond directly to specific calls for proposals if they want to win funding.

Prof Nora de Leeuw, Pro Vice Chancellor International and Europe at the University, who hosted the two-day meeting, commented on the importance of this type of event to foster and grow collaborations between universities, the private sector and public bodies across Europe.

Launched in 2013, ‘Vision 2020’ is a platform for research organisations and companies that are active in the Horizon 2020 funding programme to connect with other participants and discuss ways to maximise funding. ‘Vision 2020’ currently has over 200 members from across 33 European countries. 

As a founding member of ‘Vision 2020’, the University has taken the lead on the ‘energy cluster’ due to a significant track record of research in this area.

Last week’s meeting centred on the ‘Secure, clean and efficient energy’ programme outlined in the Horizon 2020 framework. The programme has been designed to support the transition to a reliable, sustainable and competitive energy system, whilst at the same time overcoming a number of challenges, such as increasingly scarce resources, growing energy needs and climate change.

Delegates from 28 universities across Europe attended the event, along with representatives from industry, Welsh Government, Innovate UK and local authorities.

The University has been awarded 31 individual funding grants to date from the Horizon 2020 programme, totalling €18 million.

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