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Latest events 

13.11.2020: "EU-programmes – Discover the opportunities for the public sector" event 

(Recorded live stream)

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Norway Joins Erasmus+ and Horizon Europe 2021-27

The Norwegian government on Friday proposed Norwegian participation in the EU's research and innovation and education programmes, Horizon Europe and Erasmus+, as part of its application to participate in EU programmes for the next framework period.

The proposition suggests the joining of certain new programmes as well as for continued participation in programmes that Norway is already part of.

Norway has participated in the EU's framework programmes for research and technology development since the 1980s, and in the programmes for education, training, sports and youth, that has subsequently become Erasmus, since 1992. Since 1994, Norway is associated to both programmes through the EEA Agreement.

Horizon Europe continues from the preceding Horizon 2020 programme in many respects but puts a stronger emphasis on innovation and on translating R&I results into societal and economic gains. This is pursued e.g. through Missions and the European Innovation Council (EIC), which was launched in its full-fledged form in March. It then succeeded a piloting phase within Horizon 2020. The EIC stimulates breakthrough innovations whose scale-up is otherwise hampered from lack of private investments caused by high risk.

Horizon Europe will have a total budget of €95.5 billion, of which €5.4 billion will be derived from the recovery fund NextGenerationEU. 35 % of the budget will be channelled to climate change mitigating purposes.

The world's biggest programme for education and training, Erasmus+ is known to many as an enabler for students to pursue their academic interests across Europe's national borders. Its goals are to promote knowledge, capacities, and competencies to support individual professional and personal development; active democratic participation; and collaboration on policy development and sharing of best practices across Europe and the world, to mention a few. This edition succeeds and continues from Erasmus+ 2013-2020.

Since 2017, Erasmus+ has underpinned efforts to implement the European Education Area (EEA). The EEA aims to make mobility in education the norm, to improve cross-border accreditation to higher and secondary education institutions, and to standardize cognizance of two foreign languages. A vision for implementing the EEA by 2025 was launched in a Communication from the European Commission in, with strong ties to both the twin green and digital transitions and to recovering Europe post-pandemic.


- We want more students to take parts of their education abroad. By participating in Erasmus+, we can give young people experiences for life as well as affect our own educational system and contribute to other countries' development, said Minister of Research and Higher Education, Henrik Asheim.

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Teaming up to Build Hydrogen Value Chains: Five Norwegian Projects Continue to Next Round in Norwegian IPCEI 

Hydrogen has been given a substantial role in plans to sustainably transition European energy systems. French, German, Portuguese, and EU hydrogen strategies all witness hydrogen's increasing prominence on the political agenda. The European IPCEI offers a promising venue for making hydrogen feasible as a solution:

A cooperation-based initiative, Important Partnerships of Common European Interest is an opportunity for finding resources within the internal market to boost innovation in selected areas that Europe considers vital to develop. IPCEIs address strategically important and future-oriented industry sectors, whose development involve risk and require cross-border efforts and investments. IPCEI Hydrogen is archetypical:

"Hydrogen is still expensive and there is still a large potential for reducing costs through further technology development", says Arve Solheim, Head of New Markets at Enova, the state-owned enterprise that governs Norway's participation within the IPCEI:

"Therefore, IPCEI emerges as a valuable tool". Solheim manages much of the process from Enova's side. Enova currently co-develops five selected projects together with the project owners, which were selected based on a call that closed on 1 February. 25 projects voiced interest.

Anyhow, why hydrogen? Whereas a variety of possible usages implies substantial benefits as well as a risk of confusion, the main promise of hydrogen emerges as it does not emit CO2 or air pollution when it is used. Hydrogen could be used as feedstock, an energy carrier or -storage, or as a fuel[1]. It could be applied within transportation, industry, power and building sectors. Significantly, hydrogen has been granted a key role towards reaching the EU's zero-emission target and climate neutrality by 2050 as part of its green growth strategy Green Deal.

The European IPCEI therefore has provided a common ground for Norwegian and EU ambitions:

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The first annual call for Erasmus+ 2021-2027 is open

The first call of the new Erasmus+-programme has been announced, a programme with almost twice the budget from the 2014-2020 programme period, as well as a “strong strategic focus on social inclusion, the green and digital transitions, and promoting young people’s participation in democratic life”. While “evolution, not revolution” has been the mantra, there are some new and interesting activities for the stakeholders to take part in. Most of these support priorities and activities set out in the three main education and training strategies updated in 2020:

 

European Education Area, Digital Education Action Plan and the European Skills Agenda. Among the new activities, the Blended Intensive Programmes combining digital courses and shorter periods of mobility for students is worth mentioning, as well as the new European Teacher Academies, aiming at increased cooperation between European teacher training providers and practitioners. 

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"Beautiful, sustainable, together" – these are the slogans of the New European Bauhaus (NEB) Initiative that has been launched by the European Commission.  

The Estonian Liaison Office for EU RTD (ELO) in cooperation with the Lithuanian RDI Liaison Office LINO took the occasion of their IGLO Open Event on 6 April to explore the basics. The purpose was to provide an overview of the initiative, with a specific focus on the ongoing process of co-design and plans for the future. 

Xavier Troussard, Head of the New European Bauhaus Unit at the Joint Research Centre (JRC) at the EC, gave a quick presentation of the initiatives.  

"We want to shape a movement that will aim to uncover how to live together better after the pandemic", he explained. The essential effort is to transform the spaces where we live; in terms of both sustainability, aesthetics and quality of experience, and inclusion. The latter also includes affordability and accessibility, he explained.  

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Co-Designing the New European Bauhaus: IGLO Open Event Explores New EU Initiative