Why are we doing this?
The new European Commission Horizon 2020 programme presents an opportunity to introduce new funding tools such as challenge prizes to run alongside the more traditional research and innovation funding mechanisms.
The European Commission has identified five major societal themes to be supported by a challenge prize:
- creative materials
We think a challenge-based approach will bring together resources and knowledge across the different fields, technologies and disciplines, including social sciences and the humanities.
This will cover activities from research to marketing with a new focus on innovation-related activities, such as piloting, demonstration, test-beds, and support for public procurement and market uptake. It will also include establishing links with the activities of the European Innovation Partnerships.
What are we doing?
We are working with the European Commission to shape the design of five flagship challenge prizes on the key themes of Horizon 2020 over a period of nine months.
A consortium has been put together to tap into European networks and conduct an in depth research exercise bringing together resources and knowledge across different fields, technologies and disciplines with a focus on need and potential for breakthrough innovation.
We are going through a visioning process to explore where the grand challenges lie. And we’re aiming high!
We're working with five directorate generals in the European Commission representing: health, transport, bio-economy, creative materials and energy, to explore the landscape for the societal problems that could achieve a breakthrough in the next five years.
We’ll be commissioning expert research papers, holding workshops with experts and provocateurs to refine our understanding of the potential challenges, and exploring issues on a granular level to inform the design and structure of the challenge prizes.
Horizon 2020 and the Longitude Prize
As part of Horizon 2020, the European Commission has launched a prize to reduce the misuse of antibiotics for upper respiratory tract infections. The €1 million prize, which is part of the Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, will be launched at the beginning of next year and will run until summer 2016.
Another Nesta project, the Longitude Prize 2014, is also looking at the effects of antibiotic resistance, with a £10 million prize fund for quick, affordable and accurate diagnostics to help increase the effective use of antibiotics. There are several differences between these complementary prizes, and the lack of a ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution to reduce the misuse of antibiotics means multiple approaches to the problem has the potential for effective solutions.
Horizon 2020 – ‘The Framework Programme for Research and Innovation’, will succeed Framework Programme 7 as the main financial instrument supporting European research and development. It places research and innovation at the centre of the Europe 2020 strategy to promote smart, sustainable and inclusive growth.
This project is part of the wider European Commission Horizons 2020 framework which was signed into effect in November 2013 with a budget of €72 billion running until 2020.
This is just one of the many projects that Nesta is delivering on behalf of the European Commission including: Transitions, Commons for Europe, Digital Social Innovation and the European Design Innovation Platform.