This news release is available in Spanish.
UC3M has distinguished itself, since its early days, through its decided focus on internationalization and, specifically, its integration into the European system of R+D+i. It has been a pioneer in the creation of the Office of International Projects ( Oficina de Proyectos Internacionales - OPI) within the Research Service (Servicio de Investigación), which handles a wide range of related issues: preparation and negotiation of proposals, signing of contracts, monitoring of project, help in legal cases, etc. The OPI has presented 503 proposals in the 7PM (European Framework Program), 72 of which have been selected (in addition to other European initiatives), which is a success rate on par with the European average. UC3M, despite its medium size and generalist character, has established itself among the twenty-five Spanish entities that have achieved a greater overall return in the 7PM, according to data from the November 2013 CDTI report.
The Horizon2020 program makes it necessary to reinforce the infrastructure for project support; this is mostly due to the change in the model of the Framework Program, oriented toward social challenges and more applied research, and the increase in competition for being awarded these funds. In addition, UC3M has set the goal of increasing its quota of leadership roles in these projects, which was 13% in the 7th Framework Program. Therefore, with the STRENGTH project, two clear objectives are established: first, to consolidate and expand the current structure of the UC3M's OPI; second, to stimulate activities that will promote research.
IN order to reach these goals, the International Projects Office (la Oficina de Proyectos Internacionales) intends to carry out the following: the revision and improvement of internal management process to adapt them to the new H2020 requirements; the consolidation and increase in the structure of research management support technicians, by incorporating management personnel directly into the UC3M research groups themselves; continuing education of the university community itself (researchers as well as research managers) throughout the entire H2020 program; active participation in research management networks, both national and international. Moreover, the Office will try to identify new opportunities for UC3M's researchers, following the new structure of H2020 (PPP, KICs, JTI, etc.). All of these activities, linked to UC3M's new institutional support designed to improve the quality of the proposals through the UE-writers program, will enable both the success rate of the proposals and the increase in leadership roles of in the projects. "This institutional promotion of internationalization will help to establish UC3M among the European universities with the greatest prestige," comments the vice-chancellor for Research and Transfer, Carlos Balaguer.
One of 16 selected Spanish universities
The STRENGTH project (Strengthening the UC3M´s European projection) began on 1 October 2014 and is projected to last 3 years; the expected financing is 162,000 Euros. It involves 35 stimulus activities that were chosen from among the 139 entries that were presented in the latest "Europa Redes y Gestores" (Europe Networks and Managers) competition, a government program for R+D+i that is part of the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness's Office of International Projects (Subdirección General de Proyectos Internacionales del Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad), which seeks to strengthen the networks for collaboration and strategic plans for international activities in public research centers. The proposal presented by UC3M received a grade of "A", the highest rating possible, which makes UC3M one of the 16 Spanish universities that are part of this program.
This financial aid will be used to create or reinforce structures that promote the participation of research groups from the awarded entities in international projects, particularly in the Horizonte 2020 Framework Project (Programa Marco Horizonte 2020). The entities that have received these awards must take on an Strategic International Action Plan (Plan Estratégico de Actuación Internacional) that includes coordinated action by one or several groups of the various awardees, promoting synergies and creating networks for collaboration with the goal of increasing Spanish participation, the number of coordinated projects, and the financing received.
Servicio de Investigación (Research Service): http://www.