“Coordinator seeking Partners for Green Deal call: Zero-pollution, toxic free environment”; “Looking for partners to monitor the contaminants in food and water”; “Seeking to join consortium for the ‘Preventing and fighting extreme wildfires’ call”; “Seeking to join consortium for Farm to Fork”. This kind of partner searching messages have been dropping into my inbox since I signed up to Crowdhelix and made a profile with keywords related to biodiversity and climate change. What are Green Deal and Crowdhelix?
The Green Deal is the EU’s green development programme, which aims to make the EU economy as a whole environmentally sustainable. Europe aims to be the first climate-neutral continent, by 2050. This will require significant emission reductions, but also investment in cutting-edge research and innovation, as well as the protection and restoration of natural environments. The entire Green Deal is very extensive, including e.g. agricultural, environmental, energy, transport and industrial actions. The last open funding calls for the EU’s research and innovation framework programme Horizon 2020 relate to the EU’s Green Deal theme. Green Deal calls will also be an important part of the Horizon Europe framework program, which will start next year.
Finding good partners is paramount in consortium project applications under the EU Framework Programs. This will be further emphasized in Horizon Europe. To meet this challenge, the University of Turku recently joined the open Crowdhelix innovation platform for universities, research institutions and companies applying for EU funding. The platform brings together an international network of top researchers and innovative companies to work together on pioneering EU Framework Program projects. There are currently 447 institutions and innovation companies worldwide on the platform. The active user community includes nearly 5.000 professionals working in research and innovation, and the network is constantly evolving and growing. Joining the platform as an organization allows all members of the organization, in our case all UTU staff, to register as users. In order to get the most out of the service, it is a good idea to add keywords from your own areas of expertise and interests to your own user profile.
Within Crowdhelix, there are 27 collaborative platforms called “Helixes”, which are focused on different themes such as “Climate”, “Energy”, “Food”, “Heath”, etc. The number and themes of the Helixes vary according to the needs of users. For example, five new Helixes are being created to correspond the missions in the new framework programme Horizon Europe. A registered Crowdhelix user can join as many Helixes as they wish, follow and respond to partner search announcements published on the platform, publish their own announcement and participate in networking events. For instance, in October 2020, a Green Deal themed virtual networking event was held to showcase Green Deal related funding calls, and the organisations were allowed to present themselves and their interest in participating in the calls and in the partner search. Also, research teams can create their own groups under their organisation and that way seek for more targeted partners for a specific framework program application or offer their own expertise. A group can also add information about its objectives of EU-funded research to its own page.
Right now, in Crowdhelix there a fierce search for partners and a consortium building frenzy is going on for the open Green Deal calls. So, if you are about to participate in the Green Deal calls closing on 26 January 2021 and you lack partners, then now would be an ideal time to register as a Crowdhelix user. Also, it’s worth keeping an eye on Horizon Europe, the framework programme to be launched in early 2021, and start to plan a possible consortium or propose yourself as a member of a consortium on the topics presented in the Work Programme drafts. After registering with Crowdhelix, partner search notifications will start to drop into your inbox, and maybe someone is looking especially for your expertise!
Hanna Honkanen and Johanna Toivonen