The CNRS and industrial partners unite in Club Europe

20 Apr 2021
The French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) has launched a “think tank” with many industry representatives to jointly address the new Horizon Europe research framework program, its orientation and its funding. 

Club Europe was created in order to bring together the industrial partners of the organisation, but also other companies that were lesser known to the CNRS. Their objective is to develop “a multilateral approach” to Europe’s research and better positioning itself vis-à-vis the collaborative calls for tenders of its new Horizon Europe framework programme.

Launched at the start of the year, Club Europe will meet quarterly at the organisation’s headquarters in Paris and already has around fifteen members, including Air Liquide, Michelin and Thalès. For those large companies that have already joined, finding common research topics, sharing approaches and best practices are amongst their common goals.

The CNRS, although already well integrated into the French industrial landscape, working with around twenty large groups and mid-sized companies and SMEs, are hoping to boost wider collaborative funding and set up “more open” consortia through the establishment of Club Europe.

The key concept of the meetings of Club Europe is to develop a strategy “on three levels” in order to form a better position for the existing calls for projects, the work programs of the Commission, and to prepare the Framework Programmes for Research and Technological Development (PCRD) which will begin in 2027.

Pierre Roy, Deputy Director of Directorate relationships with enterprises at CNRS, notes how “at the beginning, we thought that it would mainly be about existing calls, but we quickly understood that it was necessary now to coordinate so that the next PCRD would go into the sense of our industrial and research priorities”.

This approach to a long-term strategy is also adopted by member companies such as Michelin, with Colin-Yann Jacquin, head of research partnerships insisting that “we shouldn’t start in seven years, but now”. 

AENEAS already plays a role in facilitating access to European funding, in particular by representing the industry in a public-private partnership, and brings together actors around collaborative projects, which Patrick Cogez, Technical Programme Manager, highlights is an expertise that AENEAS is keen to share.

In discussing the impact that a scientific partner like the CNRS can play in the success of certain projects, Cogez notes how “the organisation could be even more present on projects closer to industry such as those of the KDT (Key Digital Technologies) or the EUREKA clusters, because the chances of success and the subsequent impact , economic and societal are indeed increased when they integrate a solid scientific contribution like that of the CNRS.”

Read the full article here.