In order to stimulate the participation of widening countries in Horizon Europe in particular in the Pillar 2 Actions, the European Commission has created the Hop On Facility call (HORIZON-WIDERA-2022-ACCESS-07-01). This call will be funded through the Work Programme Widening participation and strengthening the European Research Area and contributes to the inclusiveness ambition of the future European Research Area. This call will provide the possibility for legal entities from low R&I performing countries (=widening countries) to join already selected collaborative projects, subject to the agreement of the respective consortium and provided that legal entities from such countries are not participating in it yet.
As defined in the Horizon Europe regulation the low performing R&I countries or the so called widening countries are Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czechia, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and all Associated Countries with equivalent characteristics in terms of R&I performance and the Outermost Regions (defined in Art. 349 TFEU).
Under the transitional provisions set in the General Annex to the Horizon Europe (HE) Work Programme, and explained in the Infosheet International Cooperation on our website, a new association agreement needs to be stipulated by each country. However, for the purpose of eligibility conditions, applicants established in Countries associated to H2020 are considered eligible for Horizon Europe. The Associated Countries that are considered as widening countries are : Albania, Armenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Faroe Islands, Georgia, Iceland, Kosovo, Moldova, Montenegro, Morocco, North Macedonia, Serbia, Tunisia, Turkey and Ukraine.
How does it work?
A consortium under Pillar 2 Actions of Horizon Europe with a valid grant agreement but without a partner from a widening country in the consortium yet can apply to include a legal entity from a widening country in their consortium. The application to include a partner from a widening country needs to be submitted by the coordinator of the consortium. All consortium partners need to agree with the inclusion of this new partner from a widening country. The application needs to describe in detail the profile of the new partner and the role of this partner in the project and the R&I relevance and complementarity of this new partner also needs to be demonstrated in the application. All the information will have to be added in a track changes document based on the Description of the Action (DOA). The selected applications will be invited to submit an amendment for accession of the new partner, the modification of the description of the action and upgrade of the budget.
The European Commission foresees a budget between 200K EUR and 500K EUR per project. This additional top-up will be added to the initial budget of the existing consortium. However this budget increase should be exclusively spent at the benefit of the new partner with the exception of a coordination fee of up to 10% of the increased budget to be allocated to the coordinator of the consortium.
The proposals for this additional top-up will need to contribute to the following expected impacts:
- At system level: mobilise excellence and increase visibility of the participants from the Widening countries, improve knowledge circulation, and reduce lack of participation of Widening countries in thematic domains.
- At organisation level: open up silos of established closed consortia and improve research excellence of the Widening country’s institutions in specific fields.
- At the level of the beneficiary: create new competencies and skills (from working in transnational projects) including on research management and dissemination and exploitation of results.
Opening date and deadlines
This call will open on 28 January 2022 and will have two closing dates: on 20 April 2022 and 10 November 2022.
This infosheet is based on the information provided in the Work Programme Widening participation and strengthening the European Research Area (p.43-45).
During the online COM Info day on Widening and ERA (timestamp: 01:46:00) on 9 July 2021, this Hop on call was presented as well.