The specific challenge is to address networking gaps and deficiencies between the research institutions of the Widening countries and internationally-leading counterparts at EU level. Driven by the quest for excellence, research intensive institutions tend to collaborate increasingly in closed groups, producing a crowding-out effect for a large number of promising institutions. This is the challenge that a specific Twinning action will try to address.
Twinning aims at significantly strengthening a defined field of research in a university or research organisation from a Widening country by linking it with at least two internationally-leading research institutions in other Member States or Associated Countries. Twinning will:
Successful Twinning proposals will have to clearly outline the scientific strategy for stepping up and stimulating scientific excellence and innovation capacity in a defined area of research as well as the scientific quality of the partners involved in the twinning exercise. If relevant, any links with sustainable development objectives are to be outlined.
Such a strategy should include a comprehensive set of measures to be supported. These should include at least a number of the following: short term staff exchanges; expert visits and short-term on-site or virtual training; workshops; conference attendance; organisation of joint summer school type activities; dissemination and outreach activities.
In general, costs relating to administration, networking, coordination, training, management, travel costs are acceptable under a Twinning project.
Therefore, for grants awarded under this topic the following cost categories will be ineligible costs:
- infrastructure costs;
- research costs (including consumables).
The respective option of Article 6.5.C of the Model Grant Agreement will be applied.
The duration of a Twinning project can be up to 3 years.
The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of EUR 1 million, would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting lower amounts.
Benefits will also accrue to the institutions from the more intensive research and innovation performers, in terms of access to new research avenues, creativity and the development of new approaches, as well as a source for increased mobility (inwards and outwards) of qualified scientists.