Skip to content

Startup Safary Budapest 2017

April 24, 2017

For two days, Budapest turned into a start-up jamboree by having start-ups, tech companies, VCs, accelerators and incubators from the Magyar capital hosting breakfasts, office tours, workshops, hackathlons, meetups, trainings and professional lectures around the city.

Having a good taste of the start-up ecosystem, attendees had a chance to meet the teams, founders and investors, and to participate in many of the program sessions in the areas of Design, Coding, Mobile Development, Education, Fintech, Data, Lifestyle, Office and HR, IT Security and Developments, IoT and Hardware, Growth Hacking, Ecosystem Collaborators and presented the Budapest Heroes.

The safari of start-ups was set for the +3,000 participants to personalize their own schedule and to travel around the capital visiting several offices according to the venue of the +200 sessions.

Europa Media attended the Safary both days on one hand, to promote START2ACT – our project focusing on helping young SMEs and start-ups to save energy by easy behaviour change measures; and on the other, representing MY-WAY,  the project we coordinate focused on enhancing and improving the collaboration and efforts of web entrepreneurship initiatives.

Budapest Safary speakers included CTOs, Co-Founders, Engineers and other team members of famous organizations such as Prezi, TransferWise, Skyscanner, Uber; and also from local start-ups such as Shinrai, Liligo, BudAffect among many others.

The second edition of the Budapest Safary was successfully closed with the networking party Startup Safary After x Techfroccs, where the attendees and the Budapest tech community got together to celebrate entrepreneurship.

We will be waiting for the third edition in 2018!

by: Mariana Mata Lara

Advertisements

Social Media: an inevitable part of communication in European projects

March 27, 2017

The rising importance of technology in our lives has led to more connected people to online information, not only limited to computers, but also to smartphones and tablets. This makes us face an audience that is connected 24/7 and has the expectation to be continuously updated.

The audience of European projects is no exception in this respect: projects, their coordinators and partners as well as the European Commission and its Agencies are increasingly active on social networks. Social media is a very powerful tool to disseminate information and to effectively let people know about the activities the projects are carrying out, creating networks among similar actors and generating virtual communities interested in specific topics.

Why is a website not enough anymore?

Having a consolidated online presence is vital and is part of the success of a project, especially when it comes to dissemination and communication of results.

A website is indeed the supporting pillar of the online image of a project, so building it in a clear and engaging way is very important. Every social media channel will contain a reference to the site itself as a sign of reliability and trust. However, the website is a one-way communication channel that gives you information when you open it. Earlier in FP6 and FP7, a project website would have been sufficient as an online communication channel, but nowadays this is no longer the case. In this fast-paced era, it would be naïve to believe that people interested in our research would open the site every day to check out if there is an upcoming event that fits their interest, location and schedule. Instead, there is a bigger possibility of success if we share an event on Facebook, for instance, where they can reach the publication through different angles: because the project shared the event, a friend might have liked it or they might be searching for an event in their city and Facebook algorithm would suggest our event as a possible fit.

How can my project benefit from this?

This is why there is a need of understanding web 2.0, a not-so-new concept of Internet where the audience is not only a passive consumer, but prosumers, given that we are now both consumers and producers of content. The followers of our projects have the chance to interact with experts in a very quick and easy way. When a person likes your project page, they will receive your news on their personal feed too. It’s the information going to them, not them looking for it. Now, imagine a person having breakfast, opening their Twitter and seeing that you organized an interesting workshop the other day in their city. For sure they will want to stay updated to join the next one.

With social networks, you can not only reach your target in a quicker and easier way, but you can also broaden it. I might not be aware of what sites my friend visits, or where he obtains information on his topics of interest; but if he ‘likes’ or shares related news, I will directly see the post on my phone, and as a consequence, there is a high chance I will find it interesting too.

The European Commission is increasingly encouraging the beneficiaries to spread their projects’ results not only to the scientific community, but also to a wider audience. How to achieve this? Take, for example, the FP7 project PlasCarb. You may not have wide knowledge about ‘graphitic carbon’ or how a ‘microwave plasma reactor’ works, which are the main topics in PlasCarb, but ‘obtaining valuable material from our own food waste’, which is the overall ambition of the project, may sound quite interesting. Even more so, if you would know that the project’s impact could lead to building stronger and more resistant mobile phone screens.

How to do it?

Opening a new profile or page is free on most popular social networks. This doesn’t mean that it’s easy to drive people to your new profile and get visibility immediately. In fact, people are distracted by a lot of social networks and posts; so you have to earn your audience by sharing valuable content. Not to mention, your project is not the only one wanting to attract followers, there are many projects doing the exact same thing and probably with more resources than you might have. The first step would be to monitor your competitors and learn from both their mistakes and best practices. Engage with them by liking and sharing their posts or events, and take into account all possible collaboration opportunities for spreading further your information.

Ask yourself: what would catch your attention about an EU project? Its results? Its events? Maybe to stay updated with its news?  Depending on the project and its progress, you should highlight its different aspects. During its first period, the promotion about its objectives and partnership should be prioritized, while in the second period there will be more concrete results to show to the world, such as scientific research outcomes, events that took place, or a material product or service.

Secondly, the target audiences should be well defined. Does the project aim at researchers or young startuppers or policy makers?  Based on this, a social media plan will follow to decide on what kind of content, tone and style should be used, together with the number and timing of publications.

All in all, social media networks are a new tool whose potential we should not underestimate or disregard. We should learn how to use their capacity in the most effective ways, since many EU commissioners, decision makers, scientists and researchers, but also official institutions, agencies and NGOs are growing their online presence and engaging with the influencers and most relevant actors in their field of interest. All these online communities will play a significant role as means and part of the communication and dissemination activities.

By: Cosmina Bisboaca

Our Survey with Horizon 2020 beneficiaries: your impressions on proposal preparation and project implementation

March 20, 2017

As we reached halfway through the EU’s eighth Framework Programme for Research and Innovation, at Europa Media we were increasingly eager to discover the opinions our colleagues in some of the key aspects of participation in Horizon 2020. To find out what peer project managers, researchers and funding consultants think of the current state of things in EU funding for research and innovation, we launched a survey consisting of six questions.

Here we show you the results of our own “public consultation”.

Firstly, we tried to understand the research participants’ impressions on a much-debated issue: quality and transparency in the evaluation of proposals.

As little as 9% of the respondents chose the most unfavourable answer: “The quality of evaluations is poor and the process is not transparent enough” – still probably too high a percentage for the Commission’s quality standards. The highest number of responses (40%) pointed to a need to improve the quality of evaluations, followed by the need to make the evaluation process more transparent. The most positive answer, “The quality of evaluations is good and the evaluation process is transparent”, received the second lowest percentage of responses, 20%.

Our second question referred to the novelties of Horizon 2020 compared to FP7: a bigger emphasis on impact and exploitation, as well as new elements such as gender dimension, innovation management and integration of new knowledge. We therefore asked participants whether they feel confident about addressing these issues in your proposals.

The majority of respondents (63%) do understand what needs to be addressed on these issues, however would require more detailed guidance and tools to better address them. On the other hand, very few respondents (9%) do not understand what needs to be addressed in the first place, and almost a third feels confident enough to understand what needs to be addressed and can appropriately address these issues in proposals.

We further wanted to better understand what Horizon 2020 beneficiaries think in terms of leveraging partners and coordinators’ reputation in the evaluation of a proposal. Very few respondents (2%) judge partnership completely irrelevant to the proposal chances of success (“An excellent proposal has a chance for funding even if its partnership is not strong”): the highest number of participants (40%) think that “An excellent proposal always has a chance for funding as long as it has an appropriate partnership”; this is followed by a 31% rather believing that “Having the right partners on board matters the most for getting a proposal funded”. The rest of the individuals taking the survey believe that “Even if a proposal is not excellent, it will have chances for funding if it has the right partners on board”.

Concerning more specifically the coordinator’s name, nobody believes that this does not influence at all the evaluation of Horizon 2020 proposals, whereas 45% of the research community considers it influential; 21% very influential and 27% as neutral.

Moving from proposal development and evaluation to the realm of project management, 71% of survey participants consider “Developing and submitting competitive project proposals” as the most challenging/demanding process throughout the full lifecycle of a Horizon 2020 project. It seems that once the project starts, technical implementation and financial management are not considered a key obstacle (respectively, only 8% and 9% indicated these as key challenges), thus suggesting that proposal development and evaluation are still the most problematic and least understood processes.

Finally, on reporting obligations in Horizon 2020 projects, exactly half of the respondents only mildly agree on the statement “Technical and financial reporting procedures in Horizon 2020 are clear and appropriate”, while only 5% strongly agree with it and as low as 1% fully disagree.

Based on these findings, it seems fair to conclude that Horizon 2020 beneficiaries and potential participants generally feel that access to EU funding through proposals is still too complex: they place a high importance to the careful selection of partners and coordinators, especially looking at their reputation in the EU research and innovation landscape, and would like to see higher quality and more transparency in the evaluation process. Once they have obtained funding for their research idea, it seems that the technical and financial implementation, as well as the reporting obligations, are not a major challenge, but reaching this point may be so demanding that individuals are easily discouraged from trying.

By: Valentina Zuri

LIFEinFORESTS Conference on Sustainable Forest Management and Forest Treatment of Natura 2000 Sites

March 1, 2017

WWF Hungary, Europa Media and their partners in the LIFEinFORESTS project organize a professional forestry conference on forest management of Natura 2000 sites.

The LIFEinFORESTSs conference will provide an extensive forum to learn and share experiences about sustainable forest management and forest treatment at Natura 2000 sites.

Hungarian and European experts will present the most up-to-date results and practices of sustainable forest management from Hungary and from the EU.

The conference will take place in Sopron (Hungary) on 21-22 March 2017.

Detailed conference agenda and registration is available at http://en.lifeinforests.eu/conference

wwf_2_g_lh_di_l_szl_-002

Some topics of the conference:

•    Good practices of Natura 2000 forest management – European overview
•    Natura 2000 in state and private forests in Germany
•    Integration of Natura 2000 objectives into close to nature forest management – the Slovenian model
•    Natura 2000 forest management in Hungary
•    Why Natura 2000 is important for private forest owners?
•    Issues of forest management in Natura 2000 sites
•   The possibilities of nature conservation development

Learn more about the LIFEinFORESTS project at: http://en.lifeinforests.eu

By: Balázs Kozák

A new food waste treatment strategy for Europe

January 26, 2017

PlasCarb combines the production of high-value industrial materials with the treatment of unavoidable food waste.

Do you remember the question that was posed by Krisztina nearly three years ago, in her blog post? Is it possible to turn food waste into a resource?

This question kicked off the PlasCarb project on December 1st, 2013, and since then our team, consisting of seven partner institutions from five EU Member States, has worked hard to answer this question with a well-grounded YES.

This dedication has paid off – with the end of the project on November 30th, 2016, we can present a technology to the European market that has been proven viable through a one-month pilot test. In addition to that, social, environmental and economical assessments, carried out throughout the whole life span of the project, attest the sustainability of the entire PlasCarb value chain.

What can PlasCarb do for our economy?

Food waste is the feedstock of PlasCarb to generate in a first and well established step biogas (CH4 & CO2). After purification, the gas is cracked by a low temperature microwave plasma to yield graphitic carbon (renewable PlasCarbon) and renewable hydrogen.

PlasCarb is circular economy in action! Not only will this technology contribute to the recycling of food waste, but it also uses immanent components to source and supply industry sectors which are today mainly dependent on fossil fuels – the carbon nanoparticle market and the hydrogen economy.

Help spreading PlasCarb

PlasCarb is one of many initiatives to fight against the dangerous landfilling of food waste and to turn our wasteful and linear economy into a creative and circular one. If you are supporting those thoughts, please share the PlasCarb idea with your friends and colleagues. This will help making policy makers and businesses aware and multiply the positive effects of PlasCarb onto the European business landscape. Please visit and share this video where our partners tell the PlasCarb story in their own words. Our project website, http://www.plascarb.eu/, provides more information and the Viability Assessment encourages businesses to adopt the PlasCarb technology.

Back to the roots

Is it possible to turn food waste into a resource? Yes, PlasCarb has the potential to do so, but as Krisztina highlighted in her blog post, we are all in the responsibility to prevent the generation of food waste at its roots. Because it is not sensible to treat food waste which is avoidable with expensive technologies like recycling, composting or even with PlasCarb. Let us act in a more social, environmental and economical conscious manner by choosing sustainable technologies such as PlasCarb.

By: Daniel Frohnmaier

European Parliament elections: what path for EU funds?

January 23, 2017

What happened?

On 17th of January 2017, elections were held for the new president of the European Parliament in order to choose the successor of Martin Schulz (Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats). Initially seven candidates were running for the position, but before the first ballot, the liberal Guy Verhofstadt (ALDE) withdrew his candidacy, offering support to the Italian centre-right candidate Antonio Tajani (European People’s Party). After the third ballot, it became evident that the real competition was between two Italians, centre-right Antonio Tajani (EPP) and centre-left Gianni Pittella (S&D). At the end of the fourth ballot, with a difference of 69 votes, the presidency went finally to the EPP’s candidate Tajani. Despite the wind of Euroscepticism, the position of president of the European Parliament can be a very powerful and influent one, as Schultz showed in the previous five years unlike his predecessors. Tajani will draft the path to be followed concerning many outstanding issues for the next two and a half years.

After Tajani’s victory, it is indeed interesting to notice the prevalence of EPP’s members in key positions, with Jean-Claude Junker president of the European Commission and Donald Tusk as head of European Council.

Who is the newly elected president?

Antonio Tajani is a legal expert, former journalist and Italian politician. He is a familiar face in the EU politics as he was elected as Member of the Parliament four times. He has been vice-president of the EPP since 2008, and Commissioner for Transport from 2008 until 2010 and at a later time Commissioner for Industry and Entrepreneurship. As a matter of fact, during 15 years of political activity dedicated to the EU, he was part of different committees and projects, so his experience in EU politics and policies implementation is indisputable.

What does it mean for EU research and innovation?

Tajani clearly stated his position towards R&D, innovation, SMEs and environmental problems, when he was running for the EP president. “We need to work in favour of the real economy, strengthen our SMEs, as well as our industries’’ he said in an interview for Euractiv.com. During his mandate as a Commissioner for Industry and SMEs, Tajani undoubtedly saw the benefits of EU research and advocated for boosting it. It could not have been otherwise, given his background. He served the European Commission under the Barroso presidency, which was a flourishing period for research and innovation projects as he covered the position of head of Industry and Entrepreneurship, while in the Parliament he was part of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy.

Regarding the future of EU funding, he might have some changes in mind: “The EU’s Horizon 2020 research programme should be focused on fewer priorities, with more impact. Low carbon technologies, climate and the circular economy, as well as new digital and data technologies, should in my view be prioritised even more strongly than today,” he said to Science Business.com.

By: Cosmina Bisboaca

LinkTADs project successfully completed

January 9, 2017

October 2016 marked the completion of the LinkTADs project, a three-year initiative funded by the European Commission’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) to coordinate European and Chinese research on animal health.

As a result of various LinkTADs activities, EU-China collaboration has intensified through increased networking of relevant scientific communities and stakeholders, trainings for EU and Chinese researchers and establishment of linkages between ongoing animal health research and innovation projects in both regions.

LinkTADs organized a number of events:

 – 11 technical workshops emphasized the importance of linking laboratory and epidemiology in the animal health research field and enabled establishment of the LinkTADs network of research institutions;

 – 6 short terms academic visits and 3 exchange programs were organized providing excellent opportunities for LinkTADs and external partners to visit each other’s laboratories and facilities, learn in-depth about the ongoing activities and research lines and define new paths for collaboration;

 – 5 trainings were delivered in close cooperation with existing training programmmes in the EU and China resulting in a compilation of training materials available on the LinkTADs website;

 – 7 webinars were broadcast throughout the course of the project covering mostly specific diseases or policy aspects. This modern tool was seen as a useful way to deliver talks by experts allowing a wide participation of stakeholders in the EU/China.

 – 2 policy meetings were organized bringing EU and Chinese policy makers together; additionally, recommendations were developed on the basis of identified gaps and synergies for further potential harmonization of relevant regulations in both regions.

 – 4 dissemination events were held in both the EU and China contributing to reaching project objectives and enhancing the project impact.

The LinkTADs networking graph below shows the established relations within the consortium and with external partners, thus demonstrating the project’s sustainability potential.

linktadsblog1Successful project completion does not mean that the end of our work on the LinkTADs. Within the project, Europa Media was responsible for the platform development and we aim  to maintain the website as an information platform on cooperation in the animal health field between the EU and China for at least two years after the project completion. During the project implementation the platform was visited more than 10,000 times.

The platform includes several sections developed specifically within LinkTADs: collection of EU-China policy and strategy documents in animal health research collaboration; partner database, downloadable library of workshop reports, recorded webinars, training materials, and newsletters as well as the LinkTADs “Find Funding” tool.

The Funding database is an innovative tool, designed by Europa Media in order to help researchers look for available funding covering travel grants, scholarships, exchange programmes, fellowships available for European and Chinese experts working in the veterinary field including animal health and food safety. The LinkTADs partners decided to make it available for public users.

Thus, if you are an international researcher looking for funding opportunities in the field of animal health or food security, feel free to visit the LinkTADs website. The “Find funding” tool currently lists 180 entries collected by EM.

Additionally, Europa Media will be involved in maintaining the activities of the LinkTADs Focal Point Network. The Network consists of international researchers and experts from the EU and China with experience in animal health related research and relevant expertise in EU-China cooperation, e.g. funding, logistics, networking opportunities, etc. The LinkTADs Focal Point Network will provide support to anyone interested in animal health research and relevant cooperation between the EU and China. Europa Media will assist in sustaining the network using the LinkTADs LinkedIn group for communication.

Europa Media and the LinkTADs team encourage international epidemiologists, laboratory workers, PhD students and individual researchers active in the field of animal health and food security to make use of LinkTADs tools, which are available beyond the project completion as part of the LinkTADs sustainability plan.

linktadsblog2LinkTADs team during the final project meeting

By: Liliya Levandovska