Dr Haris Kontoes PI of the EXCELSIOR Project from the National Observatory of Athens (advanced partner), on behalf of the Coordinator of the EXCELSIOR Project Prof. Diofantos Hadjimitsis from the Cyprus University of Technology, joined the signing ceremony which took place on the 24th of September 2019 in Brussels. During the event Jean-Eric Paquet, Director-General for Research and Innovation congratulated the 14 Teaming projects winners on this outstanding initiative and their contribution to bridging the research and innovation divide in Europe. Teaming projects under the Horizon 2020 Widening Programme aim at setting up and developing new ‘centres of excellence’ in low R&I performing Member States.
Director-General Jean-Eric Paquet congratulated these winning projects, stressing the importance of autonomy and good-quality governance that they need to enjoy and sustainability plans for continuation after the grant period. Jean-Eric reminded the project coordinators and representatives from advanced partners present at the meeting of their responsibility, in partnership with the European Commission, to share their excellence with the R&I community; he encouraged them to reach out to the previous generation of Teaming projects to build on past experiences and, once in full swing, to help others being equally successful.
Together with the project coordinators, Jean-Eric signed the certificates acknowledging that each of these 14 projects will establish a Centre of Excellence in their countries and receive for that a corresponding phase 2 Teaming grant of around 15 million euros. The signature of the certificates was followed by a shared meeting gathering the responsible units for policy development in DG RTD and for project implementation in REA. Both Heads of Units, Magda de Carli and Ales Fiala, as well as the Director of REA Marc Tachelet addressed the audience.
Following the official congratulations, policy officers from RTD and project officers from REA met project representatives and discussed the upcoming stages of project implementation. Commissioner Carlos Moedas and the Chair of the Committee on industry, research and energy (ITRE), MEP Adina-Ioana Vălean congratulated the winners at the end of the R&I days session ‘Bridging, widening, sharing: let’s advance Europe together’ on the same day, in the presence of the new Commissioner-designate for Innovation and Youth, Mariya Gabriel.