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Call: Fast deployed mobile laboratories to enhance situational awareness for pandemics and emerging infectious diseases

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Programme
Acronym HE-CL3-DRS
Type of Fund Direct Management
Description of programme
"Horizon Europe - Cluster 3 - Destination 5: Disaster-Resilient Society for Europe"

This Destination supports the implementation of international policy frameworks (e.g. the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, the Paris Agreement, Sustainable Development Goals), EU disaster risk management policies tackling natural and man-made threats (either accidental or intentional), European Green Deal priorities including the new EU Climate Adaptation Strategy [[COM(2021) 82 final., as well as the Security Union Strategy [[COM(2020) 605 final.]] and the Counter-Terrorism Agenda [[COM(2020) 795 final.]] .

The world and our societies are facing growing risks from anthropogenic and natural hazards, which call for enhanced capacities in risk and resilience management and governance [[Overview of natural and man-made disaster risks the European Union may face, SWD(2020) 330.]], including instruments for better prevention and preparedness, technologies for first and second responders [[A “second responder” is a worker who supports "first responders" such as police, fire, and emergency medical personnel. They are involved in preparing, managing, returning services, and cleaning up sites during and after an event requiring first responders, including crime scenes and areas damaged by fire, storm, wind, floods, earthquakes, or other natural disasters. These types of services may include utility services (shutdown or reinstatement of electrical, gas, sewage, and/or water services), wireless or wireline communication services, specialty construction (i.e. shelter construction), hazardous waste clean-up, road clearing, crowd control, emergency services (i.e. Red Cross), first aid, food services, security services, social services (i.e., trauma counsellors), and sanitation.]], and where relevant for citizens, and overall societal resilience. The increasing severity and frequency of extreme weather events (e.g. floods, heat and cold waves, storms) and associated events (e.g. forest fires) resulting from climate change compounded vulnerabilities and exposure require a specific research focus while geological hazards (e.g. earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions) and slow-onset trends (e.g. sea-level rise, glacier melt, droughts) also deserve a continuous attention. Anthropogenic threats also demand strengthened crisis management capacities, as shown by recent industrial accidents and terrorist attacks associated with chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive materials (CBRN-E). Finally, the COVID-19 crisis has demonstrated how societies have become more exposed and vulnerable to pandemic risks and has shown that existing global inequalities often exacerbate both the exposure and vulnerability of communities, infrastructures and economies.

Risk reduction of any kind of disasters is regulated by a number of international, EU and national and local policies and strategies covering various sectors and features such as awareness raising and communication, prevention, mitigation, preparedness, monitoring and detection, response, and recovery. Our societies nowadays have to deal with complex and transboundary crises within which a more systemic approach with strict interconnection between risk reduction and sustainable development is needed. Complex crises affect scientific, governance, policy and social areas and require inter-sectoral cooperation. A wide range of research and technological developments, as well as capacity-building and training projects, has supported the development and implementation of policies and strategies. However, integrating further research and innovation needs is often difficult owing to the complexity of the policy framework and the high level of fragmentation of research and capacity-building initiatives. In addition, enhanced cooperation and involvement of different sectors and actors are essential, including policy-makers, scientists, industry/Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), public administration (both at national and regional/local level), scientists, credit/financial institutions, practitioners, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), and Civil-Society Organisations (CSOs), notwithstanding the citizen dimension.

In this respect, the implementation of international policy frameworks (e.g. the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, the Paris Agreement), EU disaster risk management policies, in particular the Union Civil Protection Mechanism (UCPM), the European Green Deal policies such as the new EU Climate Adaptation Strategy, as well as the Security Union Strategy and the Counter-Terrorism Agenda (in particular for disasters linked to terrorism), requires cross-border and cross-sectoral cooperation an enhanced collaboration among different actors and strengthened knowledge covering the whole disaster management cycle, from prevention and preparedness to response and recovery (and learning). Understanding and exploiting the existing linkages and synergies among policy frameworks represents in this sense a global priority for future research and innovation actions in the field of natural hazards and man-made disasters.

For the response side, international cooperation on research and innovation with key partners has the potential to identify common solutions and increase the relevance of outcomes. As such, the International Forum to Advance First Responder Innovation (IFAFRI) and other Expert Networks involved in UN and/or NATO initiatives have provided overviews of existing gaps and are in the position to engage in cooperation with partners inside and outside the EU, the results of which can provide a valuable source for identifying most urgent needs concerning disaster management (e.g. knowledge, operational, organizational and technological) of relevance to international cooperation, in particular in support to the implementation of international policies such as the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.

Integrated approaches are essential to bridge different policy areas including civil protection, environment (including water, forestry, biodiversity / nature and Seveso-related policies), climate adaptation and mitigation, health and consumer protection, and security (in particular in the CBRN-E area). Common resilience pathways emerging from different scientific and operational domains still need to be explored in terms of their implementation potential. It also requires the strengthening of opportunities for transdisciplinary and transboundary joint efforts in order to organise and structure, a new strategy for the Horizon Europe Framework with all the relevant actors. In particular, the paradigm shift from managing “disasters” to managing “risks” and enhancing resilience needs to be supported by research and innovation actions, including innovative methods and solutions addressed to decision-makers, to support complementary education and training needed in all the domains of interventions (from public administration to private companies, citizens, NGOs), complementary procedural and organisational changes that have impact on the overall society as well as on technologies, processes, procedures and various tools in support of first and second responders operations. A huge body of knowledge and technology has been developed in the Seventh Framework Programme and Horizon 2020. This forms a strong legacy that will pave the way for future research in support of an enhanced resilience of European society to disasters of any kind, and previous findings will need to be fully recognised and used in forthcoming research developments.

Successful proposals under this Destination are encouraged to closely cooperate with other EC-chaired or funded initiatives in the relevant domains, such as the Networks of Practitioners projects funded under H2020 Secure Societies work programmes, the Knowledge Networks for Security Research & Innovation funded under the Horizon Europe Cluster 3 Work Programme, the Community of Users for Secure, Safe and Resilient Societies (future CERIS –Community of European Research and Innovation for Security) or other Knowledge Networks set-up by European Commission services (e.g. the Union Civil Protection Knowledge Network [[Article 13 of Decision No 1313/2013/EU on a Union Civil Protection Mechanism and subsequent amendments.]]).

Furthermore, in order to accomplish the objectives of this Destination, additional eligibility conditions have been defined with regard to the active involvement of relevant security practitioners or end-users.

Proposals involving earth observation are encouraged to primarily make use of Copernicus data, services and technologies.

Expected impacts:

Proposals for topics under this Destination should set out a credible pathway to contributing to the following expected impact of the Horizon Europe Strategic Plan 2021-2024:

“Losses from natural, accidental and man-made disasters are reduced through enhanced disaster risk reduction based on preventive actions, better societal preparedness and resilience and improved disaster risk management in a systemic way.”

More specifically, proposals should contribute to the achievement of one or more of the following impacts:

  • Enhanced understanding and improved knowledge and situational awareness of disaster-related risks by citizens, empowered to act, thus raising the resilience of European society;
  • More efficient cross-sectoral, cross-disciplines, cross-border coordination of the disaster risk management cycle (from prevention, preparedness to mitigation, response, and recovery) from international to local levels.

Enhanced sharing of knowledge and coordination regarding standardisation in the area of crisis management and CBRN-E.

Strengthened capacities of first responders in all operational phases related to any kind of (natural and man-made) disasters so that they can better prepare their operations, have access to enhanced situational awareness, have means to respond to events in a faster, safer and more efficient way, and may more effectively proceed with victim identification, triage and care.

Link Link to Programme
Call
Fast deployed mobile laboratories to enhance situational awareness for pandemics and emerging infectious diseases
Description of call
"Fast deployed mobile laboratories to enhance situational awareness for pandemics and emerging infectious diseases"

Expected Outcome:

Projects’ results are expected to contribute to the following outcomes:

  • Inventory and comparison of existing mobile laboratories, including heavy structures (both military and civilian) and light self-sustained systems, evaluation of quality management systems for maintenance, validation and testing.
  • New (mobile laboratory) solutions for the fast, reliable and unambiguous detection and identification of infectious agents, diagnostic tests, monitoring and mapping of contamination and enhanced field data communication to decision-making authorities.
  • Strategies to orchestrate mobile laboratory capacities in the EU, and improvements in the management of trained staff in Europe.

Scope:

The recent COVID-19 crisis has demonstrated that the ability to rapidly identify viruses on scene under a proper quality control/assurance regime is crucial to ensure adequate risk assessment, optimal risk management, and proper counter measures. Consequently, a determining factor is to bring a rapidly deployable diagnostic capacity as close as possible to the crisis area. Considering specific infectious diseases is of paramount importance as also is the possibility to develop scalable capacities for joint multinational intervention. In the EU Civil Protection and Health policy framework, mobile laboratories are increasingly becoming part of crisis responses and recovery plans, and the COVID-19 illustrated the needs for further developments in this area. Pandemics risk mitigation comprises prevention, preparedness and post-crisis management, including networking, regional and international partnership, consolidating, coordinating and optimizing existing capabilities in terms of expertise, training, technical assistance and equipment. There is a need for building synergies among existing initiatives to develop an EU capacity building by strengthening the national and regional capacities and staff training for mobile laboratories operation, long-term sustainability culture of safety and security.

In order to achieve the expected outcomes, international cooperation is encouraged, in particular with Japan in the framework of the EU-Japan collaboration on pandemics.

Where possible and relevant, synergy-building and clustering initiatives with successful proposals in the same area should be considered, including the organisation of international conferences in close coordination with the Community for European Research and Innovation for Security (CERIS) activities and/or other international events.

Link Link to Call
Thematic Focus Research & Innovation, Technology Transfer & Exchange, Capacity Building, Cooperation Networks, Institutional Cooperation, Clustering, Development Cooperation, Economic Cooperation, Digitisation, ICT, Telecommunication, Justice, Safety & Security, Disaster Prevention, Resiliance, Risk Management, Administration & Governance, Health, Social Affairs, Sports
Funding area EU Member States
Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs)
Origin of Applicant EU Member States
Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs)
Eligible applicants Research Institution, International Organization, Public Services, University, Federal State / Region / City / Municipality / Local Authority, National Government, Small and Medium Sized Enterprises, SMEs (between 10 and 249 employees), NGO / NPO, Enterprise (more than 250 employees or not defined), Lobby Group / Professional Association / Trade Union, Education and Training Centres
Applicant details

eligible non-EU countries:

  • countries associated to Horizon Europe
At the date of the publication of the work programme, there are no countries associated to Horizon Europe. Considering the Union’s interest to retain, in principle, relations with the countries associated to Horizon 2020, most third countries associated to Horizon 2020 are expected to be associated to Horizon Europe with an intention to secure uninterrupted continuity between Horizon 2020 and Horizon Europe. In addition, other third countries can also become associated to Horizon Europe during the programme. For the purposes of the eligibility conditions, applicants established in Horizon 2020 Associated Countries or in other third countries negotiating association to Horizon Europe will be treated as entities established in an Associated Country, if the Horizon Europe association agreement with the third country concerned applies at the time of signature of the grant agreement.

  • low-and middle-income countries

Legal entities which are established in countries not listed above will be eligible for funding if provided for in the specific call conditions, or if their participation is considered essential for implementing the action by the granting authority.

Specific cases:

  • Affiliated entities - Affiliated entities are eligible for funding if they are established in one of the countries listed above.
  • EU bodies - Legal entities created under EU law may also be eligible to receive funding, unless their basic act states otherwise.
  • International organisations - International European research organisations are eligible to receive funding. Unless their participation is considered essential for implementing the action by the granting authority, other international organisations are not eligible to receive funding. International organisations with headquarters in a Member State or Associated Country are eligible to receive funding for ‘Training and mobility’actions and when provided for in the specific call conditions.
Project Partner Yes
Project Partner Details

Unless otherwise provided for in the specific call conditions , legal entities forming a consortium are eligible to participate in actions provided that the consortium includes:

  • at least one independent legal entity established in a Member State;and
  • at least two other independent legal entities, each established in different Member States or Associated Countries.
Call opens 30.06.2021
Call closes 23.11.2021
Further info

Proposal page limits and layout:

The application form will have two parts:

  • Part A to be filled in directly online  (administrative information, summarised budget, call-specific questions, etc.)
  • Part B to be downloaded from the Portal submission system, completed and re-uploaded as a PDF in the system

Page limit - Part B: 45 pages

Type of Funding Grants
Financial details
Expected EU contribution per projectThe Commission estimates that an EU contribution of around EUR 4.00 million would allow these outcomes to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of a proposal requesting different amounts.
Indicative budgetThe total indicative budget for the topic is EUR 8.00 million.
Typ of ActionInnovation Actions (IA)
Funding rate70% (except for non-profit legal entities, where a rate of up to 100% applies)

This topic requires the active involvement, as beneficiaries, of at least 3 first responders’ organisations or agencies and representatives of local or regional authorities in charge of managing sanitary crises from at least 3 different EU Member States or Associated countries. For these participants, applicants must fill in the table “Eligibility information about practitioners” in the application form with all the requested information, following the template provided in the submission IT tool.

Activities are expected to achieve TRL 6-8 by the end of the project.
Submission Proposals must be submitted electronically via the Funding & Tenders Portal Electronic Submission System. Paper submissions are NOTpossible.

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