The EPN Consulting Newsletter - 066 - February 2016
Dear Colleague,

Next week there will be the 1st cut-off date of the H2020 SME Instrument 2016 (Phase 1). The one regarding Phase 2 occurred on 03 Feb 2016 to which 553 proposals were submitted .
Competition in this funding scheme is very hard but also the quality of submitted proposals is often not good enough.

The SME Instrument exceptionally allows SMEs to participate alone (a consortium is not mandatory) and many times they write proposals on their own convinced of saving money. The results are often disappointing in many ways: rules on how to use the proposal template are not followed, too little attention on commercial aspects of the proposed solution, superficial analyses of market competition and, for non-English-native applicants, very often happens that proposals are written in such a poor English that comprehension of the product/solution presented becomes a real challenge.

Last year EPN Consulting launched a crowdfunding campaign to fund a contest aiming to choose the 5 best SMEs ideas received to convert into quality proposals to submit to the SME Instrument in order to help those worthy and ambitious SMEs that couldn't afford pay for professional assistance in this field. Crowdfunders were then rewarded in case of successful results or refunded.

The outcome of this campaign was surprising: no one actively funded this campaign, although it was advertised - and read - on social media and EPN Consulting Newsletters regularly for months.
This was certainly an interesting aspect to assess: people are keen on funding tangible things such as products/objects (e.g. new kind of earphones) but not if intangible activities such as professional services/consultancy are involved.

As a matter of facts, consultancy is still today seen as a service that many reckon to do without, but the reality is that consultants are (or at least should be) those ones who know more of a discipline/field than the rest of us and for this reason should be hired to save time & money. Many companies yet continue to believe they are able to do some activities (out of their field of expertise) on their own, in the evenings or weekends, in a way that in the end doesn't reward.

It is still applicable the saying: "If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur" (Red Adair, 1915-2004).

Kind Regards,

EPN Consulting Ltd.
Founder, CEO

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Horizon 2020 & other calls close to deadline

18 Feb 2016 - Deadline to submit proposals to the EUROSTARS call - 5th cut-off date
19 Feb 2016 - Deadline to submit proposals to the EUROGIA 2020 call
24 Feb 2016 - Deadline to submit proposals to the H2020 SME Instrument 2016 - Phase 1
01 Mar 2016 - Deadline to submit proposals to the H2020-FETFLAG-01-2016 call (Partnering Environment for FET Flagship)
03 Mar 2016 - Deadline to submit proposals to the H2020-COMPET-2016 calls (Competitiveness of European Space Sector: Technology and Science)
03 Mar 2016 - Deadline to submit proposals to the H2020-EO-2016 calls (Earth Observation)
08 Mar 2016 - Deadline of No. 26 calls under Horizon2020

Go to the Events Section
The UK moves towards contactless and NFC ticketing across its Public Transport Network

12 Jan 2016 - Passengers across the UK may soon be able to use standard contactless cards and NFC phones to pay for their bus and train journeys under a new national framework developed by the UK Cards Association in collaboration with public transport operators.

"A further tranche of funding has now been provided by the rail operators for a joint project between the card and rail industry exploring how contactless cards and devices could be associated with long distance train tickets or season tickets, so passengers no longer have to print out tickets", the association says.

 Read more
Driverless Car Manufacturers enter a Brave New World

14 Jan 2016 - Over the past century, the global automotive industry has more or less been operating on cruise control. Despite the highly competitive nature of its business, innovation within the establishment has always seemed to crawl at a snail's pace - until about 10 years ago.

Now, Detroit auto giants are bending over backwards to introduce newer and flashier features on all models. Japanese and European carmakers are hiring IT experts at break-neck speed, investing heavily in top-secret testing facilities and pumping billions into research and development. Their goal is one in the same: to rollout the globe's first commercially successful autonomous vehicle - before those pesky newcomers from Silicon Valley put them all out of business.

 Read more
EU Research funding boosts Scientific Excellence and Competitiveness

25 Jan 2016 - Investment in Research & Innovation from the EU budget between 2007 and 2013 has greatly improved scientific excellence in Europe and strengthened its competitiveness by improving industry's capacity to innovate.
These are some of the main findings of the Evaluation of EU's 7th Framework Programme (FP7).

The ex-post evaluation of FP7, the EU research funding programme for 2007-2013, was conducted by an independent group of high-level experts which analysed the economic and societal impact of the programme. On this basis, the Commission has also drawn recommendations to be integrated into Horizon 2020, the current EU Research & Innovation funding programme.

Read more
Quality of Life in European Cities in 2015

29 Jan 2016 - The Flash Eurobarometer, "Quality of life in European cities" was conducted at the request of the Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy to get a snapshot of people's opinions on a range of urban issues.
Earlier surveys were conducted in 2004, 2006, 2009 and 2012.

The survey was conducted in a total of 79 European cities. In four of these, an additional sample provided extra data, which allowed analysis of the perception of quality of life in "Greater Paris", "Greater Lisbon", "Greater Athens" and "Greater Manchester".

 Read more
What 2,000-year-old Infrastructure tells us about Urban Planning

02 Feb 2016 - The cities of the Roman Empire were studded with great and salubrious public works: stadia and parks, aqueducts and fountains, latrines and sewers.
By A.D. 400, Rome could count 11 magnificent imperial baths, decorated with mosaics, marble and sculpture, and more than 800 smaller spa complexes. The ruins of those facilities have long impressed on us a view of Rome as a civilization of elevated health and hygiene.
The reality is...

Read more
The AI in Google's Self-Driving Cars now qualifies as Legal Driver

10 Feb 2016 - A car's legal driver doesn't always have to be human, according to the U.S. vehicle safety regulators, it can also be Artificial Intelligence (AI).
The National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration told Google that the AI system that controls its self-driving car can be considered a driver under federal law.

The legal interpretation by federal regulators was made in response to a Nov 2015 petition from Chris Urmson, the director of Google's self-driving car project. This is a critical first step for Google towards commercializing self-driving cars-a goal it wants to meet by 2020.

 Read more
Upcoming Professional Events in Europe

22-25 Feb 2016 - Barcelona (ES) - ICT - MOBILE WORLD CONGRESS 2016
01-03 Mar 2016 - Karlsruhe (DE) - TRA - IT-TRANS 2016 - IT Solutions for Public Transport
02-03 Mar 2016 - Brussels (BE) - ITS+LEG+TRA - ROAD USER CHARGING Conference 2016
02-03 Mar 2016 - Graz (AT) - ENV+TRA - URBAN FUTURE Global Conference - Save the World, Change Cities, Know How
03 Mar 2016 - London (UK) - TRA - NEXT STEPS FOR THE RAIL NETWORK IN ENGLAND - Strategic Priorities, High-Speed Rail and Future of Network Rail
07-09 Mar 2016 - London (UK) - ICT - GARTNER CIO LEADERSHIP FORUM
08-10 Mar 2016 - London (UK) - ARD+CIV - ECOBUILD 2016 
14-18 Mar 2016 - Hannover (DE) - ICT - CeBIT 2016

Go to the Events Section
The Website of the Month:
Environmental Performance Index (EPI)

The 2016 Environmental Performance Index provides a global view of environmental performance and country by country metrics to inform decision-makers on high-priority environmental issues in two areas: protection of human health and protection of ecosystems.

Launched at the World Economic Forum, the EPI is in its 15th year and more relevant than ever to achieving the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals and carrying out the recent international climate change agreement.

Go to the Website of the Month
The EPN Consulting Galaxy

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EPN Consulting
Based in London. Engaged with Europe.