Young researchers working in future and emerging technologies (FET) are critical to the success of strategically important areas of science and technology in Europe. However, to realise their full potential as individuals and as a collective resource, they need to optimise their capacity and capability to generate and realise breakthrough ideas and research. The aim of the EYE project is to build a lasting European community of high potential young researchers (YRs) that are able to generate radical new ideas and build research collaborations in interdisciplinary areas, EYE will help them to develop their research potential and their ability to develop new curricula for FET. Specifically, EYE focuses on (a) S&T ideas of higher risk nature that can be generated through ideation and brainstorming and (b) collaboration between YRs across various disciplines and from different parts of Europe, and (c) on the YRs themselves, by developing their leadership potential through networking and training in the specific methods used in European collaborative projects.
EYE will achieve its goal by implementing an integrated programme of complementary regional and European events:
- “Lab Surfing” workshops in 6 regions of Europe that inform YRs about the most advanced FET research across various disciplines, brainstorm future paradigms and enhance YRs’ scientific administration skills;
- Europe-wide “Blue Sky” Conferences for YRs in 38 countries in Europe (EU members states and selected countries associated with FP7) to enable further consolidation of ideas at a European level and wider networking with academia, industry and policy makers;
- “Science Incubator” Summer Schools to assist selected YRs in bringing their ideas to a position where they might form the basis of future FET project proposals. EYE will conduct two rounds of these events over 2 years in order to reach a wider group of YRs in Europe and to ensure the sustainability of the EYE action after the end of the project.
The EYE activities are supported with an online platform (NOVA-Networking for Outstanding Visionaries & Academics) which serves as an operational tool to prepare the events and as a professional platform for ideation, networking, collaboration and discussion amongst YRs.
The project’s thematic scope is broadly defined by 9 multidisciplinary research areas identified in the recent public consultation on future FET, as well as Horizon 2020 societal challenges. In particular, EYE will seek areas where Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) can bring new interdisciplinary research opportunities and will support both curiosity- and agenda-driven research. The project brings together a broad representation of the multidisciplinary research community in Europe with 11 participants from 9 countries including 7 universities, 2 strong research institutions, and 2 SMEs.