Radboud University

Horizon Europe Stories – Prof. Toon Cillessen, director of Research at Radboud Behavioural Science Institute on the importance of international connections offered within Horizon Europe for Institute’s research aspirations and impact.

Date of news: 8 December 2021

Within the Radboud University Support Programme EU, a joint initiative of grant advisors from the University and Radboudumc, we are promoting biweekly Horizon Europe stories from researchers, directors and grant support experts who benefitted from the Programme and can share their experience and tips with you.

Today’s story is by Prof. Toon Cillessen, director of Research at Radboud Behavioural Science Institute (BSI), as thanks to the support of BSI management, a number of tailored events within the Programme were specifically organised for BSI researchers.

  • Do you think participation in Horizon Europe is important both for BSI as an institute and for individual researchers/research groups? Why?

Participation in HE is very important for BSI as well as for individual researchers and research groups in BSI. BSI aspires to be among the leading research institutes in Europe for fundamental and applied behavioural science. Therefore, international connections with Europe are very valuable. In fact, BSI researchers already are very well connected internationally in Europe, so there are already many options to build in our existing networks. Furthermore, it is our hope that our work has relevance for society. Many of the problems address by BSI researchers have societal applications and implications in the areas of education and health, for example. It is important and rewarding to hopefully be able to contribute to solutions for some of Europe’s challenges. We feel an obligation to make efforts to do so.

  • How did EU Support Programme help BSI researchers prepare for Horizon Europe? Have you noticed any changes in attitude of researchers towards potential applications compared to previous H2020 rounds?

So far, the EU Support Program has truly been very helpful. We have noticed a large growth and development in the level of support that the university is able to give to researchers who are applying for EU grants. This also changes the attitude of researches. Applying for EU grants can be overwhelming and complex. As the process becomes clearer and more structured, researchers are becoming more motivated and excited about the opportunities when they begin to feel that applications are possible and realistic and have a chance of success.

  • What tips would you give to other institutes in view of available EU funding opportunities and available grant support at Radboud?

Invite EU Support to give workshops. Organize researchers in small groups, don’t let them tackle this alone. EU grants are complex and researchers need to work together in team science to do this. Ask researchers to list the many European connections they already have – there are probably more than they realize and this can be a good starting for collaborative grants. A good option may to be create pairs – a senior researcher together with a junior researcher could forms successful dyads in these efforts. Senior scholars often lack the time to carry a large international application on their own, but they do have the reputation and the networks. Junior scholars do not have the latter, but may be more able to be involved in planning and organization and have feasible and creative ideas for new research directions.

Do you need help with applying for EU funding? Contact us: collaborate@ru.nl.