TORCH Research and Innovation project

TORCH Research and Innovation Project

In 2021, the CHARM-EU Alliance secured a grant for its research and innovation strategy project in a call launched under the umbrella of the Horizon 2020 program (Science with and for Society). The TORCH project was created with the aim of developing a common Research and Innovation (R&I) agenda for the Alliance’s five founding research universities. The work undertaken in TORCH covers the definition of cross cutting principles, the development of joint research plans and the assessment of good practices in fields such as collaborations with the civil and corporate sectors, open science and citizen science.

The already concluded work packages of TORCH have dealt with the Cross Cutting Principles identified as the basis of future collaboration, created a transdisciplinary SDG-driven Common Science Agenda, investigated how to strengthen Cooperation between Universities and Enterprises, discovered Comprehensive Open Science Practices within the partner institutions and explored the possibilities of the co-creation of research and innovation with societal stakeholders through Public Engagement. The results of the work carried out during the first 18 month of the project are accessible here.

Best practices and tangible progress regarding several different R&I areas within TORCH were highlighted in the progress report on alliance’s R&I projects published by the European Research Executive Agency (REA). TORCH’s work in connection with mainstreaming Open Science (coordinated by ELTE) was among the areas highlighted alongside the efforts for engaging non-academic actors, developing a common R&I agenda and promoting gender equality. You can access the full report here.

One of the tasks of TORCH is to identify the potential areas for joint research by the partner universities and to create research communities (Knowledge Creating Teams) that develop research and innovation project plans on the basis of the identified strengths of the partners. As a result of this work, six transdisciplinary research challenge were developed related to the area of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. These research challenges may receive support as independent projects in the following year.

The results of the scoping activities carried out in the first half of the project helped TORCH and the CHARM-EU leadership to outline common mid- and long-term strategic goals for the Alliance and the experts working on establishing Common Policies and Strategies (WP8) identified five priority areas. These strategic goals and priorities serve as the basis of the piloting activities that the working group on Action Plans and Pilots, led by ELTE, is carrying out in 2023.

Actions include piloting Open Science and Citizen Science trainings, working on a joint support strategy for common research projects, building a virtual network of Technology Transfer Offices, organizing the first CHARM-EU Research & Innovation Days, working on Enhanced Equality Data as well as designing an Open Science rewards and recognition toolbox. As part of piloting this toolbox, the Alliance has established the CHARM-EU Open Science Recognition Award in order to recognize the contributions of individuals who have demonstrated a strong commitment to Open Science. Submissions are open to all teachers and researchers from CHARM-EU partner universities until 15 September 2023.

For more information about TORCH, please visit the project’s website.