Widening Participation is an important component of Horizon2020 that encourages new EU member states to take part in the programme. Connection with the smart specialisation strategies of these new members is highly desirable in order to create strategic partnerships within the EU. This boosts the EU's role as a knowledge economy on the world stage.
On Wednesday 15 October 2015, the VSNU (Association of Universities in the Netherlands) and Neth-ER organised the networking event “Excellence without Borders” in Brussels. The goal of the event was to realise sustainable and strategic partnerships in the field of research between the Netherlands and countries in Central and Eastern Europe. This will eventually enable better use to be made of the Widening Participation instruments (WIDESPREAD) within Horizon2020.
The event was well attended, with participants from the Netherlands, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, Ukraine, and Romania, amongst others.
In November 2016, a follow-up meeting will be held in Brussels by the Slovakian EU-presidency, focusing on the participation of Widespread countries in Horizon2020.