HORIZON BLOG: European R&D policy newsbytes (Archived_01)

21 Feb 2023 | Live Blog

Horizon Europe is well underway, but the world of European R&D policy goes well beyond the confines of the €95.5 billion R&D programme. EU climate, digital, agriculture and regional policies all have significant research and innovation components. National governments often come up with new R&D policies, decide to fund new research avenues, and set up international cooperation deals. This blog aims to keep you informed on all of that and more.

If you have any tips, please email them at [email protected].

You can read the full archive of this blog here.


Dutch medical universities say the European Commission should secure a “stable budget for health priorities” in Horizon Europe for the coming years.

According to a paper by the Netherlands Federation of University Medical Centers (NFU) annual debates around repurposing Horizon Europe money from one initiative to another should be avoided for the sake of predictability.

The NFU has also proposed a wide range of topics for health research, including an increased focus on mental health research.

The paper was submitted to the European Commission for its public consultation on the EU’s research framework programme. The consultation is set to close this week on 23 February. You can submit your feedback here.


Funding calls under Pillar 2 of Horizon Europe are now open to researchers and organisations from New Zealand.

This is possible under a transitional arrangement between New Zealand and the European Commission until the formal association agreement is approved by Wellington. The arrangement makes New Zealand one of the first countries outside Europe eligible to participate in HorizonEurope.

The association agreement is expected to be signed later this year.


The European Commission has opened a call for expressions of interest to bring together experts on China in order to inform EU policymaking. 

The Commission plans to engage up to 15 fellows at a time. The main areas of expertise it wants are: politics, geopolitics, security and/or history; human and/or social sciences; economics and/or finance; digital and/or innovation; environment, climate and/or life sciences. 

The fellows will be recruited for periods ranging from 6 to 12 months, and will bring together "academics from world-class think tanks and universities". 

For more information, interested parties can contact IDEA, the Commission's in-house advisory body. 

The European Parliament this week officially set its negotiating position on the EU Chips Act, giving way to negotiations with member states and the European Commission on the final details of the bill.

The draft bill is aimed at bolstering a home-grown semiconductors industry by boosting production and innovation, and setting up emergency measures against shortages.

It comes in two sets of documents: the Chips Act itself and a regulation for a public-private chips partnerships under the Horizon Europe research programme. The Parliament’s amendments focus on creating a network of centres to bolster skills and projects aiming to boost the security of supply.

When it comes to the partnership, the Parliament is set to fight for serious investment in the research programme. “Europe’s partners and competitors are also investing heavily in their semiconductor facilities, skills and innovation. We may not have the enormous financial firepower of the US, but the budget offered by the Commission and Council needs to reflect the seriousness of the challenge, said Eva Maydell, rapporteur for the file.

The UK’s Science and Technology Facilities Council, a government agency, has signed a new partnership with Singapore Space and Technology Limited, a non-governmental organisation, to help boost growth in space technology start-ups. 

The agreement will give the partners greater access to venture capital ecosystems in their respective markets, provide reciprocal access to test facilities, research infrastructures and laboratories and also give Singapore-based start-ups access to the European Space Agency network. 

Paul Vernon, executive director for business and innovation at STFC, said:

“There has never been a more exciting time for a business to get involved in the space industry and the opportunities it can bring. I look forward to our continued partnership with Singapore Space and Technology Limited as we support our space tech start-ups in their mission to innovate, flourish and succeed in global markets.”

Denmark is set to give its renewable hydrogen industry a boost after the European Commission approved a new €170 million subsidy scheme.

The scheme will support the construction of up to 100-200 MW of electrolysis capacity, enabling to turn water into hydrogen to be used as fuel and in chemical processes.

The bid for direct grants will be open to all companies planning to construct new electrolysers in Denmark.

The public consultation for the large-scale evaluation of EU’s research framework is set to close in one week, on 23 February.

All interested members of the R&I community are invited to submit their feedback on the previous Horizon 2020 research framework, the first half of the current Horizon Europe programme, and feed into the discussion on the strategic plan for the second half of Horizon Europe.

You can submit your feedback here.

The European Commission has announced the 1,235 winners of the latest €257 million Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) round of post-doctoral grants.

Around a thousand of the selected researchers will work at top universities, research centres and companies in the EU and Horizon Europe associated countries. A further 142 will carry out research in other parts of the world, mostly the United States, Switzerland, Canada and Australia.

Under a separate ERA Fellowships scheme, 58 additional fellowships will go to researchers in low research and innovation performing countries in the EU and associated countries, mostly Czech Republic, Portugal, Slovenia, and Greece.

The success rate for this latest call stood at 17.5% and women made up 43% of the awardees.

One of the six poloidal field coils that circle the tokamak at the Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) has arrived at the construction site of the nuclear fusion reactor in France after nearly four-month journey from Sankt Petersburg.

The arrival of the 160-tonne magnet at the construction site marked a significant milestone for the ITER project. All seven Members have now delivered at least one of the major components they are responsible for.

In the wake of the war in Ukraine, western governments have suspended ongoing science projects with Russia, but ITER and other joint projects around the International Space Station are still ongoing.

The Guild of European research-intensive universities calls on the EU to increase investment in fundamental research in computer sciences.

In a position paper published today, The Guild says additional investment in computer sciences will boost EU’s competitiveness in artificial intelligence (AI) and digital research.

Jan Palmowski, secretary-general of The Guild called on the EU and national governments to invest more in AI-research. He warned that recent advances by US tech giants Microsoft and Google demonstrate how artificial intelligence is set to dominate our lives and economies. Both companies have launched new online search services that used AI-trained chatbots to answer queries and solve problems.

“If we want our digital future to be determined not by the strategies of private companies but by the public interest and the values Europeans hold dear, we must invest in research,” said Palmowski.

The paper was submitted to the European Commission, along with other opinions on health research, social sciences and EU research missions. The Commission is in the thick of gathering feedback on how its research and innovation programme is performing.

Research organisations, funders, universities and companies have until 22 February to submit opinions.

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