HORIZON BLOG: European R&D policy newsbytes (Archived_03)

08 Feb 2024 | 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.


The Young European Research Universities Network (YERUN) ahs published a list of three policy steps needed to improve careers in academia, in response to a call for evidence by teh European Commisison.  

The three steps are: 

  • Step 1: Celebrating diversity of contributions and creating paths for talent to grow 

  • Step 2: Creating adequate support systems for continuous skills development 

  • Step 3: Empowering universities with adequate framework conditions to support diverse career developments. 

Read the full paper here


The Joint European Torus (JET), the EU-funded large infrastructure located in the UK, has demonstrated the ability to reliably generate fusion energy whilst simultaneously setting a world record in energy output.

After running since 1983, JET has reached the end of its lifespan and is due to be decommissioned, but in a swansong on what it has achieved, it was reported that in the final deuterium-tritium experiments (DTE3), high fusion power was consistently produced for 5 seconds, resulting in a ground-breaking record of 69 megajoules using a mere 0.2 milligrams of fuel.

Fernanda Rimini, JET senior exploitation manager, said, “We can reliably create fusion plasmas using the same fuel mixture to be used by commercial fusion energy powerplants, showcasing the advanced expertise developed over time.”

Ambrogio Fasoli, programme manager at EUROfusion, which oversees the EU’s Euratom programme said, “Our successful demonstration of operational scenarios for future fusion machines like ITER and DEMO, validated by the new energy record, instil greater confidence in the development of fusion energy. Beyond setting a new record, we achieved things we’ve never done before and deepened our understanding of fusion physics.” 

Over 300 scientists and engineers from EUROfusion – a consortium of researchers across Europe, contributed to the landmark experiments at the UK Atomic Energy Authority site in Oxford.


The European Parliament has adopted its position on the Commission’s proposal on New Genomic Techniques (NGTs), which are more targeted and precise than first-generation genetically modified organisms (GMOs), but are currently subject to the same restrictive rules.

MEPs agreed with the proposal to split NGTs into two different categories. NGT plants which are equivalent to plants which could be obtained by conventional breeding would be exempted from the requirements of the GMO legislation.

MEPs also voted to ban patents for all NGT plants, plant material and processes.

“I hope member states will soon adopt their position so we can adopt the new rules before the European elections and give the farmers the tools they need for the green transition,” said rapporteur Jessica Polfjärd MEP.

“The successful integration of new genomic techniques into farming practices will not only drive economic growth but also pave the way for a more sustainable and resilient agricultural sector,” said Garlich von Essen, secretary general of industry association Euroseeds.


The Chips for Europe initiative moves forward with a second round of funding calls worth €216 million under the Chips Joint Undertaking (Chips JU), the European Commission has announced today. 

The new calls are aimed at giving a boost to the European semiconductor industry. The goal is to move technologies from the lab to manufacturing faster, as the EU is scrambling to secure a domestic development and production of advanced microelectronics and semiconductors.  

The calls target consortia organised around EU companies that are active in these fields. More details about deadlines and how to apply are available here.  


ERA-LEARN has published its report from the second Partnership Stakeholder Forum, which it organised with the European Commission in Brussels on 5-6 December 2023.

The report discusses the future of the EU’s research partnerships, in light of the ongoing interim evaluation of Horizon Europe, and with a view to the next framework programme for research (FP10).

“After an extended period of getting started and exploration that lasted more than 10 years, Partnerships need now to enter a maturity phase,” it states. “Partnerships need to act faster in FP10 and be less bureaucratic.”

Read the full report here.


The European Association of Research and Technology Organisations (EARTO) has published feedback for the European Commission and member states ahead of the next European Research Area (ERA) policy agenda for 2025-2027.

EARTO highlighted a lack of consultation in some member states, ERA actions which duplicate activities already running within Horizon Europe, and actions which are “too academic-focused”.

It is calling on member states and the Commission to rebalance its support between basic research, technology maturation, and scale-up and deployment, and to focus on a more limited set of actions.

The next ERA policy agenda should also feature a “concrete roadmap to achieve the 3% EU GDP R&D investment target”, EARTO says.


Research communities must take a stand against “right-wing populism […] antisemitism and remigration fantasies,” Katja Becker, president of the German Research Foundation (DFG), has said.

Becker was speaking ahead of a meeting of the Committee of Experts to discuss draft proposals for new Clusters of Excellence submitted by higher education institutions.

She highlighted the significant number of international researchers currently working on projects funded under Germany’s Excellence Strategy. They contribute to “the increasing competitiveness of German research”, and their backgrounds “positively impact our society and coexistence in a climate of openness and tolerance”.

“All of this will be jeopardised in an irresponsible and intolerable manner if, as in recent weeks, right-wing populism and anti-democratic tendencies increase,” Becker said.


The EU and Canada’s new digital partnership, signed in November last year, kicked into gear this week with a meeting between EU internal market commissioner Thierry Breton and Canada’s innovation minister François-Philippe Champagne on Thursday. 

The partnership will focus on research collaboration in the fields of artificial intelligence, quantum science, semiconductors and various elements of cyber security. These topics will be discussed further at a digital dialogue meeting of officials in February. 

The two sides will also get together for a ministerial-level Digital Partnership Council meeting this spring to discuss progress in the partnership and plan future steps. 

Breton’s online meeting with Champagne comes a day after the UK and Canada signed two memorandums of understanding on strengthening collaboration in science and AI.


An independent review of five Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs), run by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology, has reported generally positive reviews.  

The review showed how the KICs have contributed to EU sustainability goals, supported innovation ecosystems in Europe and introduced gender-sensitive measures. By way of improvements, the independent consultants recommended some of the KICs review how revenue is generated, review options to retain and attract new partners and to work on making sure their calls remain open.  

The EIT was launched in 2008, initially with three KICs, which were supposed to become self-sufficient financially. There are now nine KICs in total, only three have announced clear paths towards financial sustainability: EIT Digital, Climate KIC and EIT InnoEnergy. The others are also required to reach financial sustainability in the future.

The independent review looked into EIT Digital, Climate KIC, EIT InnoEnergy, EIT Manufacturing and EIT Urban Mobility.


The UK and Canada have signed two memorandums of understanding to strengthen collaboration in science and artificial intelligence.  

The first MOU expands on an existing agreement to collaborate on technologically strategic areas such as quantum, semiconductors, clean energy, etc. There will be an added focus on science diplomacy where both countries will discuss the regulation of new technologies and international standards, among other areas.  

The second MOU is orientated specifically towards AI compute and deepening the two countries’ cross-border collaboration on related areas of research and development.  

“Today’s agreements deepen that relationship even further, as we commit to working side by side to address the defining technological challenges of our generation,” UK secretary of state for Science, Innovation and Technology, Michelle Donelan, said.  

The first MOU between the countries, signed in 2017, generated  nearly $150 million in joint research projects. 


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