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 European Commission is hosting an online info session to present and discuss the findings of a study launched in the context of Action 2 of the European Research Area (ERA) Policy Agenda.  

The study looks into the effects of the EU copyright framework on research and identifies policy recommendations. 

The authors will present the findings, including potential interventions in EU copyright law, and the impact of EU data and digital legislation on research. 

The event will take place on 26 February. Registration details are available here.


EU ambassadors this week agreed on the European Council’s partial negotiating mandate on the proposed Strategic Technologies for Europe Platform (STEP).

STEP aims to boost manufacturing capacity for critical digital, net-zero and biotechnologies by redirecting funds from existing programmes and providing additional funding. The objective is to bolster Europe’s technological sovereignty and resilience in fields including artificial intelligence, renewable energy, and pharmaceuticals.

The reason the negotiating mandate is only “partial” is that additional financing for STEP will depend on the outcome of the mid-term revision of the EU’s multiannual financial framework for the remainder of the 2021 - 2027 period, which has been held up due to political blockages. 

The idea of STEP began as a new European Sovereignty Fund to compete with the US Inflation Reduction Act but Commission was eventually forced to water this down and settle for implementing STEP by directing funds through existing programmes, such as Horizon Europe, InvestEU, the European defence Fund, etc. 

MEPs have called for additional €3 billion to add to the proposed €10 billion budget for STEP.


Massimo Busuoli, director of NTNU Brussels Office, has begun his chairmanship of the Universities Informal Liaison Office Network (UnILiON) for the 2024 calendar year. 

UnILiON is a network of over 50 Brussels-based liaison offices representing over 150 European and Japanese universities. 

“In the role of new chair for the year 2024 I am eager to pro-actively contribute to the further development of the network, enhancing its added value for its members,” Busuoli said.


The European University Association has published its vision of how universities and European policymakers can work together to create a stronger higher education sector during the next five-year term of European institutions, which will begin this year following June elections. 

The association has eight key messages for European policymakers to make this vision a reality, including the idea of introducing a ‘university check’ before developing EU legislation. 

“I call on European policy makers to seize the next years as an opportunity to foster a long-term vision and governance for European university policies, provide sufficient and predictable funding and investment, and ensure rules that enable rather than restrict - with due consideration for universities’ institutional autonomy,” said Josep Garrell, president of the EUA.

The association also published a “what if” analysis that explores possible ways in which Europe’s universities could cooperate with partners in and out of Europe, depending on various political, social and economic factors. 

You can read the EUA’s full paper here.


EU-LIFE, an alliance of leading research centres in life sciences, has put forward 10 guiding principals for the next framework programme due to begin in 2028. 

The alliance is calling for FP10 to be ambitious and have a budget to match the EU’s research needs. It also wants to avoid overcomplicating the programme, to increase the budget of the European Research Council (ERC), invest in bottom-up, less politically driven topics and increase support for research institutions across the EU in a fair manner. 

You can read the group’s full statement here including the 10 guiding principles.


The European Association of Research and Technology Organisations (EARTO) calls on the European Commission to strike the right balance between international collaboration and knowledge protection.

In a position paper published today, EARTO says a new legislation on research security should take into account the freedom of research and technology organisations to engage in international cooperation.

In the paper, EARTO also admits most science organisations are “insufficiently aware of the risks of unbalanced collaborations” and would need clear guidelines on how to handle classified information in international research projects.

The paper is available here.


The European Association of Research and Technology Organisations (EARTO) has published a series of recommendations regarding lump-sum funding in Horizon Europe, based on the experiences of its members, as the percentage of lump-sum grants continues to grow.

The new Horizon dashboard, which shows average personnel costs funded by Horizon Europe grants to help experts in the evaluation of lump sum proposals, “gives a flawed picture of the reality of personnel costs”, according to EARTO.

This should “remain an orientational tool rather than being used as a decision-making tool cutting any grant negotiation,” it said, as members report requests for budget cuts during the evaluation process. Read more in EARTO’s position paper.


Europe needs a new paradigm in higher education that integrates research, innovation, entrepreneurship, and education to drive tangible transformation in the real economy and broader society, according to a paper published last week by the European Commission’s high level group on the economic and societal impact of research and innovation ESIR.

The report emphasises the need for a comprehensive transformation of education to equip individuals with the skills and knowledge necessary to ensure universities and research institutions can successfully tackle the challenges posed by the “poly-crisis” of pandemics, climate change and war.

The report is available here.


The European Commission has published a call for 'Alliances for Innovation', which will close on 7 March 2024. 

Alliances for Innovation aim to strengthen Europe’s innovation capacity by boosting cooperation and flow of knowledge among higher education, vocational education and training, research and the private sector.

Read more about the application process here.


The European Commission has announced the establishment of two new European Research Infrastructures Consortia (ERICs).

LOFAR, a consortium of research facilities located in several countries plans to re-invigorate low-frequency radio astronomy. The LOFAR ERIC, headquartered in Dwingeloo, the Netherlands, will provide transparent access to a wide range of science research services for the full European community. The other founding members are Bulgaria, Germany, Ireland, Italy and Poland.

INFRAFRONTIER ERIC is headquartered in Munich, Germany and will coordinate access to services and resources for the research of gene function in health and disease, promoting studies that lead to breakthrough discoveries in important diseases, such as cancer or rare diseases. The other Founding Members are Czech Republic, Finland, France, Greece and Sweden.


Subscribe to Live Blog Entries