HORIZON BLOG: European R&D policy newsbytes

30 Nov 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.


Over 1.2 million students, professors and auxiliary education staff benefited from the EU’s higher education mobility programme Erasmus+ in 2022, the new annual report shows. It brings the total number of participants to 13.7 million since the programme was launched in 1987. 

The past year marked a bounceback from the COVID-impacted years in 2020 and 2021 when fewer mobilities could take place. In 2020, there were 60% fewer than the average between 2016 and 2019. Prior to the pandemic, around 1 million mobilities were funded each year. 

The Erasmus+ budget for 2021-2027 is nearly double than during the previous seven-year period at over €26.2 billion. Just over €4 billion was spent in 2022, an increase of 38% on the previous year.


Normund Popens is to take over as deputy director-general in charge of ‘Innovation, Digital Education, and International Cooperation’ and also Culture, Creativity and Sport in the European Commission’s education and culture directorate, DG EAC. 

The Latvian national will move from his current position as deputy director-general for ‘Implementation and International Relations' at the regional and urban policy directorate, DG REGIO. A precise date for this switch has not yet been specified. 

While working at DG REGIO, Popens is attributed with leading the negotiations and implementation of more than 300 Cohesion policy programmes around the EU. The EU’s Cohesion policy is made up of several funding schemes to help support regions or nations lagging in development.


Companies that receive EU research grants record on average a 20% increase in employment and 30% in total assets and revenues, according to latest European Commission study.  

The positive impact persists even after the 2.5 years that it takes, on average, to complete a Horizon project. But not all sectors reap the benefits. The biggest winners are companies that fall within ICT and professional, scientific and technical activity categories. In many other sectors, including agriculture, manufacturing and transport, the effects are negligible.  

The study analysed the performance of 40,000 companies that had received Horizon 2020 grants.  


The European Commission has announced Lisbon as the winner of the European capital of innovation Awards for 2023, with Linköping in Sweden crowned this year’s “rising innovative city”.

The Portuguese capital pipped Warsaw (Poland) and Lviv (Ukraine) to the title, while Padova (Italy) and Cork (Ireland) were runners up in the rising innovative city category. The prizes are granted under Horizon Europe.

Research and innovation Commissioner Iliana Ivanova awarded the prizes during a ceremony in Marseille. The winners are “shining examples of how cities can use innovation to reshape the urban landscape, tackle demographic and economic challenges and work for the benefit of their residents,” she said.


The German Research Foundation (DFG) has welcomed the federal government’s adoption of its national action plan for the European Research Area (ERA).

The plan represents a commitment to make the European regulatory framework more “researcher-friendly”, the DFG said.

It also provides for the creation of a German Forum for European Research and Innovation Policy, dubbed Forum.EU, to promote coherence between regional, national and European research policy.

“The planned involvement of a large number of stakeholders in Forum.EU, including the various federal and state government departments in particular, has the potential to create genuine added value,” said DFG president Katja Becker.


The latest findings from the World Health Organization's Global Observatory on Health Research and Development (R&D) have highlighted the disparities in health research funding across the world.

The observatory, which launched in 2017, recently published commentary reflecting on its first five years of existence.

Data shows that in 2020 for example just 0.2% of all grant funding for noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) was allocated to institutions in low- and middle-income countries, where an estimated 7 out of 10 NCD deaths occur.

There are also disparities in terms of higher education opportunities and human resources, with high-income countries having around 56 times more health researchers per million inhabitants than low-income countries.


Brussels and New Delhi have signed a deal outlining a several cooperative actions on semiconductors, including joint research and development.

The EU and India held their first Trade and Technology Council last May, a similar forum to one established between Brussels and Washington in 2021. This latest memorandum of understanding agrees to make semiconductors a regular part of these councils between the EU and India.

The memorandum says that India and the EU will scope out “areas for mutually beneficial collaboration in research, development and innovation in semiconductor technologies, including advanced packaging technologies, design and raw materials”.

They also promised to exchange information about supply chain disruptions and each other’s training programmes.


London and Seoul have signed an agreement to work more closely together in areas like artificial intelligence, semiconductors, space, quantum technologies and engineering biology.

During a state visit by president Yoon Suk Yeol to the UK, the countries agreed a raft of measures to bolster science and technology ties.

This includes a £4.5 million fund for joint research and innovation; exchanges of quantum scientists; and a new implementation agreement to reboot a previous cooperation deal from 1985.


Prototypes, small-scale experiments and exploratory research will receive up to £150,000 from a new fund to speed up the development of clean technologies.

Announcing the fund, Imperial College London and Technical University of Munich said the money will go to “the most innovative ideas and technologies that offer disruptive impact.” 

The aim of the Imperial-TUM Zero Pollution Advanced Fund to also attract funding and partnerships from industry as well.


he 2023 call for proposals for the Innovation Fund – set up to finance decarbonising technologies – opens today with a record budget of €4 billion. 

Cleantech manufacturing projects will get a big boost with the budget doubled to €1.4 billion. These are projects aimed at strengthening industrial manufacturing capacity, technology leadership, and supply chain resilience in Europe. 

The Innovation Fund provides investment for the development and deployment of new technologies aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions and combating climate change.

It is financed through the EU’s Emissions Trading System (ETS). This works by setting a cap on the amount of emissions that certain companies produce. Those that produce fewer emissions than the set limit can sell their unused allowance to other companies. The EU is able to use some of that revenue to pump into the Innovation Fund. 


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