HORIZON BLOG: European R&D policy newsbytes

07 Dec 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.


The European University Association has set out three priorities for 2027 as part of a new research and innovation agenda to further position universities as leading R&I actors. 

The priorities of the agenda, titled ‘seizing the moment, driving the change’, are: 

  • Amplifying the societal impact of university R&I

  • Cultivating robust, diverse and collaborative R&I culture(s)

  • Championing a well-designed and sustainable R&I system

The 2027 agenda builds on the association’s vision for 2030 called ‘universities without walls’, first published in 2021. 

“The holistic, sector-wide measures proposed here are intended to counter the trend towards increasingly selective and fragmented European R&I policies,” EUA vice president Paul Boyle said. 


The EU and China have “agreed that we should seek to cooperate on artificial intelligence at the global level”, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said after meeting with President Xi Jinping in Beijing.

On her second visit to the country this year, von der Leyen also raised the issue of the EU’s trade deficit with China, which has doubled in the last two years.

“I am glad that we agreed with President Xi that trade should be balanced between the two of us,” she said.

In light of the ongoing COP28 climate summit, the Commission President urged China to join 125 countries in signing the global pledge to triple the installed capacity of renewable energy and double the rate of energy efficiency improvements by 2030, which she announced on Saturday.


Canada is set to invest in 24 third-party science and research organisations through its Strategic Science Fund (SSF), the country’s science and innovation minister François-Philippe Champagne has announced

The chosen organisations are the first recipients under the SSF after applications for the inaugural call were opened in 2021. 

"With this investment, we are supporting organisations working in a multitude of areas including the development of novel cancer treatments, climate change, reconciliation and Indigenous-led science, and emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence and quantum computing, as well as organisations that are inspiring the next generation of scientists and researchers,” Champagne said. 

The next call for applications to the SSF is scheduled for 2026. 


EU and US health emergency agencies have agreed to coordinate their funding for research and innovation projects on the next-generation diagnostic devices for respiratory diseases. 

EU’s HERA and the US’ BARDA will work together to ensure the projects they fund bring products to the market by exchanging outcomes and organising follow-up actions.  

HERA’s €24 million call on speeding up the development of and access to innovative medical countermeasures is open until 20 December. BARDA has launched two dedicated calls: one to support sample-to-answer solutions through regulatory clearance, and another oneto drive innovation in hardware, sample preparation and bioinformatics. 


Germany is preparing to launch six research ‘missions’ after the government approved its first report on the implementation of the new R&I strategy.  

A research mission is a novel type of R&I funding which uses seed funding to mobilise action to address specific goals. It was popularised by economist Mariana Mazzucato. The EU has launched five missions of its own in 2021, with mixed results.  

Germany’s government agreed on six missions areas: resource-conscious management, climate protection and preservation of biodiversity, health, digital and technological sovereignty, space and marine research and social resilience. There are six dedicated teams working to set up the missions.  


Spain’s research evaluation commission (CNEAI) has approved new assessment criteria in alignment with the Europe-wide movement to reform how research is evaluated. 

The new criteria promise to value quality over quantity, maximise impact and recognise a wider range of researchers profiles and careers as it assesses the country’s R&I efforts.  

The national commission, made up of twelve representatives appointed by Spain’s autonomous communities, carries out an evaluation every six years. 


Innovation UK has compiled a list of 50 emerging technologies that could lead to major breakthroughs.  

These include tiny nano-materials, quantum computing and brain-machine interfaces that allow you to control machines with your mind, among others.  


The European Commission has greenlighted €1.2 billion in public funding for cloud computing research, development and employment in seven EU countries. 

The funding is part of the Important Project of Common European Interest (IPCEI) on next generation cloud infrastructure and services. It allows EU countries to jointly fill investment gaps to produce breakthrough innovation by exempting projects from prohibitions to state aid.  

The seven countries are France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, and Spain. 


Senior EU officials have met with representatives of Latin American and Caribbean countries to discuss further cooperation as part of the EU-CELAC Joint Initiative on Research and Innovation (JIRI). 

The two parties discussed closer cooperation on areas such as biodiversity, marine research, urban transitions, agriculture, digital transformation and health research, as well as the broader topics of researcher mobility, research infrastructures and open science. 

This senior officials meeting, which took place on November 28 and 29, follows on from the EU-CELAC summit this summer and continues the work on a modernised bi-regional R&I roadmap, which is set to be updated in 2024. 

The two sides also agreed to set up new working groups on global challenges and innovation to go along with the already existing working group on research infrastructures. 


The European Commission has published a new report providing an update on its Food 2030 initiative, which was launched in 2016 to steer research and innovation policy towards more health and sustainable food systems.

The report includes policy reflections related to Horizon Europe, the farm-to-fork strategy, and the European Green Deal.

It sets out eleven pathways for action where R&I can deliver benefits, and stresses the importance of an interdisciplinary approach.


Subscribe to Live Blog Entries