HORIZON BLOG: European R&D policy newsbytes

18 Jul 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.

On Friday, the Commission announced it started to scout members for its new Technology Council for Advanced Materials, aimed at coordinating efforts to meet future needs for advanced materials in Europe.

The Technology Council will include representatives from Member States' research and industry ministries, senior figures from academia, research and technology organisations, industry, and the European Commission.

"The Technology Council for Advanced Materials is part of our strategy to work together with the Member States, research organisations and industries to identity and address common needs for European leadership in advanced materials," said research commissioner Iliana Ivanova.

Interested candidates have time until September 9 to apply via this online form.

Read the full announcement here.


The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has announced on Thursday it will introduce a new open licence giving free access to its data, publications and analyses.

The OECD began granting greater access to its data in 2014 with the launch of its data portal and platform integration, making publications freely available to read online.

“The adoption of an open-access information model is a significant milestone with all OECD data, publications, and analysis becoming freely accessible to everyone, under an open licence,” OECD Secretary-General Mathias Cormann said.

“These developments reaffirm the OECD’s commitment to strengthening our global relevance and impact, by ensuring accessibility of evidence-based data, analysis and best practice policy recommendations to help policy makers deliver better policies and find effective multilateral solutions to the shared global challenges of our time.”

The redesigned website will also allow free access to nearly 30,000 archived items.

Read the full announcement here.


CESAER, a body representing more than 50 of Europe’s leading science and technology universities, published a position paper providing recommendations to shape the future of European Universities Alliances.  

Among them, the group urges the Commission to eliminate barriers to participation and engage universities from non-‘Erasmus partner countries’ as full consortium partners. “Adopting such a strategy is crucial for the development of globally relevant Alliances,” CESAER says.

"European University Alliances are crucial for advancing excellence in education, research, and innovation across Europe,” said Roberto Zanino, director of CESAER and senior advisor for international university networks at Politecnico di Torino.

Read the full position here.


The Chips Joint Undertaking (Chips JU) has launched calls for proposals worth €325 million to support semiconductor research and innovation in photonics, competence centres, and a cloud-based design platform.

The funding will aid the establishment of a pilot line for photonic integrated circuits, enhancing high-performance computing, communications, and data centres, while also supporting the creation of 'chips competence centres' to provide technical expertise and experimentation for companies, especially SMEs.

Applicants for the photonics pilot line, the competence centres, and the design platform have time until respectively 17 September, 2 October, and 10 October to submit their proposals. Chips JU will hold an information session on July 11 and 12.

More details here.


On Wednesday, the European Commission approved a €10.82 billion French State aid measure to support renewable offshore wind energy and foster the transition towards a net-zero economy.

The scheme will help the construction and operation of two bottom-fixed offshore wind farms.

The support will come as monthly variable premium and it will run for 20 years.

“With this €10.82 billion scheme, France can deploy offshore wind capacities faster, in line with the EU Strategy on Offshore Renewable Energy,” said Margrethe Vestager, executive vice-president in charge of competition policy.

“It will also help France reduce its dependence on Russian fossil fuels, while ensuring that any potential competition distortions are kept to the minimum.”

Read the full announcement here.


The next EU framework programme for research and innovation, FP10, should improve access to finance and business acceleration services and support European SMEs in accessing global markets.

Eureka, a network for international cooperation in R&D, bringing together 47 national governments to support international collaborative business-led innovation, published a position paper contributing to the design of FP10, which is due to start in 2028.

According to the paper, the EU should continue and strengthen the European Partnership on Innovative SMEs programme, a 7-year co-founded initiative supporting two funding programmes for innovative SMEs, in the next framework programme.

“Eureka should have a clear role and function for international research, development and innovation cooperation in FP10 through the continuation of the European Partnership on Innovative SMEs,” reads the document.

Read the Eureka position paper here.


The European Council has adopted the Strategic Agenda for 2024-2029, confirming EU competitiveness and economic security as key priorities for the upcoming mandate.

EU leaders are pledging to reduce dependencies and build capacity in key technologies such as defence, space, artificial intelligence, semiconductors, health, biotech, and net-zero technologies. “Promoting innovation and research, as well as leveraging tools such as public procurement, is crucial in this endeavour,” the document states.

To unlock private funding, there are plans to further implement the Capital Markets Union, and continue efforts from the last mandate to reduce regulatory and bureaucratic burden on businesses, while taking the needs of start-ups and SMEs in to account.

Scaling up the European defence industry is another priority. The strategic agenda references joint procurement, flagship projects by member states, and improved access to public and private finance, which are all subject to ongoing initiatives.


Today, NATO’s Defence Innovation Accelerator for the North Atlantic (DIANA) launched a call for proposals seeking innovators with dual-use, deep technologies to address critical defence and security issues.

DIANA is accepting proposals in five challenge areas: energy and power, data security, sensing and surveillance, health and performance, and critical infrastructure and logistics. Also, it encourages projects’ themes related to space, resilience, and sustainability.

Selected innovators will receive funding, mentorship, and access to facilities, with applications due by August 9.

“Innovators across the Alliance are working on ground-breaking technologies to address the world's most complex and profound security challenges,” said Deeph Chana, DIANA’s managing director. “With our second group of Challenges, we're inviting the best and brightest minds across five deep technology focal areas to join the effort to build a more peaceful and resilient future.”

More details here.


On Friday, the Commission announced that 14 new European Universities alliances are joining the existing 50. The group will receive up to €14.4 million each over four years, involving over 560 institutions.

The 64 alliances, spanning 35 countries, promote cross-border education, innovation, and collaboration among students, academics, and various sectors with the aim to enhance Europe's higher education competitiveness.

“As Enrico Letta said in his report on the future of the single market, these alliances are central to what could become the fifth freedom of our Single Market – the freedom to learn, study, teach and do research without boundaries across the continent,” said research commissioner Iliana Ivanova.

“The 64 alliances are now building the future of Europe’s higher education sector,” she concluded.

More details here.


On Wednesday, the European Commission awarded four European innovative AI start-ups as winners of the Large AI Grand Challenge, sharing a prize of €1 million and 8 million computational hours to boost AI development in Europe.

The Commission received a total of 94 proposals, showcasing the competitive nature of Europe’s AI landscape.

The chosen start-ups - Lingua Custodia (France), Unbabel (Portugal), Tilde (Latvia), and Textgain (Belgium) -  specialise in fintech, multilingual support, machine translation, AI-powered chatbots, and predictive text analytics, contributing to advancements in various sectors including finance, language technologies, and hate speech analysis.

Commissioner Thierry Breton presented the awards in a ceremony at Berlaymont in Brussels.

More details here.


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