HORIZON BLOG: European R&D policy newsbytes

28 Sep 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.

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You can read the full archive of this blog here.


More than half of the 76 million people working in science and technology in the EU are women, who represent 52.2% of the workforce, new data shows. This figure is unchanged from 2021. 

Lithuania and the French island of Corsica have the highest percentage of women working in science and technology, at 64%. On the other end of the scale is the North-West region of Italy, where 45% of the workforce are women. 

Despite the fact that women outnumber men overall in the field, they only make up 41% of the total number of scientists and engineers. This is an increase of 2% compared to 2012. However, the slow proportional increase is also down to an overall increase in the number of people employed as scientists and engineers, as the total number of women working in those sectors has grown by 2.3 million in the past decade. 



A total of 73 projects from around the world have been selected as winners of the 2022 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) call for staff exchanges, which is aimed at creating links between academic and non-academic organisations to increase innovation and knowledge transfer. 

The winning projects will receive a combined €77.5 million. 

There were nearly 200 applications for the call, with 189 of them deemed eligible and therefore evaluated, meaning the call had a success rate of 38.6%. 

This year’s call will open on 5 October.


The EU is opening new calls for proposals under Horizon Europe for Civil Security and Society worth over €170 million on 29 June. 

There are six topics addressed under the calls, including fighting crime and terrorism, border management and increased cybersecurity. 

A two-day event will be held on 27 and 28 June to provide potential applicants with more information on the calls. 

You can find out more information about the event days here.


Germany and Ireland today signed off an agreement to kick off cooperation on green hydrogen research, including a pilot project exploring what a cross-border hydrogen value chain could look like.  

Both countries have high ambitions for green hydrogen, which is set to become a key part of EU’s energy mix as the economy transitions towards net-zero.  

Ireland hopes to become a green hydrogen exporter, using its surplus wind power to turn water into green hydrogen though electrolysis. Germany, a net importer of the gas, wants to ensure it can cover its needs with imported gas from Ireland and other countries, such as Namibia, with which it has signed a similar cooperation agreement. 


It’s crunch time to seal the UK’s participation in the EU’s Horizon Europe research programme as the global R&D race heats up, the League of European Research Universities (LERU) says in latest statement.

LERU notes increasing R&D investments in China and the US, but says the EU and UK together “can cement Horizon Europe’s status as the world’s biggest and most impactful scientific programme and set the direction in areas of strategic importance, such as AI, engineering biology and quantum technologies.”

The UK was locked out of the EU’s €95.5 billion research programme for months, but the two recently returned to the negotiating table to seal the UK’s participation after resolving wider political disputes in the Windsor agreement.


The EU and US will hold the fourth meeting discussing tech and trade cooperation in Sweden this week.

The topics on the table will include artificial intelligence, emerging technologies, online platforms, sustainable trade, export controls and investment screening as well as trade facilitation.

Cross-Atlantic tech cooperation has been on the rise since the Council was first launched, with the EU and US agreeing to coordinate green tech incentive schemes and edging closer to a joint approach to artificial intelligence.


Horizon Europe is set to fund 130 projects training 1600 doctoral candidates in latest €434.8 million Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) call for doctoral networks.

The money will fund international doctoral programmes, including industrial doctorates, which allows researchers in training to gain experience in industry and the public sector, as well as joint doctorates that lead to multiple degrees.

The call will close on 28 November 2023, with first projects due to start in summer 2024.



The third annual report on UK spinouts has now been published, put together by company data sourcing specialists Beauhurst in partnership with the Royal Academy of Engineering. 

It shows that the 1,166 active spinout companies make up just 2.52% of all high-growth businesses in the country, but according to the report they “punch well above their weight”. For example, the spinouts secured 9.11% of all equity finance raised by private UK companies last year. 

The UK government has also acknowledged the importance of spinouts to the British economy, according to the report. 


The European Commission has launched a new €4 million call for proposals under Horizon Europe to support the All-Atlantic Ocean Research and Innovation Alliance (AAORIA), a grouping of countries on either side of the Atlantic formed in 2022 to promote research aimed at protecting the ocean. 

This latest call is for a Coordination and Support Action with a compulsory international element that should also aim to build on existing initiatives, such as the All-Atlantic Ocean Youth Ambassadors, joint actions and already developed working groups. 

The AAORIA is a partnership between the EU, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Cabo Verde, Morocco, South Africa and the United States. 

The deadline for proposals under this call is 21 September 2023. More information on the application procedure is available here


Sixteen companies are set to receive €30 million in grant funding from the Spanish government through the EU recovery plan, after receiving seals of excellence from the European Innovation Council (EIC).  Comunidad de Madrid will be funding three additional recipients of the EIC seals.

The seals of excellence are awarded to research and projects that would deserve funding from Horizon Europe, the EU’s €95.5 billion research and innovation programme, but do not receive it due to oversubscription and budget limitations.

The seals are a quality label that member states can use to grant funding from their own resources or from other nationally-managed Eu programmes.


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