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.


The European Commission is set to have better oversight over the European Innovation Council (the EIC) after it moved the management of the innovation fund to its directorate for R&I, away from an executive agency.

Up until today, the EIC was managed under EISMEA, the European Innovation Council and SMEs Executive Agency, but parts of it will now be overseen directly by the Commission, with Keith Sequeira remaining in the top position as head of unit.

The move affects only parts of the EIC, with EISMEA retaining control over other the EIC equity fund, among other units.

The change in management comes after months of rumours that the Commission is tightening its grip on the €10 billion start-up, which has had a rough start under the EU’s Horizon Europe research programme.

Here the new organisational charts for DG RTD and EISMEA.


The G7 Science and Technology Ministers met in Sendai this week to affirm their commitment to joint work on improving the global research and innovation landscape, ahead of the G7 summit in Japan.

Following the meeting, the ministers promised to collaborate in promoting open science principles, ensuring global research security and integrity, and fostering international science collaboration.

In a joint statement, the ministers singled out four areas in which they strive to demonstrate leadership: safe and sustainable use of outer space; the workings between climate change and seas and oceans; support for research infrastructures; and promotion international talent mobility.


The Irish government is setting up a Research and Innovation Policy Advisory Forum to structure its dialogue with stakeholders.

The forum will be made up of ten to 15 national and international experts, who will inform and support policymaking on questions such as research careers, equality and inclusion, strategic foresight and synergies in the national R&I system. It will be chaired by the minister for higher education, research and innovation.

At EU level, the European Commission runs a similar platform, the ERA Forum, which brings together Commission officials, member states and R&I lobbies to discuss research policy.

A call for members will be open between 26 May and 30 June. The first meeting is expected to be held in autumn 2023.


The German Research Foundation (DFG) is putting €76 million in new research training groups to boost support for early-career scientists in eleven areas. 

The 11 new groups will cover topics such as genesis of the universe, quality of health research and nucleic acids for the next five years.  

DFG currently funds 220 such training groups, which enable doctoral researchers to complete their doctorates by following a structured subject-specific research and qualification programme. 


The UK is to pump an additional £103 million into expanding and upgrading several research infrastructures around the country. 

The majority of this money – some £79.3 million – will be taken from a £150 million pot that has been specially set aside to help deal with the impact of delays in the UK gaining association to the EU’s Horizon Europe research programme. 

Facilities that will receive a share of the money include the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, the National Oceanography Centre’s state-of-the-art deep-sea research facility and the UK Digital Heritage Centre at the University of Liverpool. 

Christopher Smith, international champion at the UK Research and Innovation, which is managing the investment, welcomed the financing. 

“The investments, made across the UK, will provide UK researchers with advanced equipment, facilities and technology, and help maintain the UK’s position as a leader in research and innovation,” he said. 


The European Commission is looking for 15 independent experts to help it evaluate the first three years of the EU’s €95.5 billion Horizon Europe research programme.

The group will be tasked with providing an outsider perspective in the evaluation of Horizon Europe and advising the Commission on how to maximise the impact of EU’s research programmes in the future.

Interested candidates can apply to join the group until 20 June.


The first meeting of the EU-India Trade and Technology Council (TTC) will be held in Brussels on 16 May to begin high-level work on aligning policy on key green and digital technologies.

The council will work in three priority areas: strategic technologies, digital governance and digital connectivity; green and clean energy technologies; and trade, investment and resilient value chains.

The council was launched in February. The EU already runs a TTC with the US, which helps coordinate transatlantic policies on everything from artificial regulation and cybersecurity to securing key supply chains.


The European Commission today opened calls for digital transformation projects worth €122 million under the €7.5 billion Digital Europe programme.

There’s €32 million to protect children online, €31 million for data projects, including establishing a European reference genome database to help foster research, €25 million for cloud to edge infrastructure, €18 million for AI, and €18 million for boosting digital skills.

The calls are open to businesses and public administrations in countries that take part in the programme until 26 September 2023. The next set of calls will be published at the end of May and later this year, with a total budget €392 million for this year.


Germany’s centre-right political alliance CDU/CSU has highlighted research and innovation as key drivers for prosperity and cohesion in the EU, in a new position paper on European policy.

The wide-ranging statement calls for the bloc to prioritise research and innovation, seeking to better bridge the gap between knowledge and products on the market, especially in digital and space sectors.

The paper also calls on the EU to be “a guarantor for academic freedom in Europe and world-wide” and highlights the importance of cooperation with the UK in the field of science.

Read the full statement here.


A network of organisations has been selected to run the European Innovation Council’s (EIC) €20 million project supporting Ukraine’s innovators. 

The project will offer at least 200 Ukrainian deep tech start-ups advisory support and up to €60,000 in funding to help them grow and become part of Europe’s innovation ecosystem.  

The €20 million will be distributed through the selected pan-European network of 22 start-up associations, enterprise support centres, incubators and accelerators, coordinated by FundingBox Accelerator in Warsaw.  

This is one of the key support actions for Ukraine under the EU’s €95.5 billion Horizon Europe research programme and the only one specifically targeting start-ups. 


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