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 EU must ensure fair governance and public investment in virtual and augmented reality, the European University Association (EUA) told the European Commission in its latest consultation on virtual worlds. 

As the Commission moves towards developing policy for virtual and augmented reality, universities note they are increasing becoming important users, and creators, of such technologies. But their wider roll-out in research and education will require public investment, beyond pilot projects and private funding. 

At the same time, the successful roll-out of virtual and augmented reality technologies rests on creating standards that allow access, interoperability and privacy. To ensure this, the EU must create a diverse governance structure that represents the whole higher education and research ecosystem, universities say. 


Swiss state secretary Martina Hirayama and UK science minister George Freeman met in London today at the first meeting of the joint Swiss-British committee for science and innovation.

Back in November, the two countries signed a memorandum of understanding on cooperation in research and innovation. The agreement set the stage for strengthening UK-Swiss bilateral cooperation in research, as the two countries continue to be locked out of Horizon Europe, the EU’s €95.5 billion research and innovation programme.


The European affairs committee in the House of Lords published a report last week calling for a reset on UK-EU relations, including an end to uncertainty over association to EU’s Horizon Europe programme.

The report says UK’s association to Horizon Europe and other EU research funding schemes would benefit both the UK and the EU. However, the UK government has not taken swift steps to conclude negotiations, despite clearing out broader political hurdles.

“Now that agreement has been reached on the Windsor Framework, the necessary steps to complete UK association should be concluded as soon as possible,” the report notes.


The European Commission has published today a new staff working document on its Cohesion programme for 2021-2027 where it estimates the €378 billion fund will help bridge the innovation divide in Europe.

According to the document, thanks to €73 billion in dedicated cohesion funding, 83,000 researchers will have access to improved facilities and 725,000 companies will be supported in their smart growth.

Of this allocation, €35 billion will be spent on developing and enhancing research and innovation capacities and the uptake of advanced technologies.

The Commission’s full plan for cohesion funding over the coming years is available here.


The European Commission’s directorate for research and innovation is organising an official information event in Brussels on financial and business opportunities that can support the market uptake of new technologies, beyond its flagship research programme Horizon Europe.

More details about the event here.


Innovative Health Initiative (IHI) is looking to establish a group of patients and informal caregivers who can support their activities in health research and innovation through lending their perspectives, experience and expertise. 

The IHI Patient Pool could be called upon to participate in project meetings, scientific events, webinars or training sessions. Additionally, IHI could seek expertise from this group when it comes to carrying out evaluations of proposals, reviews of projects or discussions on funding possibilities. 

The idea is to use the knowledge and know-how of patients and caregivers to support IHI activities. 

‘I strongly encourage patients and caregivers to get involved in this initiative, so that with their help, we can achieve our ambitious goal of translating health research and innovation into tangible benefits for patients,” said Hugh Laverty, executive director ad interim of IHI. 

Those who wish to apply to be a part of the IHI Patient Pool have until 8 June to apply. Find out more here.


The European Commission is looking for experts to participate in evaluating various calls for proposals. 

This includes 2023 calls under the EU Mission ‘A Soil Deal for Europe’ and 2024 calls under cluster 6 of the Horizon Europe work programme, ‘Food, bioeconomy, natural resources, agriculture and environment’. 

Find out more about becoming an expert at this link.


Innovation network EIT Climate has been awarded its final EU grant worth €20 million in the run up to becoming financially sustainable by the end of 2024.  

The climate innovation network was one of the first three knowledge and innovation communities (KICs) launched in 2010 under the then-newly created EU innovation agency, the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT). It runs various training programmes, innovation projects and business incubators and accelerators to accelerate net-zero innovation. 

From the get-go, the goal was to get these KICs – now eight with two more in the making – to become financially independent, sustaining their operations through various private investments rather than EU grants. This has proven difficult over the years, but EIT Climate is set to achieve the goal in the next two years by scaling up its Systems Innovation as a Service approach, which enables it to co-design and implement place-based portfolios of innovations on the ground to match scalable solutions to industry value chains.   

The two-year €20 million grant will strengthen the network’s operational capabilities to scale the model commercially.  


Germany is doubling the budget of KIWi, the Competence Centre for International Academic Collaborations, to €2 million in face of high demand for its service advising researchers and academics how to navigate the increasingly complex international collaboration landscape.

The centre was created in 2019 by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), one of the world's largest funding organisation for the international exchange of students and researchers, to help universities and research organisations deal with the fallout from shifting geopolitical plates.

Joybrato Mukherjee, president of DAAD, explained to Science|Business why KIWi should be expanded in a one-on-one interview back in March.


The European Commission has today launched a call for expressions of interest for member states to host ground infrastructure for the satellite communication projects GOVSATCOM and IRIS². 

Countries interested in hosting the infrastructure have until 30 June to submit their proposals. 

GOVSATCOM, short for Governmental Satellite Communications, is a system of satellites and ground-based infrastructure that provides secure and robust communication services to the government and military. 

IRIS², short for Interoperable Radio Information System for European security, is an initiative that aims to develop a common communication platform for public safety and security organisations. It will also allow for mass-market uses, including providing mobile and broadband access, particularly in wifi dead zones in Europe, Africa and beyond.


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