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.


TenU, an international consortium of universities in the UK, Belgium and the US has published a report on how university tech transfer offices and VCs should negotiate valuations of start-ups.

The report is available here.


The National Research Foundation of Ukraine (NRFU) and the Dutch Research Council (NWO) have signed an agreement to work on bilateral or multilateral funding calls and promote international exchange of know-how.

The memorandum of understanding was signed by NRFU director Olga Polotska who visited The Hague last week.

More details here.


The European Commission has launched an online portal to help drive forward the EU’s mission on adaptation to climate change.

The portal provides information about the mission and latest developments regarding delivery of research and innovation projects and initiatives on climate adaptation. The website will enable regions and local authorities to work on preparing for worsening impacts of the climate and biodiversity crises.

More details here.


Josep M. Garrell is the new president of the European University Association (EUA). He was elected this morning at the EUA’s general assembly in Gdańsk. 

Until 2022, Garrell served as rector of Ramon Llull University in Barcelona for ten years. He is also a former vice-president of the Conference of Rectors of Spanish Universities (CRUE) and has been a member of the EUA Board since 2019. 

Garrell, who will take up the role from 1 July, succeeds Michael Murphy, former president of University College Cork, after a four-year term.   


The European Regions Research and Innovation Network (ERRIN) has launched a manifesto along with the European Commission to support the EU’s soil mission. 

The manifesto is aimed at regional and local policy-makers, stakeholders and citizens who wish to get behind the EU’s work to protect soil health through the missions component of the Horizon Europe fund. It is voluntary. 

Those who sign the document will get access to the latest research results relating to soil protection, and will have opportunities to participate in activities and events centred around the topic.


Germany’s research ministry has come up with an updated version of its plan for translating research on small particles, and the structure and function of matter into innovation.  

The universe and matter research action plan was first revealed in 2017, encompassing 1.5 billion in funding each year. It’s been updated twice. This third edition outlines how Germany will reach three new goals: getting ideas off the ground, involving stakeholders and strengthening skills. There’s €9.5 million in seed funding to enable funding, networking and skill building projects. 

“We will facilitate cooperation between research and industry at an early stage. We will provide incentives for better exploitation of the results. And with our start-up funding, we want to significantly increase the number of spin-offs,” said research minister Bettina Stark-Watzinger. 


EIT Health and Innovative Health Initiative (IHI), the EU’s industrial research partnership, will work together to improve healthcare entrepreneurship and innovation. 

Signing a formal agreement today, the two EU health research programmes will now identify areas and means for collaboration. This will include finding ways to leverage EIT Health’s accelerator and access to finance programmes to build on the results of IHI’s work.  

“The MoU marks the start of a new strategic relationship between our organisations and paves the way for exploring joint actions on shared objectives,” Jean-Marc Bourez, CEO of EIT Health. 

The collaboration is part of wider efforts to establish closer links between different parts of the EU’s €95.5 billion Horizon Europe research programme thus leveraging impact. 


EU member states are set to adopt conclusions on improving the academic publishing system, a move which the Guild of European Research-Intensive Universities says could pave the way for the development of alternative, less expensive publishing models.  

Next month, EU research ministers will express support for open-access publishing models that do not burden authors with extortionate article-processing charges (APCs). 

These fees, universities argue, contribute to inequalities in the academic world and dissuade researchers from publishing their work in the most appropriate outlets. The Guild calls for the development of alternative models that enable fee-free open access publishing.  

"Our universities are alarmed: their publication expenditures are hitting the ceiling,” said Julien Chicot, senior policy officer at The Guild. “What we need is that this system comes back to its first and foremost objective: give all researchers the most appropriate, equitable, and effective means to disseminate, and access to, high-quality research outputs." 


The European Commission is to highlight its Knowledge Valorisation initiative with a series of events taking place from April 25 to 28. 

The initiative is aimed at turning research results into solutions more efficiently, which the EU hopes to promote during its Knowledge Valorisation Week. 

Each day will have a different focus, ranging from sustainability, to management of intellectual assets to cooperation between industry and academia. On Friday, there will be a skills day aimed at researchers and young innovators. 

A full programme outlining the event is available here


A group of 11 MEPs from across the political spectrum are calling on industry, researchers and decision-makers to pay more attention to the potential dangers of very powerful artificial intelligence. 

In an open letter, the MEPs stated their intention to try to shape the EU’s AI act to make it “human-centric, safe and trustworthy”. 

They also called on European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and US President Joe Biden to convene a high-level summit with the goal of setting out principles on the governance of AI technologies. 

The MEPs cited an open letter by the Future of Life Institute, which has been signed by Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak and tech business magnate Elon Musk, which called for a six-month moratorium on the training of advanced AI systems. While the MEPs distanced themselves from the more “alarmist” elements of this letter, they showed their support for what they called the letter’s core message, that the rapid development of AI requires close political attention. 

The European Commission set out its strategy on AI in 2021, which includes the development of an AI Act that it hopes will serve as a blueprint for coordinated global governance related to AI technologies. 


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