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 Tuesday, the Commission published a document outlining strategic actions to boost European hydrogen economy, including supporting early-stage Hydrogen Valleys, enhancing data-driven decision-making, and collaborating on the Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda for green hydrogen.

Additionally, initiatives like the European Hydrogen Academy and significant funding efforts aim to bolster over 120 hydrogen projects, fostering international cooperation on clean hydrogen deployment and market development.

The European Union aims to have at least 50 Hydrogen Valleys operational or under construction by 2030, focusing on local renewable hydrogen supply and demand.

"EU is at the cutting edge of hydrogen technologies thanks to long-term investment into research and innovation,” said research commissioner Iliana Ivanova. “Hydrogen Valleys are another important step forward.”

More details here.


Yesterday, the Commission announced the launch of the Climate City Capital Hub to financially support cities participating in the EU Mission on Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities.

This hub will focus on engaging public and private capital and addressing both mitigation and adaptation projects.

It is great to see the EU Missions on Cities and on Adaptation to Climate Change come together and join forces,” said research commissioner Iliana Ivanova.

“With the Climate City Capital Hub, we will enhance our support to trailblazing cities that chart the course to climate neutrality with their mitigation and adaptation plans,” she said.

More details here.


The next EU framework programme for research and innovation, FP10, should eliminate EIT “flowback” requirements that are aimed at securing returns on investments, since they are detrimental to public institutions like universities, CESAER says.

CESAER, a body representing more than 50 of Europe’s leading science and technology universities, published a position paper contributing to the design FP10, which is due to start in 2028.

As political controversy is mounting around calls to revamp the EIT or merge parts of it with the EIC in FP10, the university lobby group CESAER wants to see the EU revitalising the EIT and ensure its relevance.

For that scope, CESAER proposes a three-step strategy: returning to the primary mission of EIT, reassessing financing of EIT and enhancing synergies.

As for the second step, the group urges the EU institutions and member states to ensure sustainable funding that balances both competitive and non-competitive streams, allowing universities to take risks and innovate in supporting talent across diverse career paths in research and innovation.

“It is imperative to move away from a profit-focus and remove flowback requirements and adopt a more flexible approach focused on effectively funding innovation ecosystems and training and education outcomes,” reads the document.

Read the CESAER position paper here.


Last week, the Commission unveiled SAVE, a new Euratom project aimed at advancing nuclear fuel diversification in Europe.

With a €10 million EU contribution, the project includes 17 partners from seven EU Member States and Ukraine.

“The Euratom Research and Training Programme is providing crucial support to our industry in the quest for reliable alternative fuel for reactors in EU Member States and Ukraine that until now needed fuel from Russia to operate,” said research commissioner Iliana Ivanova.

More details here.


Today, the Commission has disbursed €2.967 billion to support 39 energy projects across 10 Member States, focusing on renewable energy, energy efficiency, and greenhouse gas reduction.

The funding initiative aims to help the EU move towards climate neutrality by 2050.

The money comes from the Modernisation Fund, a EU’s instrument that supports thirteen lower-income Member States in their transition to climate neutrality. Bulgaria, Croatia, Czechia, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Slovakia are the beneficiary states of today’s Commission allocation.

“By supporting this group of Member States in modernising their energy systems, we continue to move forward on our decarbonisation path via investment into clean technologies that also make us competitive in the long run,” said Maroš Šefčovič, Executive Vice-President for European Green Deal, Interinstitutional Relations and Foresight.

More details here.


Last week, the third EU-Montenegro Joint Committee on Research and Innovation meeting took place in Podgorica highlighted Montenegro's significant progress in research and innovation.

Both sides expressed satisfaction with Montenegro's increased participation in Horizon Europe and acknowledged the country's ongoing R&I policy reforms, including the development of new strategies and infrastructure plans.

The EU committed to continuing support for Montenegro's integration into the European Research and Innovation Areas, encouraging its participation across the various areas of Horizon Europe, such as collaboration with the European Institute of Innovation and Technology, with the European Innovation Council, and with the Commission’s Joint Research Centre.

More details here.


On Wednesday, the Commission has designated 151 EU regions as Regional Innovation Valleys (RIVs) to bridge their key innovation resources, enhance regional innovation ecosystems, and reduce the innovation gap across Europe.

Thanks to €116 million from Horizon Europe and the European Regional Development Fund, these regions will focus on key challenges like reducing fossil fuel dependence, boosting food security, advancing digital transformation, improving healthcare, and increasing circularity.

“Through Regional Innovation Valleys, we will help turn the diversity of the EU’s territories into a strength and facilitate collaboration to foster new EU value chains for Europe’s home-grown innovation,” said research commissioner Iliana Ivanova.

“By expanding their cooperation based on Smart Specialisation, the interconnected regions, including less developed ones, will be better equipped to strengthen Europe’s overall innovation performance while bridging the existing innovation divide,” said Elisa Ferreira, Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms.

Read the announcement here.


The next EU framework programme for research and innovation, FP10, should enhance the use of existing research infrastructures (RIs) by ensuring sustained transnational access, the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) says.

EMBL, an intergovernmental organisation dedicated to molecular biology research and supported by 29 member states, published a position paper contributing to the design FP10, which is due to start in 2028.

“Europe should further capitalise on existing RIs’ technical expertise, talent pool and abundant computable data to strengthen its digital, green and Artificial Intelligence (AI) leadership,” reads the document.

Read the position paper here.


Over the last years, the EU and NATO have worked together on emerging and disruptive technologies and defence innovation, according to an activity report released last week.

Among the initiatives EU institutions and NATO jointly worked on the European Innovation Council (EIC) Fund, the Defence Innovation Accelerator for the North Atlantic (DIANA) and the NATO Innovation Fund.

Also, NATO Science and Technology Organisation (STO) and the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) engaged “on science and technology advice as well as the identification of technological weak signals,” the report says.

Read the full report here.


EU research commissioner Iliana Ivanova announced the launch of a VC investor network to co-invest with the European Innovation Council Fund (EIC) in innovative deep-tech companies.

“Our proposed Investor Network would have the power to revolutionise the European deep-tech innovation landscape by strengthening the investor base and fostering cooperation between investors,” Ivanova wrote on her LinkedIn profile.

“By joining forces towards a shared vision for Europe’s competitiveness, we can unlock the full potential of venture capital investments in disruptive deep-tech European technologies,” she said.


Subscribe to Live Blog Entries