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.

If you have any tips, please email them at [email protected].

You can read the full archive of this blog here.


One hundred and twenty-four scientists from Ukraine have been granted fellowship support to continue their research abroad through the MSCA4Ukraine programme.

The winners, made up of 111 post-doctoral researchers and 13 doctoral researchers, will take up their positions from 1 March onwards. 

The MSCA4Ukraine initiative was launched in September 2022 to provide support to Ukrainian researchers affected by Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. 

In total, there were over 400 applications. The MSCA4Ukraine helpdesk has committed to supporting unsuccessful applicants with assistance, advice and support in applying for other schemes where possible. 

EU research and innovation commission Mariya Gabriel said: “The MSCA4Ukraine initiative is yet another proof of our solidarity with the Ukrainian people. We are proud that 124 scientists will be able to continue their research work and will have access to training, skills and career development opportunities. It is our hope that they will be able to contribute to the reconstruction of their home country once the war is over.”


The Irish government is investing over €63 million in two new programmes to support research and innovation with the support of funds from the European Regional Development Fund.

The first programme is aimed at developing training programmes to support the creation of new products and start-ups and will receive around €30 million.

The second programme will last four years and is designed to create more consistent knowledge transfer practices.

These initiatives are being managed by government agency Enterprise Ireland.


The European Innovation Council (EIC) has launched its Tech to Market Entrepreneurship and Venture Building Programme to support beneficiaries of its EIC Pathfinder and EIC Transition funding in getting their products from the research stage to market.

The idea is to support participants in gaining business skills, and to support them in setting up a start-up through training courses and expert guidance.

A first information session on the programme will take place on 15 March. More details can be found here.


Swedish business development company Almi has signed an agreement with the European Investment Fund (EIF), backed by the InvestEU programme, to unlock €211 million for SMEs and micro enterprises in Sweden.

The agreement will provide loan guarantees for companies in three broad fields: Green transition, digitalisation and loan access for microenterprises.

The EIF’s chief executive, Marjut Falkstedt, said, “I am delighted to be signing our first InvestEU guarantee agreement in Sweden with Almi. This deal will allow Almi to increase its lending to small businesses and contribute to boosting innovation, digitalisation and the green transition.”


The European Commission will sign 12 new agreements for Teaming projects and 13 for Excellence Hubs, under Horizon Europe’s Widening programme tackling Europe’s the east-west innovation divide.

The 12 Teaming projects will create and modernise centres of excellence in Europe’s less innovative regions with the help of leading institutions abroad; extra funding for this will come from structural and other EU funds. The 13 Excellence Hubs projects will aim to create innovation ecosystems in the so-called Widening countries and beyond.

The list of projects can be found here.


According to a paper by the Czech national contact points, eligibility rules for personal costs in Horizon Europe grants are still very complex. The organisations call for more clarity and more detailed guidance documents.

“The lack of guidance and interpretation of the rules is disturbing and leads to legal uncertainty for beneficiaries,” the paper reads.

Among other complaints, the Czech contact points call for “more detailed explanations and better communications” of rules for blind evaluation. They also say new funding instruments under the Widening programme require improvements.

The paper was submitted to the European Commission for its public consultation on the EU’s research framework programme. The consultation is set to close this week on 23 February. You can submit your feedback here.


Dutch medical universities say the European Commission should secure a “stable budget for health priorities” in Horizon Europe for the coming years.

According to a paper by the Netherlands Federation of University Medical Centers (NFU) annual debates around repurposing Horizon Europe money from one initiative to another should be avoided for the sake of predictability.

The NFU has also proposed a wide range of topics for health research, including an increased focus on mental health research.

The paper was submitted to the European Commission for its public consultation on the EU’s research framework programme. The consultation is set to close this week on 23 February. You can submit your feedback here.


Funding calls under Pillar 2 of Horizon Europe are now open to researchers and organisations from New Zealand.

This is possible under a transitional arrangement between New Zealand and the European Commission until the formal association agreement is approved by Wellington. The arrangement makes New Zealand one of the first countries outside Europe eligible to participate in HorizonEurope.

The association agreement is expected to be signed later this year.


The UK’s Science and Technology Facilities Council, a government agency, has signed a new partnership with Singapore Space and Technology Limited, a non-governmental organisation, to help boost growth in space technology start-ups. 

The agreement will give the partners greater access to venture capital ecosystems in their respective markets, provide reciprocal access to test facilities, research infrastructures and laboratories and also give Singapore-based start-ups access to the European Space Agency network. 

Paul Vernon, executive director for business and innovation at STFC, said:

“There has never been a more exciting time for a business to get involved in the space industry and the opportunities it can bring. I look forward to our continued partnership with Singapore Space and Technology Limited as we support our space tech start-ups in their mission to innovate, flourish and succeed in global markets.”


The European Commission has opened a call for expressions of interest to bring together experts on China in order to inform EU policymaking. 

The Commission plans to engage up to 15 fellows at a time. The main areas of expertise it wants are: politics, geopolitics, security and/or history; human and/or social sciences; economics and/or finance; digital and/or innovation; environment, climate and/or life sciences. 

The fellows will be recruited for periods ranging from 6 to 12 months, and will bring together "academics from world-class think tanks and universities". 

For more information, interested parties can contact IDEA, the Commission's in-house advisory body. 


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