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.

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You can read the full archive of this blog here.

A consortium of European scientific organizations has launched a survey to gather the views on research and innovation from candidate parties running for the European Parliament in June.

This initiative, led by the Initiative for Science in Europe (ISE) and other prominent groups, aims to inform the electorate about the positions of political parties on crucial research and innovation policies.

The survey consists of ten questions and is available in all European languages, distributed through the EU-Survey system to candidate lists across the EU-27 countries.

Responses will be made public on ISE's website, providing transparency and insight for both the academic community and interested citizens regarding the importance of research and innovation in shaping Europe's future.

Link to the survey and more details on the initiative here.


The European Commission announced an increase of the EURIZON Fellowship Programme’s budget to €4.5 million under Horizon Europe to support Ukrainian research amidst challenges posed by Russia's invasion.

The Fellowship Programme aims to restart projects, facilitate cutting-edge research, establish international partnerships, and enhance research dissemination, benefiting 324 Ukrainian scientists across 65 projects.

“Excellent research infrastructures are at the basis of every scientific breakthrough. As the EURIZON Fellowship Programme received an incredible number of applicants, we will not remain silent to the needs of the research and innovation community in Ukraine,” said EU research commissioner Iliana Ivanova.

Read the full announcement here.


The European Investment Bank is financing an innovative geothermal heating project in Bavaria, contributing nearly €45 million supported by the European InvestEU-programme and a €91.6 million grant from the EU Innovation Fund.

Implemented by Eavor, the project will offer low-carbon heating to the region by drilling deep wells and laying horizontal laterals to create an extensive underground heating system.

“Once again, we see how valuable the work of the Innovation Fund is through the funding it provides for cutting edge projects that lower emissions,” said commissioner for climate action Wopke Hoekstra. “This project will provide low-carbon heating to thousands of households and businesses. It is an example of the role the geothermal industry will play on the road to net-zero.”

More details here.


On Tuesday, the European Commission allocated €720 million to seven renewable hydrogen projects in Europe through the European Hydrogen Bank, EU’s financing instrument to accelerate the establishment of a full hydrogen value chain in Europe.

The aim of the call is to produce renewable hydrogen in Europe, bridging the cost gap between production expenses and current market prices dominated by non-renewable sources. By supporting cleaner fuels, the Bank contributes to decarbonizing European industries like steel, chemicals, maritime transport, and fertilizers.

The selected projects plan to collectively produce 1.58 million tonnes of renewable hydrogen over a decade, averting over 10 million tonnes of CO2 emissions and receiving subsidies ranging from €8 million to €245 million.

“There is a strong project pipeline in Europe and a competitive industry,” said Maroš Šefčovič, Executive Vice-President for European Green Deal, Interinstitutional Relations and Foresight.

“These are encouraging signs for the future of this important net-zero technology.”

More details here.


During a summit held in Washington D.C. last Thursday, the U.S. Departments of Justice and Commerce launched the Disruptive Technology Protection Network with Japan and the Republic of Korea (ROK), a partnership aimed at expanding collaboration on technology protection measures.

At the event, the three countries affirmed the importance of combating illicit technology transfer due to its threat to national security, leading to the signing of two Memoranda of Intent for enhanced cooperation.

“Preventing sensitive technologies from being acquired by authoritarian regimes and hostile nation-states is not only a critical endeavor, but a shared one,” said Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Export Enforcement Matthew S. Axelrod.  “Yesterday’s Summit formally launched our work with our partners in South Korea and Japan, as we join together to prevent our countries’ most sensitive items from getting into the world’s most dangerous hands.”

More details here.


On Monday, the EU Council approved a protocol facilitating data flow with Japan, a measure that marks a significant stride in digital collaboration.

By including provisions on cross-border data flows in the EU-Japan Economic Partnership agreement, the protocol ensures robust legal frameworks for data exchange so that companies will be able to handle data efficiently under predictable regulations, avoiding costly storage requirements

The move would not only eradicate unjustified data localisation barriers but also streamlines operations for businesses by removing cumbersome administrative hurdles.

This harmonisation, reads the Council’s press release, would enhance economic competitiveness and underscore a commitment to mutual digital prosperity.

More details here.


The White House unveiled a series of measures to commercialise clean energy adoption to coincide with Earth Day last week.  

The grab-bag of initiatives include energy technology prizes, a new Adoption Readiness Level framework from the Department of Energy, and a new template for technology transfer agreements.  

The National Science Foundation also said it would launch a series of new “Translation Accelerators”, designed to boost commercialisation.  

The US has released guidelines for how best to use AI in science, two weeks after EU science advisors unveiled their own recommendations.  

Drawn up by the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, the report makes five recommendations, including making sure that scientists can broadly access the necessarily computing power and datasets to make advantage of the technology.  

Access to federal data sets for researchers should be improved, and scientists should experiment with AI assistance in their work. 

“The objective should not be to maximize the amount of automation, but to allow human researchers to achieve high quality science that utilizes AI assistance responsibly,” the report says.  

In a position paper published today, the Guild of European Research-Intensive Universities says deans of UK universities could enable seed funding to help UK researchers get back into EU collaborative networks.

"Universities could support this re-engagement by providing seed funding for Horizon applications and exploring bilateral agreements that could enable researchers to join larger networks," reads the document.

“Research collaboration with continental Europe remains central to UK universities. Our reassociation to Horizon Europe both confirms these strong ties and encourages the UK research community to strengthen the engagement even further,” said Anselm Heinrich, International Dean at the College of Arts at the University of Glasgow.

The UK had been stuck outside of Horizon Europe because of Brexit until last year. London and Brussels were able to reach a deal after years of haggling over bigger political issues, such as Northern Ireland’s place in the EU single market, but also over more prosaic issues, such as the UK’s net contribution to Horizon Europe.

At the time, the UK government was worried that researchers and universities would would not be able to get up to speed with the EU funding programme, re-integrate themselves in EU funding networks, and win enough grants to cover the UK’s financial contribution.

Read the full statement here.


The Commission approved a €300 million French State aid measure to support Nuward, a subsidiary of Electricité de France's (EDF), in developing innovative small modular nuclear reactors (SMRs).

The aid will be provided as a direct grant to cover Nuward's R&D plans until early 2027, focusing on designing, testing, and preparing safety demonstrations for SMRs.

“This project will contribute to the decarbonisation of energy systems and to the EU’s open strategic autonomy, while limiting possible distortions of competition,” said Margrethe Vestager, executive vice-president in charge of competition policy.

Read the full announcement here.


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