HORIZON BLOG: European R&D policy newsbytes

07 Dec 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.


There is still no centralised global or European way to authenticate reputable academic journals, All European Academies (Allea) has warned, as the body sounded the alarm about a rising tide of predatory, low-quality journals that have accompanied the switch to open access publishing.

Journals are switching from a model that requires a subscription to access towards asking academics to pay a fee to be published.

Overall Allea welcomes this trend towards open access, but today has published a statement warning of the “large-scale emergence of journals whose editorial and publication standards do not match those upheld by the research community – so-called ‘predatory’ journals”.

“As the number of predatory journals and publishers grows, the predatory behaviour of those entities becomes more sophisticated, impacting many researchers, eroding research integrity, becoming further ingrained into common research culture, and leading to the waste of financial and human resources,” it said.


The European Union and US have agreed to improve research collaboration, including by “enabling transatlantic research funding activities” as part of a summit on 20 October in Washington DC.

As part of a joint statement, they also said that they wanted to consider “reciprocity in access to respective U.S. and EU research programmes and ensuring symmetry in managing intellectual property”.

Washington and Brussels also agreed to finalise an agreement on “quantum-related items” at upcoming Trade and Technology Council meetings, regular EU-US get togethers to coordinate transatlantic policy.


The first call for proposals under the newly launched Regional Innovation Valley’s initiative has attracted 57 proposals involving nearly 1,000 participants from 25 EU member states and six associated countries. 

The calls had a total budget available of €122 million and were designed to connect different EU regions to strengthen their research and innovation policies and ecosystems. The calls closed on 17 October. 

The proposals will now be evaluated before the results are announced in March 2024.


The European University Association has published a roadmap for universities to follow in line with the European Green Deal, which aims to make the European Union climate neutral in 2050. 

The EUA’s roadmap comes due to the association’s feeling that the Commission did not sufficiently acknowledge the importance of universities in achieving the Green Deal aims. It therefore sets out guidelines for universities to follow in their attempts to meet the demands of the EU’s green transition. 

The roadmap is broken down into four wider areas to showcase how best universities can align themselves with the Green Deal: Research and innovation, education and students, staff and operations, public engagement and societal impact. 

Stephane Berghmans, director of research and innovation at EUA, said that the chance to make Europe the first climate-neutral continent is a “unique opportunity for universities”. 

“The European Green Deal requires insightful and visionary research from Europe’s academics, as well as inspiring educational programmes and ground-breaking applications of new knowledge and skills,” he said.


Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) has become the first national research funding agency in the world to fund a newly launched sustainable laboratory certification pilot programme. 

The initiative was announced by the country’s research and innovation minister Simon Harris today and is run in conjunction with international NGO My Green Lab. 

The goal of the certification programme is to make laboratories, which can use up to 10 times more energy than normal offices, more climate friendly. 

“We can all play our part in reducing our carbon footprint and this programme demonstrates how fundamental changes made in the lab can have a large impact,” Harris said.


The UK has announced it will train over 2,000 people in innovative fusion technology as part of a new £650 million fusion package.

This will also see the creation of a new fuel cycle testing facility to focus on commercialisation, and £200 million dedicated to R&D to help industry develop components for future fusion powerplants.

Nuclear Minister Andrew Bowie unveiled the plans at the IAEA Fusion Energy Conference on Monday. They will take UK government investment in fusion to over £1.4 billion since 2021.

“With world-leading scientific talent and expertise based here in the UK, we have a golden opportunity to be at the cutting-edge of fusion and lead the way in its commercialisation as the ultimate clean energy source,” Bowie said.


The US and Singapore will establish a bilateral working group to advance shared principles for safe and responsible AI innovation, in the context of enhanced collaboration on technology between the two countries.

The announcement follows discussions during the inaugural US-Singapore Critical and Emerging Technology (CET) Dialogue in Washington, DC last week.

The US National Science Foundation and AI Singapore will similarly expand their collaboration through joint research funding opportunities focused on trustworthy and safe AI Systems.

They also agreed to enhanced cooperation between governments, industry, and academia in the digital economy, biotechnology, resilient critical infrastructure, quantum, and defence innovation.


A new European Commission report sets the groundwork for the creation of a new handbook on the use of R&I foresight in governance.

R&I foresight is the analytical assessment of how research and innovation could develop in the future and what factors could influence its development or become relevant for the sector. 

The report highlights various examples of R&I foresight being used by governments and public sector initiatives to good effect. It also provides seven recommendations on the use of R&I foresight. 

The ultimate goal of the report is to act as a basis for a future EU handbook to encourage more systematic use of R&I foresight in policymaking.


Finnish physicist Jari Kinaret has assumed the role of executive director of the new Chips Joint Undertaking, succeeding Yves Gigase.

The Chips JU is the new name for the Key Digital Technologies partnership; it has an expanded scope and a larger budget, in order to implement the initiatives featured in the EU Chips Act which entered into force in September.

A professor at the Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden, Kinaret has a background in physics and nanotechnology. Since 2013 he has served as the director of the EU’s €1 billion Graphene Flagship research project dedicated to exploring the potential of graphene.


The League of European Research Universities (LERU) has welcomed the European Parliament’s commitment to increase the Horizon Europe budget for 2024, in contrast to the Council’s proposal to cut the budgest.

Horizon Europe programmes are popular with researchers and already have very low success rates, the LERU said in a statement published on Monday. “This proves there’s no spare money in Horizon Europe and no room for further budget cuts.”

The organisation accused member states of undermining funding commitments made as part of the multi-annual financial framework, and said new priorities such as those addressed in the Strategic Technologies for Europe Platform (STEP), currently in negotiations, should come with new funding.

“There is simply not enough money in Horizon Europe, so what is there should stay there,” said LERU secretary-general Kurt Deketelaere.


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