HORIZON BLOG: European R&D policy newsbytes

06 Jun 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.


A new EU scheme is set to give out remote fellowships to Ukrainian researchers to help them continue work disrupted by Russia’s war. 

The grants will run for six to 12 months and will fund teams to carry on research project in collaboration with EU counterparts. Priority will be given to projects directly showing close collaboration with European scientists and contributing to the running and reconstruction of Ukrainian research infrastructures.           

Principle investigators from Ukraine can submit applications on behalf of their research teams until 8 May. The funds will be provided under Horizon Europe’s EURIZON project. 


The European Commission has released yet another update of the draft annotated grant agreement (AGA), a guide to Horizon Europe grant agreements. 

The guide, an essential source for applicants who struggle to understand legal language, simplifies the terms and conditions of the grant process, such as calculating personnel costs, security, protecting intellectual property rights and clauses on confidentiality 

The first draft guide was released in July 2021, shortly after the launch of the first big Horizon Europe calls. It was again updated in November 2021.  

You can find the new AGA here


The Commission has today opened two new calls for projects to participate in In-orbit Demonstration and Validation (IOD/IOV) experiments between 2023 and 2026. 

The IOD/IOV service supports companies or institutions in testing new technologies in orbit. 

These latest calls for expression of interest are open until 15 March 2026 with several cut-off dates planned. The first application period will close on 31 May this year.


The European Commission has today amended its 2023-34 Horizon Europe work programme to include an extra €64 million that will go towards boosting civil security for society and renewable energy. 

Of the additional funds, €50 million will be used to add six new topics under the area of civil security for society. This provides investment into research and innovation activities aimed at fighting hate speech, boosting border surveillance and strengthening the resilience of critical infrastructure operators. A total of 12 projects are expected to receive funding in these areas over the next two years. 

The remainder of the money will act as additional investment into renewable energy-related projects. 

This extra funding brings the total 2023-24 work programme budget up to €13.5 billion.


The European Commission’s newly adopted annual work programme for the European Defence Fund (EDF), worth €1.2 billion, includes a 50% funding boost for non-thematic R&D activities in calls aimed at SMEs and research organisations.  

The new work programme was adopted today. Calls for submissions will be opened in mid-June, with a deadline of 22 November.  

The calls under the work programme aim to “prepare the ground for the development of next generation fighter systems, main battle tanks, European indirect fire capabilities, as well as strategic air transportation of outsized cargo, a core capability for rapid mission support worldwide”, a Commission press release states.


The European Commission has today launched its third call for small-scale projects under the Innovation Fund, offering projects working in various fields of the clean energy sector the opportunity to win up to €100 million in financing.  

The projects eligible should have a capital expenditure of between €2.5 and €7.5 million, with the Innovation Fund money permitted to finance up to 60% of a project’s capital expenditure.  

The Innovation Fund provides investment for the development and deployment of new technologies aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions and combating climate change. 

It is financed through the EU’s Emissions Trading System (ETS). This works by setting a cap on the amount of emissions that certain companies produce. Those that produce fewer emissions than the set limit can sell their unused allowance to other companies. The EU is able to use some of that revenue to pump into the Innovation Fund.  


The European Research Council (ERC) has announced 218 new winners of its Advanced Grants, worth a total of €544 million. The prestigious grants are given to experienced scientists or researchers who have made significant strides already in their fields. 

The majority of the winners will base their research in Germany, with 37 choosing it as their host country. This is followed by the UK with 35, France with 32 and Spain with 16. 

There are 36 German winners, 32 French winners, 21 Italians and 19 British. 

The UK is currently still not associated to Horizon Europe, with talks between Brussels and London ongoing after Brexit. It means that any projects based in the UK will not be eligible for the funding unless the association negotiations are successful before the grant agreement needs to be signed, or the winners choose to move their project to another associated country.

Female researchers made up 23% of the winners, which makes it the highest proportion ever in the Advanced Grant call. 

Maria Leptin, ERC President, welcomed this progress, saying she was “especially pleased” to see a high number of female winners. 

“We look forward to seeing the results of the new projects in the years to come, with many likely to lead to breakthroughs and new advances,” she added. 

In total there were 1,650 applications for Advanced Grants, meaning the success rate was 13.2%. 


Technology companies and institutions around Europe have pledged to train up to 500,000 people in deep-tech linked skills by 2025 in an initiative led by the European Institute of Innovation & Technology (EIT).

Abodoo, Computer Vision Center, Generation, Intel Corporation, JA Europe, the Tampere University of Applied Sciences, and the Technical University of Cluj-Napoca have all signed up to support the EIT’s Deep Tech Talent Initiative.

“The EIT and our new partners all share a vision where deep tech like AI – which is changing the world as we speak – is developed and used first and foremost to help humanity with challenges like climate change, sustainable food production, and health crises,” said Nektarios Tavernarakis, chair of the EIT governing board.

“I look forward to working together with our new pledgers to develop the talent that will carry out this vision.”


A group of 32 companies have been selected as winners of the first European Innovation Council cut-off of the year and will receive a total of €195.8 million in funding. Of those companies, 40% have a female CEO, CTO or CSO – the highest proportion so far in the competition’s history.

There were a total of 476 applicants for the first cut-off which closed in January, with that number gradually whittled down to the final 32. The winners include a quantum technology company from Poland, a nano-coatings technology company from Latvia and a Swedish company developing a new softener for bone cement that will help in the treatment of patients with vertebral fractures.

A further 126 companies that did not receive funding but did meet all the criteria at the remote evaluation stage will receive a Seal of Excellence to prove their company’s worth when applying for other grants.

Another EIC Accelerator cut-off also just closed on 22 March, with 551 applicants.


The European Commission has launched a call for expressions of interest as part of a plan to establish 100 Regional Innovation Valleys, in which regional stakeholders collaborate with cross-border partners.

The programme is part of the New European Innovation Agenda that aims to make the EU a leader in deep-tech innovation. 

The call for expression of interest for Regional Innovation Valleys was announced at an event in Brussels today to promote another initiative, the Partnerships for Regional Innovation (PRIs). 

The Valleys initiative is meant to build on both the Smart Specialisation initiative and the PRIs.

“Innovation is Europe’s best response to the challenges of the green and digital transitions. For the first time, Cohesion Policy Funds and the Horizon Europe programme [will] work closely together to support interregional cooperation for innovation,” said Elisa Ferreira, European commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms. 

“With the Regional Innovation Valleys we aim to establish a community of regions that meet local challenges and needs whilst contributing to the EU’s strategic priorities,” EU research commissioner Mariya Gabriel said announcing the call.

“Committing to become a regional innovation valley means building resilience in the face of global competition. We call on regions to join forces and develop a robust European innovation ecosystem,” Gabriel said.


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