HORIZON BLOG: European R&D policy newsbytes

08 Feb 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.


EuropaBio, Europe's largest biotech industry group, presented its EFIB Vilnius Statement to European policymakers this week, setting out its priority requests for 2023. 

This year’s statement builds on 2021’s inaugural EFIB Statement, which centred on three long-term goals: Modernising regulation and policy; Education and awareness; Financing innovation. 

Claire Skentelbery, director general of EuropaBio, said the launch of the document came at a “critical time” with the world facing challenges such as recovering from Covid, food supply issues and energy security. 

“Delivering on EU Green Deal objectives whilst strengthening resilience and independence of European industries is essential and industrial biotechnology and biomanufacturing are part of the solution,” she said.

The new statement document was officially handed over to Simonas Šatūnas, head of cabinet for Virginijus Sinkevičius, Commissioner for Environment.

Read the full statement here.


The European Commission has adopted the second European drone strategy, setting out the vision for further developments in the market, with a focus on large-scale commercial drone operations.  

The strategy contains 19 operational, technical and financial flagship actions, including developing a strategic roadmap to identify priority research and innovation areas in the sector.


French company Arianespace will perform six Vega-C launches for the EU earth observation programme Copernicus in the next three years and cover launch service needs for the next five years.  

The contract is part of the Commission’s efforts to make the EU an anchor customer for the procurement of EU launch services, in an attempt to strengthen the sector’s strategic autonomy.  

The EU’s current constellation includes seven operational Copernicus Sentinel satellites, which provide data and services for agriculture, crisis response, and the fight against climate change, among others. 


Kurt Vandenberghe was today named new director general of the European Commission’s climate directorate, DG CLIMA.  

Earlier this year, Vandenberghe's name was floated around as a potential candidate to head the Commission’s research directorate (RTD). At RTD, he played an instrumental role in shaping Horizon 2020 and Horizon Europe at RTD under the leadership of former director-general Robert-Jan Smits.

Vandenberghe held various positions in the research directorate, in charge of climate action and resource efficiency as well as policy development of coordination. Most recently, the Belgian served as adviser for the green deal in the cabinet of Commission president Ursula von der Leyen. 

Vandenberghe will be in charge of leading the Commission’s efforts to fight climate change from 16 January 2023. 


The European Commission has unveiled new rules it says will make it "cheaper, quicker and more predictable" to protect industrial designs in the EU. 

Industrial designs are the outer lines, contours and shape of a product. The Commission wants to make it simpler to submit industrial designs for protection, and lower the fees paid for the first ten years. 

It also wants to introduce an EU-wide "repair clause" that increase competition in the spare parts market. In the car repair sector, this should make it easier to product matching body parts to restore cars to their original appearance. 


The EU and South Korea have launched a new digital partnership, the European Commission has announced on Monday.

The partnership builds on long-standing cooperation between the EU and South Korea and is another step towards strengthening ties in the field of digital technologies.

The partnership will foster joint work on semiconductors, the next generation mobile networks, quantum and high-performance computing, cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, platforms, data and skills.

More details are available here.


Karel Luyben has been re-elected president of the EOSC Association, the legal entity established to govern the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC).

EOSC Association was founded in July 2020 with four founding members and has since grown to over 200 members and observers.

Luyben is rector magnificus emeritus of Delft University of Technology and was first elected in 2020 as the association’s first president. His second term will run from 2023 to 2025.

“Looking back on what we have achieved in Europe by working together - with the Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda and the Memorandum of Understanding as important milestones from this first period - makes me proud to be part of this EOSC community,” said Luyben.

“The key challenge now as we move into the next phase will be to boost the roll-out and expansion of a ‘Minimum Viable EOSC’ which is bringing value to users, such as researchers, beyond their current use of infrastructure and services, thus helping to fully bring EOSC to life,” he added.


The Coimbra Group of universities has signed the agreement on reforming research assessment and will join the Coalition for Advancing Research Assessment (CoARA).

The decision was approved unanimously by Coimbra's executive board on Wednesday.

By signing the agreement, Coimbra will join another 400 signatories, including universities, research centres and funders, as well as national and regional authorities from Europe and beyond.

Coimbra universities will be able to carry out pilot projects and experiments, develop new assessment criteria and methods, and exchange best practices.


The European Commission has announced it will soon open calls for proposals under Horizon Europe Cluster 6, dedicated to food, bioeconomy, natural resources, agriculture and environment.

Ahead of the open date, the Commission is planning info sessions with funding experts and researchers on 13 and 14 December.

The event aims to provide applicants with information on the calls that will be available next year under the bioeconomy cluster in Horizon, and suggestions on how to prepare project proposals.

More information is available here


The German Research Foundation (DFG) has announced €166 million in funding for 13 new collaborative research centres, aiming to strengthen top-level research at universities.

These centres will focus on semiconductors, microbial networks, and quantum systems.

The funding will be awarded for four years, starting from 1 January 2023. The total financing includes a 22% fee for indirect costs linked to the projects.

In the meantime, the DFG has also agreed to renew funding for a further four years to 13 other collaborative research centres focused on microplastics, software systems and particle physics, among other subjects.


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