Widening newsletter 32: Latvia's foreign investors warning and Ukraine's need for big business

The US has finally managed to push through a $60 billion aid package for Ukraine, a vital and timely boost for the country as it continues to fend off Russia’s invasion. While for many in the US and western Europe the war can seem distant, it is very real and its impact stretches far and wide. One example that we look at in this week’s newsletter is cooled interest from foreign investors in Latvia’s market as businesses opt for caution in uncertain times. On the ground in Ukraine, we look at why the country needs big companies, not just start-ups, to support its resilient innovation ecosystem. Finally, we get Poland’s view on the war in a wide-ranging, two-part interview with ministers from the country’s newly re-established Ministry of Science and Higher Education. 

24 Apr 2024

Widening newsletter 31: Hungary to promote a bioeconomy research partnership for central and eastern Europe

Spring is here and that means the Hungarian presidency of the EU, scheduled for the second half of this year, is fast approaching. One plan in the works is to propose a new partnership to boost development of the bioeconomy of central and eastern European countries. The Hungarians want to model this on the Mediterranean PRIMA partnership. Elsewhere, we look at the impact of the EU unfreezing €137 billion of funding for Poland, the possible effect of two new European Investment Bank offices opening in the Baltics, and a foresight report that sets out policy suggestions for boosting innovation in the Western Balkans

11 Apr 2024

Widening newsletter 28: Former research commissioner backs Horizon Europe Widening measures amidst calls for change

There is always a lot of fuss about the effectiveness of current policies intended to close Europe’s research and innovation gap, but it is worth remembering the deep-rooted historical reasons for its existence. In this week’s newsletter, we dive into new research looking at the lasting impact of 45 years of Communism and a hurried transition to a market economy on eastern Germany’s innovation performance. Take note: investment alone cannot solve the problem. Elsewhere, we look at why a leading tech conference CEO is optimistic about central and eastern Europe’s start-up scene despite a downturn in investment, and what the EU’s former research commissioner has to say about Horizon Europe’s Widening measures amidst calls for change.

22 Feb 2024

Widening newsletter 23: European prosecutor’s office investigating three universities over alleged fraud

This week we examine the response to several cases of alleged fraud at universities in Widening countries that are under investigation by the European Public Prosecutor’s Office; review the policy changes the Polish research community hopes to see once the new government is installed following the elections last month; and look into Bulgaria’s attempts to professionalise its network of National Contact Points.

22 Nov 2023

Widening newsletter 14

This week we’re taking a close look at how the Polish government is withholding funding to a sociology research institute, and how research institutions in eastern Europe see the future of the “Widening excellence” programme in Horizon Europe.

We also have an interview with the rector of the University of Tartu on technology transfer and a deep-dive into Ventures Thrive, an EIC-backed accelerator that offers mentoring to start-ups in eastern Europe

07 Jun 2023