Canada and European Commission begin negotiating access to Horizon Europe

5 December 2022 | Muriel Cozier

‘It is crucial to build our partnerships with like-minded countries to deliver the greatest impact and make Canadian researchers, innovation players and businesses shine internationally.’

Canada looks set to join Horizon Europe; with formal negotiations between the country’s government and the European Commission having been formally launched. Over the coming months discussions will focus on reaching an agreement during the first half of 2023, with formal association by the end of the same year.

The European Commission said that a major redesign of the approach toward international cooperation in the Horizon Europe programme has been implemented. This change, for the first time, provides the possibility of association for ‘other third [party] like-minded countries with a strong science, innovation and technology profile,’ not necessarily located in the geographic proximity of the EU.

Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice-President for a Europe Fit for the Digital Age said: ‘The association of not just countries in the EU’s neighbourhood, but also like-minded scientific powerhouses like Canada, will be excellent news for researchers on both sides.’

Horizon Europe has a budget of €95.5 billion, and allows participants from around the world to take part in most funding calls. Those from associated countries have additional opportunities in collaborative projects. In addition associated institutions are treated on a par with EU Member States institutions with regard to access to funding.

The EU and Canada’s relationship in the area of science and innovation dates back to 1996. The agreement reached at that time provided a general framework for cooperation and acted as a forum for discussions about research priorities and areas of common interest. Canada’s Government noted that it was approached by the European Commission with an offer of associate membership, granting the country fuller access to Horizon Europe.

François-Philippe Champagne, Canada’s Minister for Innovation, Science and Industry, added: ‘It is crucial to build our partnerships with like minded countries to deliver the greatest impact and make Canadian researchers, innovation players, and businesses shine internationally.’

Also seeking association in Horizon Europe, New Zealand and the European Commission said that they were set to begin formal negotiations. Both parties are looking for discussions to be ‘concluded swiftly.’

The UK’s position with Horizon Europe is yet to be resolved. During August the UK government launched a formal consultation in order to conclude the ongoing delays around the UK’s access to the programme.

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