South Korea expands the global reach of Horizon Europe

26 March 2024 | Muriel Cozier

‘This is a milestone for our cooperation and great news for global science and innovation.’

South Korea is to join the European Union’s Horizon Europe research and innovation programme. Concluding negotiations on 25 March, the signing of the association agreement is expected to take place during the second half of this year.

Starting in 2025, South Korea will participate under Pillar II of the research programme, which is focused on shared global challenges of climate change, energy, digital economy and health and has a budget of €53.5 billion.

According to local reports, the country’s science minister Lee Jong-ho said, ‘Participating as an associated country in Horizon Europe will open up greater opportunities for both Korea and to enhance competitiveness through joint research.’

South Korea is the latest addition to the widening geographical spread of Horizon Europe, which began in 2023 when New Zealand became the first associated member not geographically close to Europe – a move which the EC said ‘marks a completely new approach whereby the EU is strengthening even more its ties with trusted partners that have a solid scientific base and a robust research track record’.

In November 2023 Canada’s government said that it had ‘closed substantive negotiations with the European Union to join Horizon Europe as an associate country under Pillar II’.

Commenting on South Korea becoming a member, Iliana Ivanova, commissioner for innovation, research, culture, education and youth said: ‘This is a milestone for our cooperation and great news for global science and innovation. Together we will be able to tackle global challenges more effectively.’

The UK rejoined Horizon Europe in 2023, following months of protracted discussions between the UK government and the EC, amid pressure from the UK’s scientific and business community. At the start of 2024, the UK government kicked off a campaign to encourage UK businesses, academics and researchers to apply for Horizon Europe funding. The average grant is worth £450,000 to UK businesses, the government has said.

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