Members' Research Service By / March 29, 2023

The EU’s global approach to research and innovation

According to a 2021 recommendation by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), international cooperation in science and technology qualifies as bilateral and multilateral cooperation to advance knowledge through basic and applied research, with the involvement of a wide range of research and innovation (R&I) players as well as governments.

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Written by Clément Evroux.

The magnitude of current global challenges, such as the climate crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic, stresses the relevance of joining forces worldwide and pooling human and financial resources to facilitate the creation and dissemination of knowledge and innovative solutions for EU research.

In 2021, the European Commission adopted a communication on a global approach to research and innovation – the new European strategy for international cooperation. In 2022, the European Parliament and the EU Member States responded to the communication with respectively a resolution and a declaration tabled by the Council presidency. Acknowledging the effects of the current geopolitical tensions, including the Russian invasion of Ukraine, they outlined how to ensure that Europe’s openness to the world will safeguard EU strategic autonomy, interests and values.

Following the launch of Horizon Europe in 2021, the EU is expected to intensify international cooperation, including by extending association to the programme to new partners such as Australia, Canada, Japan, Singapore and New Zealand.

The participation of stakeholders in international cooperation activities is key to Europe’s capacity to expand its scientific and technological leadership – thus far established in the domain of joint exploratory scientific activities, including transdisciplinary initiatives – to also cover technological development and standardisation. European research and innovation players are unambiguously supporting international cooperation for global goods, such as knowledge, the environment and global health. They also express hopes that the United Kingdom will swiftly join Horizon Europe as an associated country.

The first data available on non-EU-based legal entities’ participation in Horizon Europe confirm a significant improvement: as of 21 February 2023, they take part in 42.17 % of the 5 200 grant agreements that have been signed since the programme was launched in 2021.

This updates a briefing published in June 2022.

Read the complete briefing on ‘The EU’s global approach to research and innovation‘ in the Think Tank pages of the European Parliament.

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