The European Commission has signed the first association agreement on the participation to Horizon Europe, the EU's research, and innovation programme, with a nation that is not geographically close to the EU, New Zealand. This marks a new approach by the EU, to strengthen its ties with trusted partners that have a solid scientific base and a robust research track record.
Horizon Europe is the EU’s biggest research and innovation programme, with a budget of €95.5 billion. It is open, which means that participants from all over the world can participate in most calls.
Association to Horizon Europe means that researchers and organisations in New Zealand will be able to participate in Pillar II of the programme, the most relevant and biggest collaborative part that is primarily focused on shared global challenges in climate, energy, mobility, digital, industry and space, health, and more. They will collaborate in the programme on equal terms with entities from the EU Member States and will have access to Horizon Europe funding and networks of researchers in Europe and beyond that tackle global challenges.
In the presence of the Commission's President, Ursula von der Leyen and New Zealand's Prime Minister, Chris Hipkins and Director-General of the Commission's department for Research and Innovation, Marc Lemaître signed the agreement with New Zealand's Ambassador to the EU and NATO, Carl Reaich and HE Marcos Alonso, Ambassador Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of Spain to the EU.
President Ursula von der Leyen said: “I am glad that we are allowing New Zealand to participate in Horizon Europe, our flagship innovation programme. This is the first association agreement with a country that is not geographically close to Europe, but very close in so many other ways, including the capacity and willingness to innovate. We are looking forward to pooling our best minds and talents to work together on the next generation of clean tech, biotech and digital projects.”
The Agreement provides the general framework for cooperation and acts as a forum for regular discussions about research priorities and areas of common interest.