During the FNSSA Stakeholder Engagement Week, which took place from 31 May to 4 June, Nienke Buisman, Head of Unit, International Cooperation II at the European Commission, gave an initial overview of the different future HE opportunities, focusing on AU-EU collaboration in Horizon Europe’s first calls. Stay tuned because this outline will be completed in the coming weeks!
Launched in 2021, Horizon Europe (2021-2027), with a budget of €95.5 billion, will offer significant opportunities for collaborative research between third countries and European partners. All researchers and innovators and all types of organizations from the EU and from all over the world can participate in Horizon Europe, mainly through calls for proposals.
On 18 May 2021, the European Commission adopted a global approach to research and Innovation, “Europe’s strategy for international cooperation in a changing world”, promoting multilateralism, openness, reciprocity, and focusing on 3 main thematic fields (digital, health and green transition).
Africa is one of the main priority partners: a joint EU-AU innovation agenda is currently being developed, and ‘Africa initiative’ should be launched mid-June, as the first programme of Horizon Europe, aligned with the ‘Comprehensive EU strategy with Africa’, set out last year. With this policy text, and specially its third pillar (“sustainable growth and jobs”), the EC does not only support the mobility of researchers, of students, and collaborative research, but also embeds it into the economic agenda.
What is new compared to the previous Horizon 2020 programme?
- A strong emphasis on how investing in R&I through this programme will help to achieve the UN SDGs.
- More embedded in the economic growth agenda (and notably the recovery from the COVID crisis).
- The bulk of the money will go to finding solutions to ‘Global challenges and European industrial competitiveness’ (the 2 other pillars being ‘Excellent science’ and ‘Innovative Europe’- with a new funding body, the European Innovation Council).
How to get information about EU funding opportunities?
There are different ways to get guidance, practical information and assistance on all aspects of participation in Horizon Europe, notably through:
- The Funding and tender opportunities site
- Presentation webinars (when ‘Africa initiative’ will be adopted, a number of webinars will be organized in English, French and Portuguese -most probably in July)
- A new portal on EU Africa cooperation (soon to be launched) to promote the calls
- EU social media
- National Contact Points (NCPs), also established in many non-EU and non-associated countries (“third countries”)
- EU delegations in your country