Historic agreement between Canada and the EU to associate Canada with Pillar II the Horizon Europe programme, enhancing collaboration in research and innovation.
At the recent Canada-EU summit on 23-24 November 2023, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the conclusion of negotiations for Canada’s association to Pillar II of Horizon Europe, the EU’s main funding programme for research and innovation. This agreement represents an important milestone in the efforts to promote mutual collaboration in research and innovation between Canada and Europe.
Von der Leyen, on the sidelines of the meeting, said: “We warmly welcome Canada to the Horizon Europe family and look forward to the revolutionary innovations and transformative discoveries that will emerge from our joint projects. Together, we will explore new frontiers, push the boundaries of knowledge and build a more resilient and prosperous world for future generations.”
The Association Agreement is expected to be signed in 2024, pending the completion of all necessary validations on both sides. After signing, researchers and organisations in Canada will be able to receive funding under Pillar II of Horizon Europe. Pillar II is the most collaborative part of the programme, focusing mainly on shared global challenges: climate, energy, digital economy and health, with a budget of EUR 53.5 billion.
Horizon Europe: an innovative programme for a global future
Horizon Europe is the EU’s largest research and innovation programme, with an EU budget of EUR 95.5 billion for the period 2021-2027, supplemented by financial contributions from associated countries. It is open to the world, which means that participants from all over the world can participate in almost any call. Entities from associated countries have additional opportunities in collaborative projects and are treated on an equal footing with entities from EU Member States in terms of access to funds.
The association with Horizon Europe represents the deepest form of collaboration offered by the EU in research and innovation. It will allow researchers and organisations in Canada to collaborate on calls under Pillar II of the programme on equal terms with entities in EU Member States. They will also have access to networks of researchers in the EU and 18 other countries associated with Horizon Europe from 2024.
Background: a history of collaboration
Formal relations between the EU and Canada in the field of research and innovation date back to 1996, with the signing of the Agreement on Scientific and Technological Cooperation. That agreement provided the general framework for cooperation and acted as a forum for regular discussions on research priorities and areas of common interest.
This new agreement between Canada and the EU not only strengthens existing collaboration, but also opens up new ways for research and innovation, bringing benefits not only to the two players involved but also to the entire global science and technology community. Through this partnership, we aim to address and solve some of the most pressing global challenges by harnessing the strength and diversity of expertise present in both regions. At a time when international cooperation is more crucial than ever, this agreement marks a significant step towards a more collaborative and innovative future.
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