Horizon Europe in talks to formally accept Canada as a member in 2023

30 Nov 2022

Image: © anderm/Stock.adobe.com

When it comes to funding calls, Canadian academics could be recognised on par with EU member states’ academics if the country joins Horizon Europe.

The European Commission has entered into negotiations with the Canadian government for Canada to join Horizon Europe.

Horizon Europe is the name given to the EU’s network of research and innovation initiatives. It is a successor to Horizon 2020, and for the period from 2021 until 2027 it has a €95.5bn budget.

While applications to most of Horizon Europe’s funding calls are open to researchers anywhere, the EU’s intent to negotiate with Canada signals a major development for academics and research institutions in both regions.

By associating formally with the EU’s main research network, Canadian academics will be able to work on equal terms with the EU member states. They will be treated on a par with academics from member states should the formal association go ahead.

Commenting on his government’s efforts to formalise its partnership with the EU in research and innovation, François-Philippe Champagne, Canada’s minister for innovation, science and industry, said the move would enable Canada to “play a bigger part on the international stage, showcasing our national strengths in science, research and innovation”.

Address global challenges

He also said the move would enable Canadians to do more “to address global challenges”. This is a key part of Horizon Europe, which aims to use innovations in science, tech and other industries to tackle issues from the climate crisis to chronic health conditions.

“It is crucial to build on our partnerships with like-minded countries to deliver the greatest impact and make Canadian researchers, innovation players and businesses shine internationally,” Champagne added.

According to the European Commission, the goal is to have Canada formally associated to Horizon Europe in 2023. For this to happen, the two sides will need to come to an agreement by spring of next year. Negotiations will take place over the coming weeks and months.

“I’m glad that today sees the start of the negotiations for the association agreement with Canada. Together we will attract investment, develop talents, support start-ups and create the necessary conditions for growth,” said Mariya Gabriel, European commissioner for innovation, research, culture, education and youth.

She said the collaboration would benefit EU citizens. Earlier this year, there was concern from UK academics after the EU blocked UK researchers from accessing Horizon Europe funding due to Brexit tensions.

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Blathnaid O’Dea was a Careers reporter at Silicon Republic until 2024.