The European Commission has updated this year’s Horizon Europe programme to provide financial and career supports for researchers fleeing the war in Ukraine.
The European Commission has increased the budget for its Horizon Europe Work Programme 2021-2022 by almost €562m to support the region’s innovation ecosystem and tackle digital, green and health challenges.
The total budget for the research and innovation programme for 2021 and 2022 now stands at almost €16bn.
As well as the budget increase, the EU has also made several adjustments to the programme, chief among them new measures to support researchers affected by the war in Ukraine.
A new scheme called MSCA4Ukraine has been allocated a budget of €25m to support displaced academics from Ukraine. The programme is part of the existing Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) programme for doctoral education and postdoctoral training.
It will enable Ukrainians to continue their work in academic or non-academic organisations in EU member states and countries associated with Horizon Europe. It will also allow them to re-establish themselves in Ukraine when possible to rebuild the country’s research and innovation capacity.
Researchers’ families will be supported in line with other MSCA programmes.
In March, the European Commission launched a dedicated portal for Ukraine-based researchers as well as researchers fleeing the country, called the European Research Area for Ukraine portal. This provides information on initiatives at EU level to help affected researchers.
“Ukrainian excellence in research deserves our support in these extremely difficult times,” said Mariya Gabriel, the commissioner for innovation, research, culture, education and youth.
“With MSCA4Ukraine, we will further strengthen the solidarity and scientific cooperation between the EU and Ukraine, and make sure Ukrainian researchers can continue their work.”
As part of the amendment to Horizon Europe, legal entities established in Russia, Belarus or in non-government controlled territories of Ukraine will not be eligible to participate in actions supported by the EU research programme.
In addition to the supports for Ukrainian academics, the updated Horizon Europe includes the continuation of WomenTechEU.
This programme, which offers coaching and mentorship opportunities to women deep-tech founders to help them overcome industry bias, will see its budget tripled to support more than 100 women-led start-ups. Three Irish start-ups – Xtremedy Medical, Kids Speech Labs and Konree Innovation – were picked to take part in the programme’s pilot in March of this year.
The European Commission and the European Investment Bank (EIB) have also signed a guarantee agreement. This will see the Commission will support up to €26.7bn of EIB financial operations to enable public investments in sectors such as clean energy, digital and transport infrastructure, health and education over the next seven years.
10 things you need to know direct to your inbox every weekday. Sign up for the Daily Brief, Silicon Republic’s digest of essential sci-tech news.