New Zealand enters EU Horizon Europe programme

10 Jul 2023

Image: © Joshua Daniels/

This new partnership will give New Zealand researchers access to the Horizon Europe’s massive budget, along with new collaboration opportunities.

New Zealand has officially become an associate member of the EU’s Horizon Europe programme, giving its researchers access to new funding and collaboration options.

Horizon Europe is the EU’s key funding programme for research and innovation, with a budget of more than €95bn to fund scientific endeavours across EU member states.

The association status means researchers and organisations New Zealand can participate in Pillar II of the programme, a collaboration effort focused on global challenges such as energy, mobility, digital, space, health and the climate crisis.

The European Commission said New Zealand researchers will be able to collaborate on “equal terms” with those from EU member states, along with access to funding and networks of researchers to collaborate with.

This marks the first association with a close partner that is not geographically close to Europe. The Commission said this marks a new approach, as the EU works to strengthen its ties with partners that have a “solid scientific base and a robust research track record”.

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said New Zealand is close to the EU in “many other ways”, such as its 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,” von der Leyen said.

The EU and New Zealand also signed a free trade agreement, which is expected to cut roughly €140m in duties for EU companies in its first year, according to the Commission. This deal was agreed yesterday (9 July) and has been submitted to the European Parliament for its consent.

UK poised for re-entry

Meanwhile, the UK is expected to finally rejoin Horizon Europe as soon as tomorrow (11 July), following years of failed negotiations. The aftermath of Brexit left many UK researchers on uncertain footing for the future, but diplomatic sources told media outlets last week that a deal had been reached on the specifics of the UK’s rekindled membership.

Officials told Politico that the UK will rejoin Horizon Europe and the Copernicus Earth observation programme, but not the Euratom’s nuclear energy R&D scheme.

Ireland was one of the countries majorly hit by the UK’s departure from Horizon because of significant research ties between the two countries. Some research bodies in Ireland have even urged the Government to speed up and help finalise the UK’s involvement with Horizon.

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Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic