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Eastern partnership

Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine

News

19 May 2016

Armenia joins Horizon 2020 to work with EU in research and innovation

Photo from the signing
Carlos Moedas, Commissioner of Research, Science and Innovation, and Levon Mkrtchyan, Armenian Minister of Education and Science

The agreement associating Armenia to Horizon 2020 was signed today by Carlos Moedas, European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, and Levon Mkrtchyan, Armenian Minister for Education and Science.

Armenia has until now been able to participate in Horizon 2020 only as a third country. This means its entities have not counted towards the minimum number of participants required for a project, and have not had access to some important parts of the programme such as support to innovative businesses. Its representatives have not had access to key policy bodies.

Thanks to this agreement, its research institutes, universities and individual researchers will now have access to all opportunities offered by Horizon 2020 in diverse areas, from fundamental science to demonstration projects, on an equal footing with researchers and organisations from EU Member States and other countries associated to the programme. Armenian SMEs and businesses will also be able to benefit from increased support to develop new ideas and bring products and services to the market.

In the Seventh Framework Programme (2017-13), which preceded Horizon 2020, Armenian organisations participated in 35 signed projects. In Horizon 2020, they are already participating in five projects.

More information

29 April 2016

Georgia joins Horizon 2020, the EU's Research and Innovation Programme

Photo from the signing
Tamar Sanikidze and Carlos Moedas

The agreement associating Georgia to Horizon 2020 was signed today by Carlos Moedas, European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, and Tamar Sanikidze, Georgian Minister for Education and Science.

Researchers and innovators from Georgia will now be able to participate in Horizon 2020, the EU's framework programme for research and innovation, under the same conditions as their counterparts from EU Member States and other associated countries. Georgian research institutes, universities, individual researchers, SMEs and businesses will now have access to all opportunities offered by Horizon 2020.

The Agreement allows for Georgia's enhanced cooperation with the EU in research and innovation, which are vital for successful and modern economies. It shows the commitment of the Union to develop the scientific and innovation capacity of its neighbours in the Eastern European Partnership. And it also represents another step towards reaching the EU goal of opening research and innovation to the world.

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Policy background

The Eastern Partnership (EaP), launched at the Prague Summit of 7 May 2009, is a joint initiative of the EU and 6 Eastern European partner countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Republic of Moldova and Ukraine) that aims to bring Eastern European countries closer to the EU.

It builds on existing bilateral relations between the EU and its partner countries and represents the Eastern dimension of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP).

The EaP follows two parallel tracks: bilateral and multilateral. The bilateral dimension supports closer bilateral relations between EU and each Eastern partner country. The multilateral dimension provides a forum for dialogue and exchange, via thematic platforms and flagship initiatives and strengthens activities in support of the EU bilateral relationship with each of the Eastern European partners. Partnership with civil society and other stakeholders is also a key priority of the EaP.

Among the six EaP countries, Ukraine is the only country having a bilateral S&T Agreement with the EU.

At regional level, four multilateral policy platforms have been set up to deal with the topics of:

  • democracy, good governance and stability
  • economic integration and convergence with EU policies
  • energy security
  • contacts between people

Cooperation on research and innovation is addressed in the 4th platform, which also covers the fields of education, youth, culture and ICT. In view of addressing the bi-regional cooperation in research and innovation in an ad-hoc format, a dedicated Panel on research and innovation, attached to the 4th platform was launched on 13 November 2013. This new EaP Panel on research and innovation gathers senior officials and experts from Member States and Eastern European partner countries, as well as the Committee of the Regions and the EaP Civil Society Forum.

The Panel creation is in direct line with the development of a Common Knowledge and Innovation Space (CKIS), set as a key political objective of the ENP review of May 2011. The CKIS is indeed meant to cover policy dialogue, national and regional capacity-building, cooperation in research and innovation, increased mobility opportunities for students, researchers and academics.

All EaP countries have a long tradition of scientific excellence, but have faced a dramatic decrease of their R&D intensity since the early 90s.

That led to the shutting down or reorientation of many research branches as well as a significant decrease in the number of researchers.

Because of the difficulties they are facing, all countries have launched ambitious national strategies to modernise and boost their research and innovation systems, notably through improving conditions for encouraging business activities and commercialization of R&D outcomes. This resulted in recent years in the emergence of many technology parks and incubators and reforms concerning venture funding or IPRs. It is in this context of on-going policy reforms that new dynamics exist for intensifying the bi-regional cooperation.

Cooperation between the Eastern Partnership and the EU on Research and Innovation:
State of Play

There has been a total of 535 participations from EaP countries in 427 projects in FP7, representing a total contribution from the EU budget to those partners of EUR 45.46 million. This is, however, largely dominated by Ukraine, having alone a total of 273 participations for a total contribution from the EU budget of EUR 26.68 million.

Priorities for the future
A double approach is proposed for identifying priorities for future cooperation with EaP countries:

  1. common societal challenges, like
    - health, demographic change and well-being
    - Climate action, or
    - secure, clean and efficient energy
  2. cross-cutting issues to address in priority in order to improve the cooperation framework conditions. Including:
    − Sharing best practices between EU Member States and EaP countries in research and innovation management and establish a regional evaluation platform
    − Providing technical assistance and training to support EaP countries in improving their national research and innovation systems
    − Promoting researchers mobility and common use of research infrastructures, notably through the creation of a regional network of Centres of Excellence that could potentially be connected to ESFRI (the European Strategic Forum on Research Infrastructures)
    − Promoting the link between state-of-the-art EU initiatives such as research-intensive clusters and technology platforms with similar structures in EaP countries, and enhancing the participation of EaP countries private companies in these structures

 

Projects

Black Sea Horizon (2015-2018)
The Black Sea Horizon (BSH) project has 3 main objectives:

  • to support the EU’s external relations with the Black Sea region by significantly contributing to ongoing bi-regional and regional STI policy dialogues, and by increasing the knowledge base about the EU’s external environment
  • to stimulate bi-regional STI cooperation and to strengthen the EU’s economic competitiveness
  • to contribute to the establishment of supportive framework conditions by facilitating the pooling of resources and by identifying challenging thematic areas for mutual STI cooperation

 

IncoNet EaP (2013-2016)
The project aims to support the advancement of the bi-regional Science, Technology, and Innovation policy dialogue between the EU and the Eastern Partnership Countries, with an explicit focus on Climate Change, Energy and Health.

 

 

Framework Documents

Projects

Contacts

European Commission
DG Research and Innovation
Thierry Devars & Stephen Sadler
Policy Officers
Unit RTD C.3 European Neighbourhood, Africa and the Gulf

Email:
Thierry Devars
Stephen Sadler