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17 December 2014
The Faroe Islands sign their association to Horizon 2020

Photo from the ceremony

The European Union and the Faroe Islands have signed today (17 December 2014) the agreement to associate the archipelago to Horizon 2020. This brings the number of countries associated to the EU's new research funding programme to twelve.

The participation of the Faroe Islands in Horizon 2020 is effective from 1 January 2014. This means that legal entities from the Faroe Islands can participate on an equal footing with research entities from the EU Member States in project consortia that respond to calls for proposals under Horizon 2020. The Faroe Islands will also contribute financially to Horizon 2020.

The Faroe Islands are strategically located close to the Union, in the gateway between the Norwegian Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean. Their association will allow research entities and researchers from the Faroes to get access to the biggest public research and innovation programme in the world. Through combined forces, we will be able to more efficiently address societal challenges that affect us all, not least in the field of sustainable utilisation of marine resources.


The Faroe Islands have since 1 January 2010 been associated to the previous framework programme for research and innovation – FP7. The participation of the Faroe Islands has been very successful although they only became associated half way through the Programme. During this period, the Faroe Islands have gained access to large international research networks, and the European research community has benefited from the excellent input of Faroese researchers. The areas where participation has been most noticeable include food, agriculture and fisheries, biotechnology and environment, in particular marine environment, aquaculture and climate change.

One of the FP7 projects with participation from the Faroe Islands is the THOR project. For four years, “Thermohaline Overturning: At Risk?” (THOR) explored the dynamics of the North Atlantic thermohaline ocean circulation (THC) that transports heat from the tropics to the shores of Europe, which strongly influences Europe's moderate climate. The Faroe Marine Research Institute (Havstovan) participated in a consortium of 21 scientific groups from nine European countries. Together, they studied the stability of this oceanic circulation and quantified its impact on the regional climate. It was launched after research has suggested that the THC may be slowing down, which could have dramatic effects on climate, in particular in Northern Europe.

More information


5 December 2014
Switzerland signs its association to Horizon 2020, Euratom Programme and the ITER project

Photo from the ceremony

The European Union and Switzerland signed on 5 December a comprehensive international agreement associating Switzerland to parts of Horizon 2020, Research and Training Programme of Euratom and the ITER project. This will see Switzerland participate in project consortia in eligible programmes on an equal footing with EU Member States, while financially contributing to these programmes with an estimated €400 million until the end of 2016.

Commenting on the signature of the agreement, Carlos Moedas, European Commissioner for Science, Research and Innovation said: “This agreement is of paramount importance for our scientific communities. EU researchers benefit from access to excellent Swiss research facilities and institutions. At the same time, access to schemes for researcher mobility like Marie Skłodowska-Curie or to excellent research in programmes like ERC and Future and Emerging Technologies is vital for the Swiss. Furthermore, with this agreement Switzerland renews its commitment towards our long standing and fruitful collaboration.”

As part of the Horizon 2020 programme, Swiss beneficiaries will be able to participate with an associated status in actions under the "Excellent Science" pillar, which contains the European Research Council, Future and Emerging Technologies, Research Infrastructures and the Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions as well as in actions under the specific objective “Spreading excellence and widening participation”. In addition, Switzerland will also participate as an associated country in the Euratom Programme and the ITER project.

The participation of Switzerland is effective from 15 September 2014 until 31 December 2016.

More information


27 / 29 / 31 October 2014
Information Days on US research funding opportunities for Europeans (Brussels, Oslo and Berlin)

BILAT - USA 2.0 Logo

Three information days on “US research funding opportunities for Europeans” will take place in Brussels on 27 October, Oslo on 29 October and Berlin on 31 October, from 10am – 4pm.

The events are organised within the BILAT USA 2.0 project, funded by the European Union under FP7, with the aim to enhance EU-US Science and Innovation cooperation.

The US is one of the top-ranked countries in technology, innovation and Research & Development expenditure. Many European individual researchers and institutions have developed strong research links with US researchers and their institutions. However, some opportunities within US federal funding programs, such as National Institutes of Health (NIH) and National Science Foundation (NSF) may not be well-known in Europe.

European researchers and research managers may not be familiar with the specific application processes and grants management procedures required by US federal research funding agencies. Therefore, these workshops will:
• Promote awareness of US federal research funding opportunities for European researchers
• Strengthen European institutions’ expertise in applying for and managing US research funds
• Provide case studies of research collaboration between US and European institutions

Topics that will be discussed with experts are:
• US Federal Research Funding – How to Apply, with specific focus on NIH and NSF
• Managing US Federal Research Awards with specific focus on NIH and NSF: What a European Institution Needs to Know
• Case Studies of Transatlantic Research Collaboration from a European perspective

BILAT USA 2.0 is including the following experts:
Vivian Holmes, Director, Sponsored Research Operations, Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, and President, National Council of University Research Administrators (NCURA)
Patricia Hawk, Director, Office of Sponsored Programs, Oregon State University, and Immediate Past President, NCURA
Eva Björndal, Post-Award and Financial Compliance Team Leader, Karolinska Institute, and Chair of NCURA’s International Region
Regina Notz, Senior Research Manager, ETH Zürich / University of Zürich

The workshops address the whole European research community:researchers, research managers, administrators etc.

Registration for the workshops is free of charge. Please note that spaces are limited and a pre-registration is required via the following links:

Visit the USA page


15 September 2014
EU Israel Innovation Seminar Tel Aviv – The Place of Venture Capital in the Innovation Ecosystem

Photo from the event
The first panel of the EU Israel Innovation Seminar included Israeli and EU VC partners

Over 120 people attended the fourth annual EU-Israel Innovation Seminar on 15 September in Tel Aviv. This year’s seminar took place in the framework of the DLD (Digital Life Design) Tel Aviv Innovation Festival and was organised by the EU Delegation together with the Association of Israel Advanced Technologies Industries and ISERD, the Israel Europe R&D Directorate. Close to 50 participants from 13 EU Member States joined their Israeli colleagues and EU trade and science counsellors for a day of brainstorming on the role of venture capitalists in the Innovation Ecosystem. VC, «Angels», microfunds, start-ups, government and academia representatives compared and debated the latest venture capital and funding trends in Israel and the EU. The seminar was opened by Yossi Vardi, chair of the DLD Innovation Festival, Avi Hasson, Israel’s Chief Scientist and Lars Faaborg-Andersen, Head of the EU Delegation.


2-3 April 2014
EU-Africa Summit, Brussels

Photo from the summit
EU Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science Máire Geoghegan-Quinn and AU Commissioner for Human Resources Science and Technology Martial De-Paul Ikounga

The 4th EU-Africa Summit brought together more than 60 EU and African Heads of State and Government, the President of the European Council, the President of the European Commission, the President of the African Union and the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, to discuss the future of EU-Africa relations. The theme of the Summit was "Investing in People, Prosperity and Peace", with the objective of addressing common challenges and bringing concrete benefits to citizens in accordance with the Joint Africa-EU Strategy (JAES).

The EU and African leaders recognise in the Summit’s Declaration that investment in research, science, technology and innovation is fundamental in creating socio-economic development (articles 30 and 48). As for the roadmap (2014-2017), the conclusions of the EU-Africa High Level Policy Dialogue that took place in November 2013 have a prominent place in it (articles 30-32, 58). This proves that both the EU and Africa have convergent views on the enabling role of STI in creating growth and employment and that it deserves a prominent place in the EU's development policy.

EU Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science Máire Geoghegan-Quinn and AU Commissioner for Human Resources Science and Technology Martial De-Paul Ikounga met in the margins of the Summit, on 8 April. Among other issues the EU-Africa High Level Policy Dialogue on Science, Technology and Innovation, Horizon 2020, the African Union’s new Strategy on Science, Technology and Innovation (STISA 2024) and the second phase of the European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP2) were discussed.

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31 March - 1 April 2014
EU-Africa Business Forum, Brussels

Photo from the forum
The co-chairs Lucy Muchoki, CEO of Pan African Agribusiness and Agroindustry Consortium, and Emily Alpert, Deputy-Director of Agriculture for Impact

At the EU-Africa Business Forum (EABF), STI was an important item of discussion at several of the round-tables. For example, the renewable energy (RE) round-table highlighted the need for a stable regulatory framework and governmental support; the difficulty with scaling up proof-of-concept projects and the need for innovative financing, education and the adaptation and development of technologies specifically for Africa.

On raw materials, a call was made for the transformation of African industry based on innovation and the sustainable use of natural resources to ensure inclusive and sustainable economic growth. The importance of geological knowledge and skills was highlighted as well as access to geo-scientific data that are understandable, easy to use and digital.

The EC organised a roundtable on 'innovation serving food and nutrition security in Europe and Africa'. It was opened by Cristina Russo, Director for International Cooperation and Patrik Kolar, Head of Unit Agri-food chains (DG RTD) and closed by David Radcliffe, Policy Officer Agricultural Research and Innovation systems (DG DEVCO). The co-chairs Lucy Muchoki, CEO of Pan African Agribusiness and Agroindustry Consortium, and Emily Alpert, Deputy-Director of Agriculture for Impact chaired an interactive debate that raised issues such as the challenge of scaling innovation; the potential of multi-stakeholder and multi-disciplinary platforms; the importance of a favourable policy and regulatory environment; the need to learn from failure and the need for innovative and flexible funding mechanisms that allow for risk taking.

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9 February 2014
Commission launches Horizon 2020 in South Mediterranean region: "Meeting EuroMed Common Challenges" Conference

Photo of Dr. Lipiatou
Dr. Elizabeth Lipiatou addressing the participants during the opening session

The European Commission organized a regional conference on Sunday 9 February 2014 to launch Horizon 2020 in the EuroMed region. The conference, "Meeting EuroMed Common Challenges", brought together around 500 policy makers, researchers, representatives from academia and industry and research institutes, technology transfer centers, incubators, and technology platforms from the Euromed region. Participants and speakers came from all over the Euromed region, including Egypt, Spain, Italy, UK, Germany, Greece, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Jordan as well as representatives of the EC.

The opening session was addressed by Dr. Hazem Manosur, assistant Minister of Scientific research, and Dr. Elizabeth Lipiatou, Head of the Unit responsible for European Neighbourhood, Africa and Gulf countries at the Directorate General of Research and Innovation in the European Commission. The exhibition of success stories was opened by H.E. Prof. Ramzy George, Egyptian Minister of Scientific Research, and H.E. Ambassador James Moran, Head of European Union Delegation to Egypt.

Ambassador Moran said: "Horizon 2020 offers many opportunities for addressing EuroMed common societal challenges through cooperation in research and innovation. The programme will support scientists and researchers from courtiers across the two shores of the Mediterranean to work together. This is essential to social prosperity, political stability and economic sustainability, as well as the future prosperity of the region."

The conference succeeded in promoting Horizon 2020 and presenting its different components/programmes. Different parallel sessions at the conference initiated a dialogue and fostered knowledge sharing among stakeholders in different thematic areas of research and innovation. It also enabled policy makers, development organizations, research institutions and private sector to share their know-how, explore gaps and links between research and innovation, as well as develop an understanding of how research and innovation initiatives could create complementarities and synergies that allow leveraging potentials and addressing societal challenges in the region.

Proceedings of the conference will be posted on the conference website

Contact person:Dr. Heba Gaber, Delegation of the EU to Egypt


8 February 2014
Horizon 2020 Launch in Israel

Photo of DG Smits
DG Smits makes a point during the panel discussion

Horizon 2020 was officially launched in Israel on 3 February 2014 at the Open University in Ra'anana. The event, organised by ISERD, attracted over 400 participants from academia, government and the private sector.

The number of participants and the lively exchanges that took place during question time and in the corridors highlighted Israeli researchers' keen interest in Horizon 2020. Keynote speeches were given by EC Director General Robert-Jan Smits and Israel's Chief Scientist Avi Hasson. These were followed by presentations by John Bell, Director Bioeconomy and Jean-David Malo, Head of Unit SMEs, Financial- instruments and State Aid at DG Research and Innovation, and DG Enterprise's special advisor Khoen Liem.

The evening before the launch, a dinner was held at the Head of Delegation's residence which provided the opportunity to discuss Israeli research and innovation, and the ongoing and future cooperation with the EU, with guests who included government officials, academics, entrepreneurs, ERC laureates and Nobel Prize winner Ada Yonath. Robert-Jan Smits and John Bell also visited Israel's Agricultural Research Organization, the Volcani Centre, where they learned about the Ministry of Agriculture's involvement in applied agricultural research through close cooperation between farmers and researchers

For more information, please contact Alexandra Meir, EU Delegation in Tel Aviv.


Seminar 12-16 January 2014, Sakhnin
The Challenges of Water and Wastewater Treatment for Rural Areas

Photo from the event

Between 12 and 16 January 2014, over fifty Israelis, Palestinians and Jordanians gathered for an intensive technical seminar on wastewater treatment which was organized by the Towns Association for Environmental Quality – Agan Beit Natufa (TAEQ) and the Migal Galilee Research Institute. The seminar was held in TAEQ’s prize winning Green Building, in Sakhnin -North Israel, which came first in the 2006 EU Med Enec competition for energy efficiency in the construction sector. The participants included water specialists, academics, students, public authority representatives, civil society organisations and water technology companies. The seminar combined lectures, site visits, roundtables, as well as an exhibition and demonstration of the latest commercial technological developments.

The EU hosted a session devoted to water related projects funded under various EU programmes - the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7), the Cross Border Cooperation (Mediterranean Sea Basin), EU Partnership for Peace and SWIM (Sustainable Water Integrated Management). The session was opened by Ambassador Lars Faaborg-Andersen, Head of the EU Delegation to Israel, and its aim was to enhance the synergies between projects funded by different EU Programmes and enhance their impact. Topics ranged from the treatment of olive mill wastewater through climate change and water security to the management of transboundary water basins. A presentation was also given of the EU’s new research and innovation programme Horizon 2020 with a particular emphasis on the water sector and international cooperation activities. The seminar could be seen as a small but significant example of 'science diplomacy' where participants shared knowledge to address common challenges in the complex and strategic Middle East region.

Contact persons:
Angela Liberatore, Deputy HoU Unit C3 European Neighbourhood, Africa and the Gulf
Alexandra Meir, EU Delegation in Tel Aviv


12 December 2013
Horizon 2020 - Open to the World Launch Event

The Commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn will host an event for the international Diplomatic Corps accredited to the European Union to highlight the openness to the world of Horizon 2020, on the 12th of December, in Brussels.

International Cooperation will be an important cross-cutting priority of Horizon 2020, the new EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation. Horizon 2020 integrates research and innovation and it is the largest multinational programme of its kind, fully open to the participation of international partners.

Following the speech of the Commissioner, three researchers will testify what are the benefits and opportunities offered by the EU Framework programmes to the world.

Read more on the opportunities offered by Horizon 2020 here.

Video of launch event here.



International Research Update
issue 53, February 2015

  • The Commissioner visits CERN
  • ERC’s President travels to South Africa
  • EU meets US at the Transportation Research Board
  • Trilateral EU/US/Canada workshop on Arctic Research
  • Arab Forum for Scientific Research and Sustainable Development

February 2015  PDF icon

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