Why is international cooperation important?
International cooperation in research and innovation is a strategic priority for the EU. It enables
- access to the latest knowledge and the best talent worldwide
- business opportunities in new and emerging markets
- science diplomacy to influence and enhance external policy
Multilateral research and innovation initiatives are the most effective way to tackle challenges facing our world - climate, health, food, energy and water - that are global by nature. Working together reduces the global burden, pools resources and achieves greater impact.
The Commission leads many global research partnerships. These partnerships are important for the EU to meet its international commitments like the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
A Staff Working Document provides further background information and analysis.
Strategy implementation reports:
The Strategic Forum for International scientific and technological Cooperation (SFIC) develops, implements and monitors the international dimension of the European Research Area.
Partner countries and regions
The EU maintains policy dialogues with countries and regions across the globe, through 3 different forms of cooperation
Association to the research and innovation framework programme is the closest form of cooperation with countries outside the EU. It makes it easier to work on and fund joint projects.
Association gives the legal entities from the associated country, as far as possible, the same access to actions and funding from the EU research and innovation programme as legal entities from EU countries. The associated country provides a financial contribution proportional to its GDP and on the basis of an international agreement with the EU.
In Horizon 2020, association is open to
- accession countries, candidate countries and potential candidates
- European Free Trade Association (EFTA) members
- countries or territories covered by the European Neighbourhood Policy that fulfil certain criteria
- countries or territories that were associated to the previous research and innovation programme
Bilateral science and technology agreements
The EU has bilateral agreements with 20 individual countries around the world. These agreements are based on common interests and priorities, aiming to increase cooperation in research and innovation.
Science and technology dialogues between the EU and other regions of the world combine policy dialogue with project-based and bottom-up cooperation.
Regional science cooperation seeks to find synergies with other EU policies and activities, and to complement EU countries' bilateral actions.
|Associated countries in Horizon 2020|
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||Montenegro||Turkey|
|Faroe Islands||North Macedonia||Ukraine|
|Countries with bilateral science and technology (S&T) agreements with the EU||Regional dialogues|
|Chile||New Zealand||Latin America and Caribbean|
|China||Russia||Mediterranean and Middle East|
|India||United States||South East Asia|
Horizon 2020, the EU's framework programme for research and innovation, is fully open to participants from across the world and with many topics specifically targeting international cooperation.
To check whether an entity from a particular third country is eligible for funding from Horizon 2020, please check the funding and tenders Horizon 2020 online manual
Projects and results
Research project database (CORDIS)
The Commission's primary portal for results of EU-funded research projects
Project success stories
Stories of successful EU-funded research projects in international cooperation
DG Research and Innovation Directorate H: International cooperation
The National Contact Points (NCPs) provide guidance, practical information and assistance on all aspects of participation in Horizon 2020.
You can contact the research enquiry service to find out more about research in Europe, the EU's research and innovation funding programmes as well as calls for proposals and project funding.