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.

Strategy

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).

The Commission's strategy for international cooperation in research and innovation

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

Associated countries

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

List of countries associated to Horizon 2020

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.

List of countries with a bilateral science and technology agreement with the EU

Regional dialogues

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
Albania Israel Switzerland
Armenia Moldova Tunisia
Bosnia and Herzegovina Montenegro Turkey
Faroe Islands North Macedonia Ukraine
Georgia Norway
Iceland Serbia

Countries with bilateral science and technology (S&T) agreements with the EU Regional dialogues
Algeria Japan Africa
Argentina    Jordan South East Asia
Australia    Korea Central Asia
Brazil Mexico Eastern partnership
Canada    Morocco Latin America and Caribbean
Chile    New Zealand Mediterranean and Middle East
China    Russia Gulf countries
Egypt    South Africa Western Balkans
India    United States Pacific

Funding

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

For previous research and innovation programmes, please contact the research enquiries service

Project success stories

Stories of successful EU-funded research projects in international cooperation

Documents

Staff working document - Enhancing and Focusing EU International Cooperation in Research and Innovation: A Strategic Approach

Countries associated to Horizon 2020 framework programme

Countries with international agreements on science and technology

Online library of EU international cooperation research publications

Research and innovation policies and performances for countries associated to Horizon 2020 and  with bilateral science and technology agreements with the EU

Contact

European Commission

DG Research and Innovation Directorate H: International cooperation

National Contact Points

The National Contact Points (NCPs) provide guidance, practical information and assistance on all aspects of participation in Horizon 2020.

Research enquiry service

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.

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