International Cooperation

Open to the World

Commissioner Carlos Moedas has set three goals for EU research and innovation policy: Open Innovation, Open Science and Open to the World.

We need to be Open to the World! Europe is a global leader in science, and this should translate into a leading voice in global debates. To remain relevant and competitive, we need to engage more in science diplomacy and global scientific collaboration. It is not sufficient to only support collaborative projects; we need to enable partnerships between regions and countries.
Challenges in areas like energy, health, food and water are global challenges. And Europe should be leading the way in developing global research partnerships to address these challenges.

Commissioner Carlos Moedas, "A new start for Europe: Opening to an ERA of Innovation", Brussels, 22 June 2015

Fostering international cooperation in research and innovation is a strategic priority  PDF icon 110 KB for the European Union, as it allows:

  • access to the latest knowledge and the best talent worldwide
  • to tackle global societal challenges more effectively
  • to create business opportunities in new and emerging markets
  • to use science diplomacy as an influential instrument of external policy

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. Cooperation takes place in research and innovation projects, networking between projects, joint or coordinated calls and specific joint initiatives.

The European Commission is leading the way in many global research partnerships. Very often research and innovation to tackle societal challenges in areas like health, food, energy and water is best implemented through global multilateral initiatives where solutions can be developed and deployed more effectively. These multilateral initiatives are important to address EU commitments to international objectives like the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, COP21 or the WHO Resolutions, to reduce the global burden and pool resources for better results with greater impact.

Knowledge and technology should also circulate as freely as possible in a "Global Research Area". In order to enable researchers to work together smoothly across borders, e.g. on large-scale common challenges, the European Commission is working to address obstacles to efficient international cooperation by ensuring fair and equitable framework conditions. This includes issues such as reciprocal access to programmes, mechanisms for co-funding, mutual access to resources and efficient and fair intellectual property rights systems. To do so, the European Union concluded 20 Science & Technology (S&T) agreements  PDF icon 190 KB and maintains several policy dialogues with countries and regions across the globe.

Science and Technology can be instrumental in influencing and improving international relations and stability, opening channels of communication and building trust. Internationally agreed solid scientific advice and technical information is also essential for anticipating needs and events and for making informed, forward-looking policy decisions.