How will International Cooperation be in H2020?

International Cooperation (IC) will continue being tackled as a main topic in the coming European Research and Innovation Framework Programme “Horizon 2020”. However, based on the available information, there are many novelties respect to the traditional models to support IC, while the main fact, the opening of the Programme to international participation, is maintained. For instance, the emphasis is put in the co-ownership to support projects of common interest between the EU and the third countries or regions.

Some specific tools, such as the implementation of art 185 of the Treaty, are implicitly suggested, while they keep all the actions “Marie Curie-Sklodowska” open to non-European participants, and favor the sharing use and/or creation of Research Infrastructures of common regional interest. Furthermore, the Societal Challenge “Europe in a Changing World” - one of the six societal challenges proposed by the Council - deserves special mention, as it faces the need of global and cooperative approaches to the World Challenges.

The latest proposal for a Council decision establishing the Specific Programme implementing H2020 – The Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (2014-2020), of December 11th, 2012 (17633/12), underlines that international cooperation with partners in third countries is necessary to address effectively many specific objectives defined in Horizon 2020, in particular those relating to Union external policies and international commitments. This is the case for all the societal challenges addressed by Horizon 2020, which are common in nature. 

Where appropiate, Horizon 2020 will promote cooperation at bi-regional or multilateral level, and however, the focus of international cooperation in this programme will be on cooperation with three major country groupings: industrialised and emerging economies; enlargement and neighbourhood countries; and developing countries. 

In addition, a range of targeted actions will be implemented taking a strategic approach to international cooperation on the basis of common interest, priorities and mutual benefit and promoting coordination and synergies with Member States activities. This will include a mechanism for supporting joint calls and the possibility of co funding programmes together with third countries or international organisations. 

Some of the concrete actions of the Proposal dealing with concrete aspects of IC are:

  • Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions will fund the best or most promising experienced researchers, regardless of their nationality, who want to develop their skills through a trans-national or international mobility experience. Possibilities to restart a research career after a break and to (re)integrate researchers into a longer term research position in Europe, including their country of origin, after a trans-national/international mobility experience will also be supported.
  • Research Infrastructures. Horizon 2020 will facilitate the efforts of Member States to optimise their research facilities by supporting an up-to-date EU-wide database on openly accessible research infrastructures in Europe. It will facilitate also the development of global research infrastructures i.e. research infrastructures that require funding and agreements on a global scale. The aim is also to facilitate the cooperation of European research infrastructures with their non-European counterparts, ensuring their global interoperability and reach, and to pursue international agreements on the reciprocal use, openness or co-financing of infrastructures.
  • Societal Challenge 6: Europe in a changing world – Inclusive, Innovative and Reflective Societies. Horizontal activities will ensure the strategic development of international cooperation across Horizon 2020 and address cross-cutting policy objectives such as developing activities to support bilateral, multilateral and biregional policy dialogues in research and innovation with third countries, regions, international fora and organisations; networking and twinning activities; promote coordination of Union and national cooperation policies and programmes as well as joint actions of Member States and Associated Countries with third countries.