Horizon Europe Welcomes Canada as Newest Member of the Research Program; Collaboration Anticipates Innovations, Breakthroughs


In a recent development, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced that Canada is set to join Horizon Europe, the European Union's esteemed €95.5 billion program dedicated to research and innovation. Trudeau shared this momentous news during a televised statement before the Canada-EU summit, marking the successful conclusion of negotiations between Ottawa and Brussels on association.

Horizon Europe Welcomes Canada as Newest Member of the Research Program; Collaboration Anticipates Innovations, Breakthroughs
(Photo : UNSPLASH / Jason Hafso )

Strengthening Ties in Research, Innovation, Climate Change, and Digital Technologies

EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and EU Council President Charles Michel, alongside Trudeau, are scheduled to unveil "five big steps" fostering closer collaboration in research, innovation, climate change, and digital technologies during the Canada-EU summit. Trudeau emphasized the significance of this partnership, stating, "This is about some of the best friends in the world, rolling up our sleeves and working together to build a better future."

Among the five significant collaborative initiatives, Canada's association with Horizon Europe stands out as a key milestone. Trudeau hailed Horizon Europe as the "greatest research and innovation mechanism in the world," showcasing the mutual commitment to advancing scientific frontiers. The move is poised to deepen research ties and foster innovation on both sides of the Atlantic.

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Comprehensive Collaboration: Digital Partnership and Carbon Pricing Challenge

Beyond Horizon Europe, the leaders will delve into a digital partnership focusing on artificial intelligence and resilient international connectivity infrastructure. Moreover, the EU will join Canada's global carbon pricing challenge, a commitment initiated by Trudeau at COP26. As climate change intensifies, this collaboration aims to address challenges collectively.

In a strategic move, Canada will manufacture specialist firefighting planes, known as "water bombers," tailored for the EU market. This initiative is a response to the escalating threat of wildfires fueled by extreme heat. Trudeau's announcement underscores the commitment to shared solutions in tackling environmental challenges.

Reflecting on Canada's past success, in Horizon 2020, the predecessor to Horizon Europe, Canada ranked third among non-associated third countries. With 391 grants, Canada showcased its prowess in collaborative research within the EU framework. The EU-Canada summit will explore avenues to expand Canada's participation under Horizon Europe.

Optimism Amid Global Challenges

The decision for Canada to join Horizon Europe aligns with EU Commissioner for Research and Innovation Iliana Ivanova's commitment to fortify international research cooperation. Amid evolving geopolitics and cautious strategies due to sensitive technologies, the EU's approach has shifted from the idealistic "open to the world" to the pragmatic "as open as possible, as closed as necessary."

Navigating the complexities of international collaboration, the association strategy for Horizon Europe has faced challenges, with a more reserved stance to balance openness and caution. Recent geopolitical shifts, including the Ukraine war and concerns about technology leakage, have influenced the EU's approach to forming partnerships.

The announcement of Canada's association with Horizon Europe follows a series of positive developments in EU collaborations. The agreement with the UK in September after post-Brexit negotiations and potential talks with Switzerland signal a renewed momentum for international research cooperation. As Canada joins Horizon Europe, it exemplifies a commitment to advancing knowledge, innovation, and addressing global challenges collaboratively.

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