EU and Canada launch formal negotiations for association to Horizon Europe

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article is brought to you in association with the European Commission.

Today, another milestone towards deeper science collaboration between the European Union and Canada has been achieved: the Commission and the Canadian Government are launching formal negotiations for Canada to join Horizon Europe.

Association to Horizon Europe is the strongest form of collaboration offered by the EU in the area of research and innovation. It will enable researchers and organisations in Canada to collaborate in the programme on equal terms with entities from the EU Member States. They will also have access to Horizon Europe funding and networks of researchers in Europe and beyond aimed to tackle global challenges, such as climate change, energy and health.

The Horizon Europe programme introduced a major redesign of the approach towards international research and innovation cooperation, giving for the first time the possibility of association of other third like-minded countries with a strong science, innovation and technology profile, not necessarily located in the geographic proximity of the EU.

The association to Horizon Europe is a key instrument of Europe’s global approach to cooperation in research and innovationin an increasingly changing and volatile world. It reconfirms the EU commitment to driving excellence, pooling resources for faster scientific progress, developing vibrant innovation ecosystems and promoting global openness that is also strategic and reciprocal.

Next Steps

The negotiations will proceed in the coming weeks and months with the goal of finding an agreement by spring 2023. It is the ambition of the two sides to have Canada formally associated to Horizon Europe in 2023.


Formal relations between the EU and Canada in the field of research and innovation date back to 1996, with the signature of the Agreement on cooperation in scientific and technological cooperation. The Agreement has provided the general framework for cooperation and acted as a forum for regular discussions about research priorities and areas of common interest ever since.

Following the Statement by President von der Leyen in June 2021, today Canada has expressed its willingness to enter the association negotiating phase. In preparation for the discussions, the Canadian government has been consulting with their research community, and the prospect of association to the programme has been perceived overwhelmingly favourable.

Horizon Europe is the biggest EU research and innovation programme ever with a budget of €95.5 billion. It is open to the world, which means that participants from all over the world can participate in most calls. Entities from associated countries have additional opportunities in collaborative projects and are treated on par with the entities of EU Member States with regard to the access to funds.

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