Ukraine and the Horizon (2020)

March 21, 2015

Yesterday, Ukraine signed up to, and became a partner within the EU Horizon 2020 programme.  It won’t get any serious media coverage, if any – although it should.

Thus (pending EU parliamentary ratification that will surely come) post-signing, Ukrainian innovators, researchers and businesses can now participate fully in this €80 billion funded project.

Carlos Moedas, European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, and Serhiy Kvit, Minister of Education and Science of Ukraine

Carlos Moedas, European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, and Serhiy Kvit, Minister of Education and Science of Ukraine

That Ukraine has decided to invest its resources, knowledge, and intellectual capital, in striving to meet the common goals of the wider European science and technology community, will undoubtedly be of mutual benefit – not withstanding the obvious deeper scientific integration, politically desired by Kyiv.

The signing of this agreement provides Ukraine access to the entire spectrum of activities funded under Horizon 2020.  It therefore presents a wide range of new opportunities to Ukrainian research institutions, universities, and businesses, throughout the entire research, development, and innovation value chain.

Also, Ukraine can now host European Research Council (ERC) grants, apply for financial support to innovative SMEs, benefit from support for scientific excellence, other research policies, and participate in the governance structures of the programme.

Indeed, Ukraine has joined an EU flagship initiative with the clear objective of pushing ever forwards EU competitiveness through its emphasis on excellence in world class science.  This clearly matters to Ukraine having ratified the DCFTA – ergo, ’tis far better to be a proactive part of that on the inside, than to be disconnected and reactionary entity on the outside.

All jolly good.

But  just as importantly – perhaps more so – is that this is the very first EU programme that Ukraine has chosen to fully immerse itself in, since ratifying the Association Agreement with the EU.  It thus sends the very clear message that Ukraine, under current leadership at least, considers research and innovation crucial for economic growth and the creation of jobs – as well as European/EU integration.

(For those wondering, the second such EU programme Ukraine is likely to fully embrace is the Euratom Research and Training Programme.)

It is a very encouraging development.

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