Council agrees on a global approach to research and innovation

Ministers today adopted Council conclusions on the global approach to research and innovation, ‘Europe’s strategy for international cooperation in a changing world’. In these conclusions, ministers identify key actions to strengthen the EU’s global role in research and innovation, with a strong focus on shared fundamental values and principles, with openness being balanced by prudence, and cooperation by reciprocity. The conclusions take into account the need for strategic autonomy and emphasise freedom of scientific research and gender equality.

The EU must be an attractive, inclusive, and gender-balanced environment for researchers, academics, entrepreneurs and students all around the world. Central to creating such an environment are the principles of openness, multilateralism, shared values and priorities, and knowledge circulation. This is what the Global Approach is all about.

Simona Kustec, Slovenian Minister for Education, Science and Sport

The conclusions encourage the creation, sharing and wide dissemination of knowledge for the benefit of society. Ministers state the importance of rules-based multilateral cooperation and dialogue when it comes to social, environmental, health, digital and economic challenges. To tackle these global challenges, ministers identify openness and international cooperation with third countries as essential factors.

The new global approach to research and innovation (R&I) sees the Horizon Europe programme as the central framework for the facilitation of international R&I cooperation. The conclusions aim for the continuous involvement of member states, and call for more cooperation with countries associated under Horizon Europe and with other third countries.

Ministers call upon the Commission and member states to be ‘as open as possible and as closed as necessary’ in their discussions with global partners, who are considered essential in international R&I cooperation. Ministers also call upon the Commission to explore the set-up of mechanisms for cooperation in the fields of science, innovation and cultural diplomacy, and emphasise the need to protect researchers whose freedom of scientific research is under threat.

The Global Approach will be implemented through:

  • mobilising science, technology and innovation
  • tailoring the EU’s bilateral cooperation in R&I in an open manner
  • initiatives developed and modelled on a Team Europe approach

Next steps

The Council is expected to adopt Council conclusions on the governance of the European Research Area (ERA) by the end of 2021, which articulate governance and the monitoring of procedures of the ERA, including in the area of international R&I cooperation.

In early 2022, there will be an international conference to launch a multilateral dialogue involving key international partners on shared fundamental principles and values in international R&I cooperation.

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