Korea becomes Horizon’s first Asian associate.

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Posted on March 26, 2024


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The European Union’s premier research and innovation initiative, Horizon Europe, has officially recognized Korea as an affiliated nation.

The nation of East Asia is among the first non-European countries to be granted associate membership for the program. In addition to Japan, Canada, and Australia, New Zealand became a member of the €95.5 billion initiative last year.

Iliana Ivanova, the EU’s commissioner for innovation, research, culture, education, and youth, stated, “I am happy to welcome Korea into the Horizon family.”

This is fantastic news for world research and innovation as well as a turning point in our partnership. When we work together, we can more successfully address global concerns.

Membership in the “largest multilateral research and innovation program in the world will open up greater opportunities for both Korea and the EU to enhance research competitiveness through joint research,” according to Lee Jong Ho, the minister of science and information and communication technology for Korea.

He said, “We are committed to finishing the procedures necessary to sign the association agreement by the end of this year, so that Korean researchers can begin participating in Horizon Europe in 2025 with an associated country status.”

It is anticipated that the associate nation agreement will be signed in the second half of 2024, subject to both parties finishing up their ratification processes.

In accordance with the agreement, Korean academics will be eligible to compete for financing under Horizon Pillar II, the program’s largest collaborative component that focuses on common global concerns, including energy, health, the digital economy, climate change, and energy. Horizon Pillar II has a budget of €53.5 billion.

In the past, the EU only granted cooperation to nations that were geographically close to it, but more recently, it has opened up membership chances to “like-minded countries” who have high profiles in research, innovation, and technology.

In the March 20 announcement of the Horizon Europe strategic plan 2025–27, the European Union included the EU Missions, nine new European research collaborations, and the New European Bauhaus Facility, among other 32 anticipated effects.

In order to “lead to a quicker and wider deployment of new approaches and technologies,” the missions seek to facilitate the implementation of policies and encourage widespread mobilization.

The statement delineated Horizon Europe’s methodology for international collaboration, emphasizing the significance of transparency while upholding research security.

According to the plan, alliances are the “strongest form of international cooperation,” and major allies will “strengthen alliances in the face of the ever-harsher geopolitical situation.”

Currently underway are projects in Africa, the Mediterranean, Latin America, and the Caribbean; furthermore, there are endeavors to bolster the R&I environment in Ukraine and collaborative research endeavors to bolster the execution of the EU-India Trade and Technology Council.

In the domains of global health, essential materials, and supply chains, “the pandemic and the global geopolitical situation have highlighted the interdependence between R&I ecosystems, countries, and regions,” the research stated.