Republic of Korea to join Horizon Europe programme

Korea will join the growing group of countries associated to Horizon Europe, the EU research and innovation programmeKorea will join the growing group of countries associated with Horizon Europe, the EU research and innovation programme. Horizon Europe is the biggest EU research and innovation programme ever with a budget of €95.5 billion for the period 2021-27, complemented by the financial contributions from associated countries. It is open to the world, which means that participants from all over the world can participate in nearly all calls. Entities from associated countries have additional opportunities in collaborative projects and are treated on par with the entities of EU Member States regarding the access to funds.

Iliana Ivanova, Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, and Lee Jong Ho, Korean Minister for Science and Information and Communication Technology have concluded negotiations on Korea’s association, marking a significant milestone in our commitment to foster mutual collaboration in research and innovation.

The signing of the Association Agreement is expected to take place in the second half of 2024, pending the completion of all necessary ratification procedures on both sides. This will enable Korea’s participation in Horizon Europe as of 2025.

Once signed, researchers and organisations in Korea will be able to receive funding under Pillar II of the Horizon from 2025 onwards. Pillar II is the largest collaborative part of the programme, which is primarily focused on shared global challenges: climate, energy, digital economy, and health, with a budget of €53.5 billion.

The association to Horizon Europe is a key instrument of Europe’s global approach to cooperation in research and innovation in 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.

Association to the EU’s Horizon Europe is the closest form of international cooperation in science and technology between the EU and a non-EU country. Traditionally, this form of cooperation was offered by the Union to countries in its geographic proximity. However, the Horizon Europe programme introduced a major change of the approach towards international research and innovation cooperation, introducing for the first time the possibility of association of like-minded countries with a strong science, innovation, and technology profile, not necessarily located in the geographic proximity of the EU.

Cooperation between the EU and the Republic of Korea in research and innovation is governed by the Agreement for Scientific and Technological Cooperation, which entered into force in 2007, and is monitored and guided by the Joint Committee on Scientific and Technological Cooperation.

Korea formally expressed its interest to associate to Horizon Europe by submitting a Letter of Intent during the 7th meeting of the Joint Science & Technology Cooperation Committee that took place in Seoul on 14 February 2022.