Brussels, 16 May 2014
Iceland and Norway sign up to join Horizon 2020
Iceland and Norway on Friday became the first non-EU countries to associate to Horizon 2020, the seven-year EU research and innovation programme launched in January. The decision, taken at a meeting of the European Economic Area (EEA) Joint Committee, takes effect from the beginning of Horizon 2020 allowing these two countries' researchers and companies to participate on the same basis as their counterparts in the EU. In return, the two countries will contribute financially to Horizon 2020, the biggest ever EU research and innovation programme with a budget of nearly €80 billion.
Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, said: "I am delighted that our excellent cooperation with Iceland and Norway will continue through their association to Horizon 2020. Science is global, as are the many challenges we face that we can only solve through research and innovation. This is why we have to work together, and why we hope to associate many more countries to Horizon 2020.”
These two EEA/EFTA countries bring to Horizon 2020 and to the EU an excellent science base and clear strengths in specific fields. Norwegian scientists are addressing global challenges in areas such as the environment, climate change, oceans, food safety and energy research. Iceland has unique knowledge about geothermal energy production and its research capacities on climate change and marine biodiversity will also benefit Europe.
Norway has been associated to EU research and innovation programmes since 1987 and Iceland since 1994. Association of both countries takes place through an amendment to Protocol 31 of the EEA agreement1 and is effective retroactively to the beginning of Horizon 2020.
More than 2,350 Icelandic and Norwegian participants, including many small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), took part in the last EU programme (2007-13). Icelandic researchers were involved in 217 projects, receiving funding of nearly €70 million. Norwegian researchers contributed to more than 1,400 projects, receiving a total of €712 million.
Horizon 2020: http://ec.europa.eu/programmes/horizon2020/
International cooperation in Horizon 2020: http://ec.europa.eu/research/iscp/index.cfm