The agreement associating Georgia to Horizon 2020 was signed today on behalf of the European Commission by Carlos Moedas, European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, and Tamar Sanikidze, Georgian Minister for Education and Science.
Commissioner Carlos Moedas said: "I am very pleased to welcome Georgia into Horizon 2020 , the world's largest public funding programme for research and innovation. EU research, science and innovation is open to the world for collaboration and we value working together with our partners to invest in knowledge and innovation for the future. Georgia's association will bring a diversity of expertise and ideas, enriching our international research cooperation."
Johannes Hahn, Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations said: "The full association of Georgia into Horizon 2020 will allow its enterprises and research institutions to become even more competitive and resilient. Georgia is an important partner for the EU and a frontrunner of the Eastern Partnership: extending Horizon 2020 to Georgia is a further, concrete sign of our commitment to closer political association and economic integration with the country."
This Agreement allows for Georgia's enhanced cooperation with the EU in research and innovation, which are vital for successful and modern economies. It shows the commitment of the Union to develop the scientific and innovation capacity of its associated partners. It also represents another step towards reaching the EU goal of opening research and innovation to the world.
Georgian research institutes, universities and individual researchers will now have access to all opportunities offered by Horizon 2020 that funds diverse scientific areas, from blue sky research to demonstration projects. Georgian SMEs and businesses will also be able to benefit from increased support to develop new ideas and bring products and services to the market.
With a budget of €77 billion for 2014-2020, Horizon 2020 is the largest multinational programme dedicated to research and innovation. Until now, Georgia participated in Horizon 2020 as a third country. Association covers the years 2016-2020 and opens up new opportunities to the country's universities, research institutions and enterprises.
In the Seventh framework programme (2007-13), which preceded Horizon 2020, Georgian organisations participated in 49 signed projects. In Horizon 2020, they already participate in eight projects.
- The EU is increasingly supporting Georgia in its commitment to reforms, with the assistance to Georgia now around €100 million a year (for a total of up to €410 million of bilateral assistance for the 2014-2017 period). EU support focuses on agriculture and rural development, public administration and justice. EU-Georgia agreements, visa liberalisation process and civil society are also supported. The 2015 EU assistance package to Georgia contained two major sectoral support programmes in the areas of Public Administration Reform and the 2nd phase of the European Neighbourhood Programme for Agriculture and Rural Development (ENPARD). Under the incentive based approach, Georgia has also benefitted every year since 2012 from additional funds under the 'More for More' umbrella fund, from which in 2015 Georgia received an additional allocation of €10 million.
*other Horizon 2020 associated countries.