The European Union (EU) adopted the Horizon Europe 2023-2024 work program in December 2022, endowed with around €13.5 billion to help researchers and innovators in Europe seek breakthrough solutions to environmental challenges, energy, digital and geopolitics. Horizon Europe is the EU main programme for funding research and innovation.
The 2021 Communication ‘Renewed partnership with the Southern Neighbourhood – A new agenda for the Mediterranean,’ relaunched the EU cooperation with its neighbours aiming to realise the untapped potential of a shared region. In June 2022, the EU together with the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) countries endorsed at the highest political level, at the UfM research and innovation Ministerial, the roadmaps on common research and innovation priorities, of Climate Change, Health, and Renewable Energies. In line with roadmaps, Horizon Europe work programme for 2023-2024 includes 37 topics with a budget of around €320 million under calls for proposals that are particularly relevant for cooperation with the Mediterranean region.
In that context, the EU in collaboration with the UfM organized an event on Monday to bring together multiple research and innovation stakeholders in the Euro-Mediterranean region to learn about the new calls and cooperation opportunities; as well as seize the opportunity to network with Research & Innovation (R&I) stakeholders from across the two shores of the Mediterranean.
The event was inaugurated by H.E. Ambassador Cristian Berger, Head of the European Union to Egypt, Ms. Maria Cristina Russo, Director of Global Approach & International Cooperation in Research and Innovation, European Commission, H.E. Dr. Ayman Ashour, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research and H.E. Nasser Kamel, Secretary General of the UfM. The audience were also addressed by a video message by Ms. Signe Ratso, Acting Director General of DG Research and Innovation at the European Commission
In her video message, Ms Ratso highlighted that ‘The EU Global Approach to Research and Innovation has also strengthened our long-term regional cooperation with the Mediterranean countries through the creation of sustainable economies linking scientific and technological innovation with employment opportunities’.
Director Russo highlighted that, ‘The European Union’s approach is to enhance multilateral cooperation and have special openness vis-à-vis the countries of the Mediterranean that wish to transform their economies into a knowledge-based economy. Our cooperation with Africa and the Mediterranean is indeed experiencing a real positive momentum after years of intense work with our direct counterparts, in particular the African Union-AU and the Union for the Mediterranean-UfM’.
Ambassador Berger said ‘Research and innovation have always been among the main pillars of the EU cooperation with Egypt. It is a sector of successful and clear cross cutting initiatives covering co-operation priorities in the region. I hope researchers and innovators from all the Mediterranean Partner countries seize the opportunities of collaboration with EU researchers under the currently open and future calls and funding opportunities.“
The event was attended by more than 250 researchers and innovators from all over the Mediterranean region and more than 700 online participants.