Within the framework of Horizon Europe’s global approach to Research and Innovation, on 18 October the government of New Zealand have begun formal negotiations with the European Commission about the country joining the Horizon Europe programme as a fully associated member. While New Zealand is already participated in Horizon 2020 as a third party member, full association will open up new avenues for cooperation. The country formally expressed its interest to join Horizon in 2021.
However, with other countries for which Horizon association could be beneficial – namely the United Kingdom and Switzerland – the situation remains unclear, which sends them looking for alternatives. One such is the recently signed bilateral research deal between the two countries, whose progress on association with the Horizon programme remains at a standstill despite calls from the international research community, supported by EuChemS as well. The United Kingdom aims to strengthen cooperation with Switzerland in “deep science” and “deep tech” via joint initiatives, exchange of information and conferences. While cooperation is always welcome, the scientific community from the concerned countries emphasize that this is not a substitute for Horizon, the association with would be by far the best outcome. In addition, the lack of concrete actions in the deal, that takes the form of a “Memorandum of Understanding” is also a point of criticism.