Ukrainian researchers will be able to take full advantage of the EU research fund, known as Horizon 2020, after the country signed up to its first EU programme.
Ukraine chose Horizon 2020 as its first programme after signing a broad Association Agreement last year, which enables it to build close economic and political ties with the EU.
Carlos Modeas, European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, and Serhiy Kvit, the Ukrainian Minister of Education and Science, signed the Horizon 2020 agreement in the Ukrainian capital Kiev on 20 March.
Commissioner Moedas said: ‘I am very pleased to welcome Ukraine into our EU research funding programme Horizon 2020. Ukraine’s great research and innovation potential offers promising partnerships for Europe.
‘Ukraine will now have access to the full spectrum of activities funded under Horizon 2020, helping spur its economy. I hope Ukraine will make the most of these opportunities.’
Now that it is an associated country to Horizon 2020, it joins states like Iceland, Turkey and Israel.
The Horizon 2020 accord comes against a backdrop of conflict and economic crisis in Ukraine. The hope is that this increased access to research funding, governance and policy tools will not only help boost the country’s research and development capacity, but also lead to stronger ties with the EU.
Ukraine’s areas of research expertise include physics, nuclear research, materials, food, aeronautics and space. Under the previous funding programme, where it was classed as a third country, which means its conditions for funding access were more restricted, Ukrainian researchers participated in 207 projects.
‘Ukraine’s great research and innovation potential offers promising partnerships for Europe.’
Carlos Modeas, European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation
One example is the LABOHR project, in which scientists from the Kiev National University of Technologies and Design took part in a consortium led by German researchers to design a battery that could power an electric car for up to 500 kilometres before losing its charge, as opposed to the current 150 kilometres.
As full participants in Horizon 2020, Ukrainian researchers and institutions will compete for funding on an equal footing with other European researchers.
They will also be able to make use of instruments such as Marie Skłodowska-Curie fellowships to aid mobility, European Research Council grants for frontier research and the new Policy Support Facility, which is designed to help governments reform their research and innovation policies.
The agreement needs to be ratified by the Ukrainian Parliament before it comes into force.
Association Agreements are a broad accord between the EU and an external state which enables them to build closer economic and political ties.
They were enabled by the 1957 Treaty of Rome in order to allow the United Kingdom to cooperate with the European Economic Community.
Since then, agreements have been signed with countries in the western Balkans, such as Albania and Serbia, in the Mediterranean, such as Algeria and Lebanon, and in Eastern Europe, such as Georgia and Moldova.
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