Conclusion of exploratory talks on the association of New Zealand to Horizon Europe: towards formal negotiations

The informal exploratory talks launched on 10 February 2022 between the European Commission, DG Research and Innovation, and New Zealand’s Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, have reached a conclusion.

These exploratory talks have paved the way to move towards the next stage of the process, the formal negotiation of the association agreement. They provided all parties with the opportunity to discuss the technical aspects of the envisaged association, including the prospective terms and conditions for participation in Horizon Europe actions and in the Programme’s governance.

The Commission will now prepare recommendations to the Council to launch the negotiation process and seek negotiating directives. Once the Council adopts such directives, the formal negotiations could commence upon readiness of New Zealand. All parties expressed the hope that New Zealand could be associated to Horizon Europe as from 2023.

With Horizon Europe, association, which offers the closest systemic form of international cooperation within the EU’s Research and Innovation Framework Programme, is a possibility open for the first time to countries with a good capacity in science, technology and innovation, and located beyond the EU’s geographic vicinity.

Horizon Europe is the EU’s research and innovation framework programme. The programme holds a budget of approximately €95 billion, equivalent to about $157 billion NZ dollars over 7 years. As an Associate member, New Zealand researchers would be able to apply directly to Horizon Europe grants, as if they were in Europe.

“We’ve had three rounds of very constructive and efficient talks with the EU,” says Simon Rae, International Science Partnerships Manager, MBIE.

“Horizon Europe would be a wonderful opportunity for researchers, enabling greater impact and increasing international scientific collaboration with Europe. I’m excited to continue developing our relationship on research, science and innovation with the EU in the coming months.”

Source 1: European Commission

Source 2: MBIE