Delegation of the European Union to India and Bhutan

European Union and India to step up cooperation on Research and Innovation

05/03/2019 - 08:50
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Mr Jean-Eric Paquet, Director-General of DG Research and Innovation, European Commission co-chaired the 12th EU-India Joint Steering Committee meeting on Science and Technology along with Prof. Ashutosh Sharma, Secretary of DST, Government of India.

The EU and India acknowledged their excellent cooperation which was recently boosted by the launch of 7 India-EU projects on purification of water and waste water treatment, 2 on vaccines and 1 on polar sciences. Innovation was also a central theme of EU-India cooperation with the launch of a network of start-up incubators from India and Europe to foster co-creation.

Nonetheless there is still a lot of untapped potential for EU-India cooperation considering their large research and innovation capacities.

DG Paquet congratulated India for its National Science Day which demonstrates India's commitment to science, and to science for the well-being of its citizens. He was struck how much India and Europe share the same values and objectives on science and innovation to improve the life of its citizens and economic development in a sustainable way. He was impressed with the creativity of the scientists and innovators with whom he interacted. He invited India to take part in the discussions for the EU's new research and innovation programme ‘Horizon Europe’.

Tomasz Kozlowski, Ambassador of the European Union to India, added that "For the European Union, India is a strategic partner: we are partners in prosperity, partners in responsible development, partners in global peace and security. We have established sectoral dialogues in key areas like trade, clean energy and climate change, sustainable urbanization, water and maritime security; and research and innovation underpins all these partnerships."

To build upon the robust cooperation of the last 20 years, the EU and India intend to renew the India-EU Science & Technology Agreement for another five years.

On areas for future cooperation, health research and bioeconomy will remain high on the agenda. It was also agreed to explore new areas of cooperation to fill the knowledge gap on climate change, on renewable energy in line with Mission Innovation aiming at reducing CO2 through concentrated efforts on energy, notably on smart grids and clean energy and on ICT.  On Artificial Intelligence importance of ethical standards was stressed.

Bilateral meetings and project visits

During his visit, DG Paquet met with Prof. K Vijay Raghavan, Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India, and discussed the role of science for society and the reforms both sides are engaged in to increase the impact of science for society. DG Paquet congratulated PSA Vijay Raghanvan for having joined the Plan S coalition on Open Access.


DG Paquet also met with Dr (Mrs) Renu Swarup, Secretary, Department of Biotechnology (DBT). It was agreed to strengthen cooperation on health research and the bioeconomy and to work more closely with BIRAC (Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council) for networking of European and Indian incubators.

He also visited the Local Treatment of Urban Sewage Streams for Healthy Reuse (LOTUS) project set up at Baraprula Drain. The project, an example of EU-India innovation co-operation, aims to demonstrate a novel holistic (waste-) water management approach, that will produce clean water that can be reused for various proposes. The dynamism of Indian startups was showcased during the Commission's visit at the Foundation for innovation and Technology Transfer (FITT) based at IIT Delhi.


EU-India Strategic partnership

As long-standing partners, India and the European Union (EU) are committed to dynamic dialogue in all areas of mutual interest as major actors in their own regions and as global players on the world stage. On 20 November 2018, the European Commission adopted an EU Strategy on India that sets out the EU's vision for a strategy to strengthen cooperation and the partnership with India. The Communication aims to strengthen the EU-India Strategic Partnership by focusing on sustainable modernisation and on common responses to global and regional issues. It proposes to continue the co-operation on its positive trajectory through joint actions to address global challenges, as well as concrete collaborations that benefit the EU and India alike. The Strategy calls upon increased efforts on research and innovation to achieve the objectives.

EU-India cooperation on R&I

The EU-India Agreement on scientific and technological cooperation was first concluded in 2001, renewed in 2010 and 2015. Research and Innovation is a key element of EU-India Strategic Partnership, which calls upon joint collaboration and reciprocal access to research programmers and two-way mobility of scientists to increase scientific knowledge and technological development.

For the EU, science has no borders and the EU wants to cooperate on research and innovation with scientists from all over the world. Accordingly, the EU's research and innovation framework programme 'Horizon 2020' is open to the world and India can participate in all EU calls. A distinction has to be made between eligibility for participation and receiving funding. In collaboration projects, entities from India, just like the other emerging economies of Brazil, China and Russia, have to fund their own participation. For this reason, the European Commission and the Indian Department of Science and Technology (DST),  Department of Biotechnology (DBT) and Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) have established a Co-Funding Mechanism (CFM) to support joint projects between European and successful Indian participants (universities and research institutions) in fields of mutual interest.

EU framework programme Horizon 2020

'Horizon 2020' is the EU's funding instrument for research and innovation actions among the EU Member States and countries associated to the programme and all other partners in the world. It has a budget of about €80 bn.for the seven-year period from 2014 to 2020 and consists of three pillars: "Excellent Science"; "Industrial Leadership "and "Societal Challenges", funding R&I aiming at finding solutions to social and economic problems, in: Health, demographic change and well-being;      Food security, sustainable agriculture and forestry, marine and maritime and inland water research, and the bioeconomy; energy; green transport, Climate Change and Environment.

'Horizon 2020' funds research, technological development, and innovation, with the aim of delivering economic growth faster and delivering solutions. Participation by SMEs is strongly encouraged.

Key statistics on India in Horizon 2020

194 proposals submitted including 543 Indian entities, of which 24 proposals were, selected that included 84 Indian participants which represents a success rate of 12.37%.

The bulk of the successful proposals follows from the Joint Call on water: 7 proposals including in total 130 entities:  65 Indian universities, Institutes, SMEs and 65 from the European side.

In Horizon 2020 projects, Indian participants have received EUR 2.4 million from Horizon 2020 and about EUR 17 million co-funded by the Government of India.

Mobility Actions: 967 Indian researchers have been funded by Horizon 2020 under Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) between 2014 - 2018. India is second best non-European country, after China with 1025 researchers.

ERC grants:  A total of 52 grants have been given to Indian Principal Investigators. India ranks 4th in non-EU countries after USA, Canada and Russia, but ahead of China. Horizon Europe

Horizon Europe is the new R&I programme proposed for the period 2021 -2027 with a budget of EUR 100 billion. It will continue to support actions to strengthen the EU 'scientific through the European Research Council (ERC) and the Marie Skłodowska-Curie fellowships and exchanges;  a new  European Innovation Council (EIC)will be created to stimulate deeptech innovation and support for research and innovation actions through with a cross-cutting sectoral approach and mission oriented to find solutions for the citizens.

For more information

Horizon 2020 website

Horizon Europe website:

EU Delegation to India Press Contact:

Ms Poonam Kapila
Press and Communication advisor

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