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Europe as a Research and Innovation Powerhouse
Europe has a long tradition and history of excellence in research and innovation. With only around 7% of the world's population, Europe accounts for a quarter of global expenditure on research, and produces a third of all high impact publications and patent applications. Research and innovation are supported both at national level, by each of the EU's 28 Member States, and at the EU level.
This section will provide you with some basic information on the European Union's research and innovation policies, on our work with Japan, and will introduce you to Horizon 2020, the EU's main funding programme.
You will also find information on how you may participate in Horizon 2020 from Japan.
How the EU promotes research and innovation
The EU has supported research and innovation since 1984 through a series of Framework Programmes. The latest one, Horizon 2020, covers the period 2014-2020, and is the largest ever with close to EUR 80 billion that will be allocated through a competitive call process to research institutions, universities, innovative companies, and small businesses. This will support scientific excellence, boost industrial leadership and competitiveness, and tackle societal challenges. Importantly, researchers in any part of the world may participate.
The EU also promotes research and innovation in other ways. It has spearheaded the creation of the European Research Area (ERA), as a unified research area open to the world in which researchers, scientific knowledge and technology circulate freely. It aims to help the EU and its Member States strengthen their scientific and technological bases, their competitiveness and their capacity to collectively address grand challenges.
Under the Energy Union, a flagship initiative of the EU's Europe 2020 strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, more than 30 action points aim to further bolster the EU's world-class science performance, remove obstacles to innovation, and revolutionise the way public and private sectors work together, notably through innovation partnerships between the EU institutions, national and regional authorities and businesses.
EU-Japan Cooperation in Science, Technology and Innovation
The relationship between the EU and Japan is increasingly close and diversified. Various cooperation agreements have been concluded since 1988, at both bilateral and multilateral levels. An overarching Science and Technology Cooperation Agreement was signed in 2009 and came into force on 20 March 2011.
This agreement pledged to encourage, develop and facilitate cooperative activities. To that end, it also established a Joint Committee on Scientific and Technological Cooperation, to exchange information and views on Science and Technology policy issues, identify priority areas for cooperation and promote reciprocal access to research and innovation programmes. This committee meets at least once every two years. It first met in Tokyo in June 2011, with the second meeting taking place in June, 2013. The Third such meeting took place in Brussels in May, 2015. At this meeting agreement was made on a "Joint Vision" towards a closer relationship in research and innovation.
The importance of close and friendly relations in science, technology and innovation has been recognised by the leaders of Japan and the EU, who have expressed commitment to unlocking the full potential of cooperation (21st EU-Japan Summit Joint Statement, Article 17) . Later statements reiterated this commitment 22nd EU-Japan Summit Joint Statement, Article 14 and 23rd EU-Japan Summit Joint Statement, Article 22. On 29 May 2015, during the 23rd EU-Japan Summit, the leaders endorsed a New strategic partnership in Research and Innovation between the European Commission and the Government of Japan.
How we can work together
Cooperation with Japan is a strategic priority for the EU. We share many of the same research priorities and societal challenges, and Japanese participation in Horizon 2020 projects is most welcome.
We work together in a variety of ways:
The 6th EU-Japan Science Policy Forum, Kyoto, 3 October 2015.
European participation at the Science Agora 2015, (YouTube video clip can be found here)
European participation at the Science Agora 2016
10th Anniversary of the European Research Council ''Beyond the first 10 years'', held at the Delegation on 29 March 2017 (the address by Professor Jean-Pierre Bourguignon and video messages from Japanese ERC grantees can be found here.)
The EU and Japan have a successful track record of collaboration, but a lot more can be done to further build and strengthen our research relations. In the 7th Framework Programme (FP7), there were over 100 Japanese participations in cooperative research projects, in a broad range of areas, as it can be seen in a figure below.
Japanese researchers have also participated in mobility programmes funded under the Marie-Curie actions of FP7 as well in ERC grants. This trend continues under Horizon 2020.
The 3rd EU-Japan Joint S&T Committee meeting in May 2015 agreed on the following priorities for future strategic cooperation: (1) areas where cooperation already is substantial, namely ICT, Aeronautics and Materials (including Critical Raw Materials - CRMs); and (2) areas where cooperation can be strengthened, namely Energy (non-nuclear), Health, Environment and High-Energy Physics. Beside these, cooperation is already substantial in Nuclear research, and there is the potential to increase cooperation in other areas such as Space, Security, and Research Infrastructures.
There are 23 topics that explicitly invite cooperation with Japanese researchers under the Horizon 2020 Work Programme 2016-2017.
Learn more about work we have done together: examples_of_EU-Japan joint_research_projects (PDF).