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Research and innovation
News article22 June 2021Directorate-General for Research and Innovation

Access to research results and IP in a public emergency

Manifesto for EU Covid-19 Research and New Approach in Horizon Europe.

The Covid -19 pandemic has forced the scientific community to think about optimal ways to make their research results available to society. There has been demand for innovation in terms of not only knowledge and solutions but also in the way these are delivered, disseminated and taken up.

The Commission set up the European COVID-19 Data Platform, which enables the rapid collection and sharing of available research data, and drew up the Manifesto for EU Covid-19 Research to maximise the accessibility of research results in the fight against the pandemic. The Manifesto was launched in July 2020 as part of the common European response to the coronavirus outbreak. To date the voluntary initiative has attracted more than 2500 signatories, including universities, research institutes, private companies and individuals from around the European Union and beyond. This shows a clear commitment and strong engagement towards a better valorisation of research results. Translating results into the economy is a key strategic objective of the revitalised European Research Area to support the green and digital transition and EU recovery and resilience.

Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth said:

The Manifesto for EU Covid-19 Research seeks the voluntary support and endorsement from public and private stakeholders benefiting from EU funding, other research funders and prominent individuals and institutions. After less than three months since its launch, I am delighted to see such a strong commitment from leading researchers, innovators and organisations. With their support, we can maximise the accessibility of research results in the fight against Covid-19. Together we are stronger and united against Coronavirus.

Exceptional circumstances have required new approaches and joint efforts from all research and innovation players, including the adaptation of intellectual property regimes. The Manifesto provides guiding principles for beneficiaries of EU research grants for coronavirus prevention, testing, treatment and vaccination to guarantee that their research results will be accessible for all. This will ensure that no one is left behind in the fight against Covid-19, and that solutions will be developed, produced and deployed to every corner of the world.  

Learning from the crisis, a new public emergency provision has been included in the implementation of Horizon Europe, the new European Framework Programme for Research and Innovation. It allows quick access to important R&I results in a public emergency. The Horizon Europe granting authority (Commission, executive agency or Joint Undertaking) will be able to request beneficiaries to grant non-exclusive licenses to their results. The licencing would have to be done under fair and reasonable conditions to legal entities that need the results to address the public emergency and commit to rapidly and broadly exploit the resulting products and services at fair and reasonable conditions.

To allow for a rapid response, the public emergency provision will be dormant in the grant agreements concluded under Horizon Europe. It will only be triggered if Europe's security, public order or public health cannot be protected by a less restrictive measure. Public emergencies could cover events such as pandemic diseases (like Covid-19), terrorist attacks, hacking, earthquakes, tsunamis, Chemical Biological Radioactive Nuclear (CBRN) events, e.g. novel and highly fatal infectious agents or biological or chemical toxins, as well as those from resulting cascading risks. This measure is part of the Union's efforts to strengthen its resilience and preparedness.

Combining the free flow of research results and data with strategic and economic interests: What can we learn from the current crisis?

Follow the panel discussion at the closing of the EU Knowledge Valorisation Days 2021 on how to ensure that the results of publicly-funded R&I can deliver global solutions while ensuring the open strategic autonomy of the EU and prepare society for the future.

More information

See more highlights relating to the EU Knowledge Valorisation policy


Publication date
22 June 2021
Directorate-General for Research and Innovation