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Research and innovation
News article24 September 2021Directorate-General for Research and Innovation

Iceland and Norway are the first countries associated to Horizon Europe

Iceland and Norway have formally become associated to Horizon Europe, enabling entities in those two countries to participate in Europe’s €95.5 billion research and innovation programme, under the same conditions as entities from the EU Member States

This is an opportunity to continue and deepen cooperation in science, research and innovation, focussing on common priorities: the twin green and digital transition, public health and Europe’s competitiveness in the global landscape. Joint efforts will aim to address environmental problems in the Arctic, develop hydrogen and carbon capture technologies, boost data-driven innovation, and more. This early association also enables these partners to get involved from the outset in the European Partnerships.

The association supports the ’Global Approach to Research and Innovation’ and reconfirms Europe's commitment to a level of global openness needed to drive excellence, pool resources for faster scientific progress and develop vibrant innovation ecosystems.

Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice President for A Europe Fit for the Digital Age, said:

Openness and cooperation with the rest of the world are key in our strategy to create critical mass for research and innovation and to accelerate and find solutions to pressing global challenges. By joining forces with Iceland and Norway, we will pursue a series of actions in support of the green, digital and public health agendas.

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

I warmly welcome Iceland and Norway on board to Horizon Europe. They were amongst the best performers under Horizon 2020 showing innovation leadership and excellence across fields such as energy, environment, food safety, health and digital technologies. I look forward to new breakthroughs and success stories in the coming years!

This cooperation underlines the importance of the EEA Agreement, which enables full participation of the EEA States in the EU’s internal market and provides basis for cooperation in other areas including research, technological development, environment and culture

Iceland and Norway have a long history of association to the EU Framework Programmes for Research and Innovation, starting in 1987 for Norway and 1994 for Iceland, with a win-win cooperation throughout the years.

Multiple success stories arose, covering a variety of scientific areas such as: sustainable seafood (SEAFOODTOMORROW project), offshore renewable energy (MARINERG-i project), new crop for the poorest soils (LIBBIO project), liquid biopsy tests to diagnose cancer (CANCER-ID project), advancing open science (e.g. OpenAIRE-Advance project), better weather forecasting in the Arctic (BLUE-ACTION) and autonomous cargo ships (MUNIN project) among many others.


Horizon Europe, the EU research and innovation programme (2021-2027) is one of the main tools to implement Europe’s strategy for international cooperation: the global approach to research and innovation. It is open to researchers and innovators from around the globe who are encouraged to team up with EU partners in preparing proposals.

Association to Horizon Europe is the closest form of cooperation with non-EU countries, which allows entities of associated countries to participate in programme actions on equal terms with entities of EU countries. Negotiations are ongoing with many more non-EU countries that have expressed interest to become associated to Horizon Europe and further announcements will be made in the coming weeks.

In June this year the Commission has adopted Horizon Europe’s main work programme for the period 2021-2022. It outlines the objectives and specific topic areas that will receive a total of €14.7 billion in funding. Countries associated to Horizon Europe can apply.

More information

Horizon Europe

International cooperation under Horizon Europe

Europe’s Global Approach to Research and Innovation


Publication date
24 September 2021
Directorate-General for Research and Innovation