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Research and innovation

International cooperation in clean energy research and innovation

International cooperation in clean energy research and innovation, Mission Innovation and cooperation agreements

Why international cooperation is needed

Accelerating the development of clean energy solutions to match the urgency of tackling climate change requires sustained public and private investment into clean energy research and innovation. It also relies on having collaborative networks and partnerships across the globe to boost the impact of these investments.

International cooperation in clean energy research contributes to mitigating climate change, reducing emissions and advancing global commitments under the Paris Agreement and the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

International cooperation in energy is part of the EU's global strategy for international cooperation in research and innovation.

Mission Innovation

Mission Innovation is a global initiative of 23 members across all continents (with the European Commission representing the EU). It fosters investment in research, development and demonstration to make clean energy affordable, attractive and accessible for all. This will accelerate progress towards the Paris Agreement goals and the pathways to achieve net zero.

Mission Innovation members – collectively responsible for over 90% of global public investment in clean energy innovation – are committed to increase investment and collaboration to deliver the technologies needed to overcome the world’s most difficult climate challenges.

Since its inception in 2015, Mission Innovation has focused on reinvigorating and accelerating public and private global clean energy innovation with the objective to make clean energy widely affordable. This is key to

  • an effective, long-term global response to our shared climate challenge
  • necessary to provide affordable and reliable energy for everyone and to promote economic growth 
  • critical for energy security

Over the past 5 years members have raised the profile of clean energy innovation and increased investments by €4.9 billion annually.

Mission Innovation has strengthened international networks between researchers, industry, academia, think tanks, and policymakers, notably through the Innovation Challengesand Champions Programme

Mission Innovation is an important part of the EU's goal of making research and innovation a keystone of Europe in the World. The EU's commitment to Mission Innovation is delivered through the multiannual research and innovation programmes of Horizon 2020 and Horizon Europe.

Mission Innovation 2.0

On 2 June 2021, The Mission Innovation members committed to greater action in the next decade by launching the second phase of Mission Innovation at the 6th Ministerial meeting in Chile.

Read the press release

Mission Innovation 2.0 will spearhead a decade of innovation to foster increased investment in clean energy research, development and demonstrations to deliver affordable clean energy solutions by 2030.

Action will initially focus on clean hydrogen, green power systems, shipping, and a new global innovation platform for insights, collaborations and incubators to maximise national investments.

Sustained and strengthened cooperation across public-private sectors and key technologies will build momentum towards COP26 and accelerate innovation to meet the Paris Agreement goals.

MI2.0 will implement its activities by

  • building new public-private innovation alliances (Missions) around ambitious and inspirational goals. Missions are backed by commitments that can lead to tipping points in the cost and scale of clean energy solutions. The missions on clean hydrogen, green power and shipping were launched on 2 June 2021. The missions for Urban Transitions, Net-Zero Industries, Integrated Biorefineries and Carbon Dioxide Removal, were launched at COP26
  • an enhanced innovation platform to strengthen the global clean energy innovation ecosystem and accelerate learning
  • continuing its successful voluntary model: members work independently but in full transparency and with a cooperative spirit to determine their priorities, processes and plans for research, design and development funding  

Mission Innovation Champions Programme: leading the clean energy revolution

The Mission Innovation Champions programme sought to celebrate and support innovative individuals who are accelerating the clean energy revolution by working on key clean energy research and technology developments.

Two cohorts of 40 innovators were awarded the MI Championship in 2019 (19 awardees) and 2020 (21 awardees).

At the sixth Mission Innovation Ministerial Meeting, a public event on MI Champions was held with the aim to catalyse new, strategic dialogue between on-the-ground innovators and policymakers. This event highlighted the insights and success stories as well as barriers emerging form the on-the-ground experience of MI Champions.

More information

Partnerships and collaboration

To accelerate the pace of innovation, foster more investment in low-carbon technology and bring new technologies into the market, Mission Innovation works in collaboration with global partners.

Cooperation agreements

Bilateral cooperation agreements

The EU has bilateral cooperation agreements with research partners in large developed economies as well as emerging countries.

Read about countries with bilateral agreements.

Benefits of international cooperation and bilateral agreements are

  • facilitating the development of clean technologies
  • pooling financial resources, sharing risks and setting common standards for large or relatively risky research and development projects
  • supporting a more diverse global portfolio of energy technologies and reducing the costs of key technologies
  • networking to identify possibilities for collaborative efforts
  • supporting technology deployment in and technology transfer to developing and emerging countries

Multilateral agreements

The EU also cooperates with non-EU countries in technology platforms of the International Energy Agency (IEA) and other multilateral initiatives.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) has different standing groups and committees. One of them is the Committee on Energy Research and Technology (CERT), which coordinates and promotes the development, demonstration and deployment of technologies to meet challenges in the energy sector. Within the CERT there are 4 working parties

  • End Use Working Party
  • Working Party on Fossil Energy (where DG Research and Innovation participates on behalf of the European Commission)
  • Fusion Power Coordination Committee
  • Renewable Energy Working Party (the European Commission is an active member since 1982)

DG Research and Innovation participates in the following TCPs 


Factsheet20 July 2023
From ideas to impact: EU and global research and innovation collaborations for accelerating clean energy transitions

Research and Innovation is crucial to accelerate clean energy transitions. Horizon Europe, the EU R&I framework programme invests in clean energy solutions including through collaborations with the public and private sectors through Horizon Europe partnerships and European missions.

Publication cover
1 APRIL 2022
Mission Innovation Missions on Clean Hydrogen and Urban Transitions
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17 JANUARY 2020
Our mission, clean energy innovation
(1011.28 KB - PDF)