The framework for the EU-Canada relationship is set out in the Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA). The SPA reflects recent global developments and provides a platform for advancing Canada-EU foreign policy goals, as well as joint international action.
It reinforces cooperation in strategic areas such as International peace and security, Human rights, Environmental protection, Research, Innovation, Energy security and Education. The EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) is an ambitious and progressive trade agreement. It goes beyond removing customs duties and contains ambitious chapters on sustainable development, labour and the environment. It offers significant benefits for the economies, businesses and consumers in both Canada and the EU.
Science and Technology Agreements and Arrangements
At the Canada-EU Summit on 24 November 2023, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the conclusion of negotiations for Canada's association to Pillar II of Horizon Europe. This marks a significant milestone in our shared commitment to foster mutual collaboration in research and innovation.
The Association Agreement is expected to be signed mid-2024, pending the completion of the necessary treaty-validation on both sides. Once the agreement is signed and applied, researchers and organisations in Canada will be able to receive funding directly from the EU under Pillar II of Horizon Europe. See below for details of transitional arrangement.
For Pillar I and Pillar III of Horizon Europe, the opportunities for Canadian participation remain unchanged. For example, under Pillar I: Canadian researchers can apply to come to work in a European group and Canadian institutions can host European Post-Doctoral fellows through the Marie Sklodowska Curie Post-Doctoral Fellowships scheme. Canadian researchers can apply for European Research Council grants to establish a research group in Europe. Under Pillar III: Canadian start-ups or SMEs that relocate to Europe are eligible to apply for the European Innovation Council Accelerator programme.
Transitional Arrangement for Pillar II until signature of Association Agreement
While awaiting the signature of the Association Agreement, a transitional arrangement has been put in place for Canadian entities. This means that entities based in Canada can apply and be evaluated as prospective “beneficiaries” in Horizon Europe proposals for all calls implementing Pillar II in the budget 2024 onwards, including those currently open.
Following submission of the proposals, and after the closure of the calls, there is typically a 5-month period of evaluations followed by a 3-month period dedicated to preparation of the grant agreements after which the grant agreements are signed. We expect the association agreement to be applicable before the signature of the grant agreements implementing the budgetary appropriations for 2024, meaning the transitional arrangement will ensure full Canadian eligibility to receive funding from 2024 calls.
In the unlikely event that association is not in place by the time of the grant agreement signature, then Canadian participants may remain in the consortia, but as “associated partners” which do not receive Horizon Europe funding (provided that the minimum requirements of the proposal, including in terms of participation by Member States/Associated Countries, are still met by the remaining beneficiaries).
If the association of Canada appears to be not imminent as the time to grant approaches, consortia will be informed that they could take action to rearrange the consortia, as appropriate, before the planned date of the signature of the grant agreement.
A science and technology cooperation agreement between the EU and Canada has been in place since 1996 (amended in 1999). The science and technology cooperation dialogue takes place through the EU-Canada Joint Science and Technology Cooperation Committee. The 16th meeting of the Joint Committee took place in 2022. The next one is being planned for 2024.
In 2016 the Canadian Tri-Agency Institutional Programs Secretariat signed an implementing agreement with the European Commission to enable Canada Research Chairholders and/or Banting postdoctoral fellows to pursue research collaboration with research teams led by European Research Council (ERC) grant holders. This is currently being renewed.
Areas of Cooperation
- Bioeconomy including food and agriculture
- Marine and Arctic
- transport including aviation
- digital including artificial intelligence and quantum
- environment, research infrastructures
- researcher mobility
Canada participates actively in the Multilateral Dialogue on Principles and Values in international research and innovation. It was a co-organiser of the Workshop on Research Ethics and Integrity in December 2022 and the Workshop on Research Excellence in June 2023.
Canada and the EU also cooperate through multilateral fora including:
- Mission Innovation to make clean energy affordable, attractive and accessible for all.
- All Atlantic Ocean Research and Innovation Alliance to advance the shared vision of an Atlantic Ocean that is healthy, resilient, clean, safe (NOTE: Canada will host the 2024 edition of the AORIA Forum).
- GloPID-R: the Global Research Alliance for Infections Disease Preparedness
Cooperation and funding opportunities
In line with the EU Global Approach, Horizon Europe is fully open to the participation of Canadian researchers and research organisations.
In principle*, the EU does not provide funding for the participation of Canadian research entities in collaborative research projects. however Canada has put in place a co-funding mechanism to facilitate cooperation in Horizon Europe. See also the Administrative Arrangement.
The 2020 Horizon Global Platform under NFRF is a 34 million Euro (C$50 million) co-funding envelope over five years, aiming to fully exploit the possibilities of the international cooperation flagship areas in Horizon 2020 and in Horizon Europe.
Additionally, legal entities established in the province of Quebec may receive support through a separate provincial support programme for international cooperation.
Canadian researchers may of course also participate in Horizon Europe with other funding.
*In exceptional cases, the Commission or the relevant funding body may consider that the participation of a legal entity is essential for implementing the action (Article 23.2(b) of the Horizon Europe Regulation)
In addition, Canadian entities are eligible for EU funding through the European Research Council and Marie Skłodowska Curie Actions.
European Research Council
The European Research Council offers grants to researchers in all research domains for frontier research. Canadian researchers are welcome to apply and if selected are eligible for funding to establish a research group in Europe. Grants are available for researchers starting or consolidating their independent career and for advanced researchers. Synergy grants are also available, where a group of 2-4 Principal Investigators (PIs) may include one PI outside the EU or countries associated to Horizon Europe, to tackle together an ambitious research problem, with all funded by the ERC.
The Canadian Tri-Agency Institutional Programs Secretariat signed an implementing agreement with the European Commission to enable Canada Research Chairholders and/or Banting postdoctoral fellows to pursue research collaboration with research teams led by European Research Council (ERC) grant holders.
Marie Skłodowska Curie Actions
Marie Skłodowska Curie Actions offer fellowships for post-doctoral researchers from Canada (and other countries) to spend up to 2 years in a European group – or for European researchers to spend up to 2 years in a Canadian lab. Also offers opportunities for Canadian institutions to participate in Doctoral Networks and Staff Exchange consortia (Canadian institutions are self-funded in Doctoral Networks and Staff Exchange).
Projects and results
You can also visit the Horizon Dashboard, which is a one-stop shop for data and statistics on the EU Research and Innovation Programmes – from FP1 to Horizon Europe.
National Contact Points
The National Contact Points (NCPs) provide guidance, practical information and assistance on all aspects of participation in Horizon Europe.
Research enquiry service
You can contact the research enquiry service to find out more about research in Europe, the EU's research and innovation funding programmes as well as calls for proposals and project funding.
RTD-F-DIR-ASSISTec [dot] europa [dot] eu (DG Research and Innovation International Cooperation Directorate)
EURAXESS North America
Euraxess North America provides access to a complete range of information and support services for researchers in Canada or the US wishing to pursue a research career in Europe or looking for collaboration opportunities through Horizon Europe.
- Press release
Today at the Canada-EU Summit European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the conclusion of negotiations for Canada's association to Pillar II of Horizon Europe, the EU's key funding programme for research and innovation.
- Press release
Today, another milestone towards deeper science collaboration between the European Union and Canada has been achieved: the Commission and the Canadian Government are launching formal negotiations for Canada to join Horizon Europe
- News article
Health, Oceans, Aviation, Smart Cities, Bioeconomy, Agriculture, Raw Materials and researchers mobility at the centre of an enhanced R&I strategic EU-Canada cooperation