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Research and innovation

Global approach to research and innovation

Strategy, principles, governance and related documents


The Commission Communication on the Global Approach to Research and Innovation sets out the European Union’s strategy for international cooperation in a changing world.

The aim of the strategy is to

  • preserve openness in international research and innovation cooperation
  • promote a level playing field and reciprocity underpinned by fundamental values
  • strengthen bilateral and multilateral partnerships to deliver new solutions to green, digital, health and innovation challenges

This global approach is implemented through

  • modulated bilateral cooperation in research and innovation with partner countries around the world, compatible with European interests and values and to strengthen the EU’s open strategic autonomy
  • mobilisation of science, technology and innovation, bilaterally and multilaterally, to tackle global challenges and to accelerate sustainable and inclusive development, as well as the transition to resilient, knowledge-based societies and economies in low and middle-income countries
  • initiatives modelled on a Team Europe approach, which combine actions by the EU, financial institutions and Member States to maximise the effectiveness and impact of the actions

The first Biennial Report on the Implementation of the Global Approach shows that, in the first two years (2021-23), the Global Approach to research and innovation proved its effectiveness and relevance and continues to be the appropriate strategic framework for international R&I cooperation, by preserving openness and promoting values and principles and by safeguarding the EU’s strategic assets, interests, autonomy and security. The report also provides a snapshot of the EU’s position in international research and innovation cooperation across thematic areas.

Guiding Principles

Commitment to openness and values in research and innovation

Openness is crucial to accelerate scientific progress, pool resources and nurture vibrant innovation ecosystems. Researchers and innovators should be free to operate within a supportive environment based on values and principles such as academic freedom, research ethics and the respect of human rights.

The EU, together with Member States, has developed a set of key principles and values for international research and innovation cooperation, set out in the Council Conclusions on Values and Principles, following the  Marseilles Declaration on International Cooperation in Research and Innovation, and promotes them in a multilateral dialogue  with non-EU countries and in international settings.

Pursuit of a level playing field and reciprocity

The EU works with major international partners  with which we have Science and Technology agreements to agree on joint priorities for cooperation.

A toolkit to mitigate foreign interference  in research and innovation has been developed, together with Member States. The toolkit outlines best practices to support EU Higher Education Institutions and Research Performing Organisations in safeguarding their fundamental values, including academic freedom, integrity and institutional autonomy, as well as to protect their staff, students, research findings and assets.

Commission recommendations on a Code of Practice on the management of intellectual assets for knowledge valorisation in the European Research Area have also been published.   

Pooling of global efforts to tackle global challenges

The EU contributes to developing policy agendas and strengthening cooperation through multilateral initiatives in key green, digital and health priorities. These include:

On Oceans: All-Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance,

On Clean energy: Mission Innovation,

On Health: European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership; the Global Alliance for Chronic Diseases

On Bioeconomy: International Bioeconomy Forum

On Environment andClimate: the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change IPCC ; the International Resource Panel of the UN;  Global Earth Observation GEO and the Intergovernmental science policy platform on biodiversity and ecosystem services (IPBES

Modulated cooperation with non-EU countries

The EU engages in research and innovation cooperation with non-EU countries following a nuanced and modulated approach, based on levels of reciprocity, a level playing field and respect for fundamental rights and shared values.


The European Research Area subgroup on the Global Approach helps to develop, implement and monitor the international dimension of the European Research Area.

Related Documents

The first Biennial Report on the Implementation of the Global Approach.

Commission Communication: Global Approach to Research and Innovation: Europe’s strategy for international cooperation in a changing world.

Council conclusions on the Commission Communication on the Global Approach to Research and Innovation.

European Parliament Resolution on the Commission Communication on the Global Approach to Research and Innovation.

Council Conclusions on Principles and values for international cooperation in research and innovation.

Marseilles Declaration on International Cooperation in Research and Innovation.