In line with the European Commission’s Communication on the Global Approach to Research and Innovation, Europe’s strategy for international cooperation in a changing world, the EU maintains strong regional dialogues as well as engagement with various international organisations in the area of research and innovation.
Regional science and technology cooperation between the EU and other regions of the world combine policy dialogue with project-based and bottom-up cooperation to tackle global challenges for mutual benefit. Regional research and innovation cooperation ensures synergies with other EU policies and activities, and aims to complement bilateral actions of EU countries.
The EU’s engagement in these norm- and consensus-building spaces presents an important pillar in its efforts to represent and promote EU interests in research and innovation internationally. This engagement leverages the EU’s role as a global powerhouse in research and innovation and to ensure that multilateral action is informed by the best possible scientific evidence, as outlined in the Joint Communication on strengthening the EU’s contribution to rules-based multilateralism.
Dialogues and engagement are currently maintained with the following regions:
The EU demonstrates active leadership and engagement on research and innovation policies with international organisations, such as various United Nations bodies and agencies, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and its International Energy Agency (IEA), as well as in intergovernmental fora such as the G7 and G20.
The EU’s engagement in these norm- and consensus-building spaces presents an important pillar in its efforts to represent and promote EU interests in research and innovation internationally. In addition, the European Commission is a member of research-related international bodies such as the Human Frontier Science Program Organisation (HFSPO).
The EU engages frequently with the United Nations through the UN-EU high-level dialogue where research and innovation topics are regularly discussed. In addition, there are Memoranda of Understanding with dedicated UN bodies in place, many of which touch upon research and innovation matters.
Examples include cooperation with:
- United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on open science
- United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) on biodiversity and oceans
- United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) on innovation policies
- World Health Organisation (WHO) on pandemic preparedness and health research
- International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on nuclear safety and security
Group of Seven (G7)
As a member of the G7, the EU regularly engages with its partners on issues related to research and innovation.
This includes an active participation in the following G7 Working Groups:
G7 Future of the Seas and Oceans Initiative (FSOI) Working Group
Formed in 2016 under the Japanese Presidency to take an ambitious collaborative approach to tackling ocean issues through strengthened observation infrastructure and information delivery in five main action areas: observing system, assessments and reporting, data sharing infrastructure, regional observing capacity, and enhanced G7 political cooperation.
G7 Security and Integrity of the Global Research Ecosystem (SIGRE) Working Group
Established in 2021, this group serves 3 main purposes: to review existing principles of research security and integrity; to identify voluntary standards of conduct and best practices by which such principles of research security and research integrity can be embedded; and to strengthen the exchange of best practices across the research community on research security and integrity considerations by establishing a virtual academy and toolkit.
The Group of Senior Officials on Research Infrastructures (GSO)
Provides a permanent discussion forum for exchange of best practices and possible Global Research Infrastructure (GRI) developments. It has produced a Framework of basic principles for the establishment and operation of GRIs and examines case studies of aspiring GRIs tested against the Framework. The GSO collects a list of research infrastructures that offer international access and are open to new partners.
G7 Open Science Working Group (OSWG)
Promotes the efficient processing and sharing of research data as openly as possible and as securely as necessary across the G7 and beyond, explores incentives that foster recognition and reward collaboration across all disciplines and topics, and investigates how open science practices help achieve increasingly robust, reliable, and impactful research outcomes.
Group of 20 (G20)
Also in the G20, the EU champions continuous progress on international cooperation in research and innovation advocating for a common understanding of values and principles in international research. Engagement happens through the so-called Research and Innovation Initiative Gathering (RIIG) and, since 2023, the Chief Science Advisors Roundtable (CSAR).
Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)
EU research and innovation cooperation with the OECD covers the topics of research infrastructures, Open Science, transport, and converging technologies. It also includes collaboration with the Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) on topics such as small modular reactors, radioprotection and public health, and radioactive waste management.
Within the OECD framework, the EU also maintains close ties with the International Energy Agency (IEA) on research and innovation topics surrounding the green transition including Science, Technology, and Innovation exchanges in the fields of hydrogen, solar thermal, wind, geothermal, and nuclear energy. Cooperation also includes the decarbonisation of transport through collaboration on zero-emission vehicles.
Human Frontier Science Program Organization (HFSPO)
The Human Frontier Science Program Organization (HFSPO) funds research at all levels of biological complexity from biomolecules to the interactions between organisms. It brings biologists together with physicists, mathematicians, chemists, computer scientists and engineers from all continents.
The current members of the HFSPO are the G7 nations, Australia, India, Israel, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Switzerland, New Zealand and the non-G7 members of the European Union, who are represented by the European Commission.
As a member of HFSPO, the European Commission contributes to the overall budget, to be used for international fellowships and research grants. The participation of the Commission opens up the possibility to scientists from all the non-HFSPO EU Member States to fully benefit from the HFSP and provides increased visibility for European research. .
Dr Jan Marco Müller, DG Research and Innovation, International Cooperation