Horizon Europe: Australia Missing Open Goal

STA CEO Ryan Winn on the Australian Government's choice not to join Horizon Europe.

The coastal horizon at night off the Australian eastern coast showing the Milky Way.

Not many countries would turn down a nearly €100 billion opportunity, but that is what Australia has chosen to do. Choosing not to pursue association with the European Union's Horizon Europe research program, and its global missions from cancer to climate-neutral and smart cities, is missing an open goal that would powerfully boost our country's R&D.

Under the EU program, non-EU countries can associate - giving them access to the program's multi-billion dollar project funding pool, in exchange for a budget contribution. Last week Canada signed an agreement with the EU to associate with the scheme, and New Zealand has already signed up.

"Australia needs to lift its game in economy-boosting R&D to get to 3% of GDP," said STA CEO Ryan Winn.

"The way to do that is to look for strategic opportunities to invest that have the potential for big returns. Europe is a trusted partner, with our first treaty-level science and technology agreement signed 30 years ago, in 1994."

"Australia associating with Horizon Europe wouldn't just give the country's researchers access to a massive project funding budget, but would also open doors to greater international collaboration and the opportunities that will flow from that."

"I understand budget pressures, but I encourage the Australian Government to have a constructive conversation with the Australian research sector and the EU on what is reasonable and practical in the current climate to enable Australia to be part of the scheme."

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