The upcoming EU research programme Horizon Europe will have new rules with a different background: “better regulation“. With this reform agenda, the European Commission wants to put transparency and efficiency at the forefront. For example, in the search for synergies now there will be a model grant agreement for all programs. The rules for the participation of third countries also stem from this: the basic rules must be the same for each program.

Horizon Europe will open the program to researchers from all over the world. The European Commission wants to expand the possibilities of association for Horizon Europe. In doing so, they will establish four categories for third countries:

  1. EFTA countries that are also part of the European Economic Area (EEA). This includes Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, but not Switzerland. The addition of EEA is new.
  2. Acceding countries and (potential) candidate countries.
  3. Countries of the European Neighborhood Policy.
  4. Third countries that have good science, technology and innovation capabilities and meet a number of other requirements. For example, these countries must be outspoken in favour of a “ rules-based open market economy ” and democracy, including protection of intellectual property. Countries must also actively strive for the economic and social well-being of citizens. This category opens ‘association’ to a large group of like-minded countries, such as Canada, Japan, Australia, South Korea, Singapore and the US. The UK and Switzerland would also fall under this.

In this context, the European Parliament has put the EU interest first. Among other things, they emphasize that the commercial exploitation of results must first take place in the EU. The EP also wants to further restrict access to instruments for “unilateral beneficiaries”. After all, associated countries must respect Human Rights.

All these mean for nursing researchers that they may have greater access to research Horizon Europe funds. They can now team with their peers from Europe but also from abroad. Horizon Europe gives them the possibility to advance their nursing research in ways that are beneficial for the nursing frontline, as well as to come up with solutions to alleviate the excessive pressure our healthcare systems are under at the moment.