February 28, 2024

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New Zealand’s Technology Relationship with the EU Set to Deepen

New Zealand is exploring possible Research and Development (R&D) avenues with Europe. The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) has launched formal Exploratory Talks between Aotearoa New Zealand and the European Union on joining Horizon Europe.

These talks will explore the potential for New Zealand to become an Associate Member of Horizon Europe, the EU’s Europe-wide research and innovation funding programme. To note, the organisation tackles climate change, helping to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and boosts the EU’s competitiveness and growth. However, that’s just one of its main trusts.

Joining Horizon Europe is the closest form of international cooperation with the EU’s Research and Innovation Framework Programme. Plus, it’s a possibility open for the first time to countries with a good capacity in science, technology and innovation, and located outside the EU. Additionally, the programme facilitates collaboration and strengthens the impact of technological research in developing, supporting and implementing EU policies while tackling global challenges. In short, it supports creating and better dispersing of excellent knowledge and technologies.

In the pursuit of technology, Horizon Europe employs an Open Science policy which simply means open access to publications and principles for every member state. What’s more, the programme holds a seven-year budget of approximately €95 billion, equivalent to about NZ$ 157 billion dollars.

Joining Horizon Europe would enable New Zealand researchers to apply directly for specific Horizon Europe grants as if they were in Europe, with funding going into the programme in New Zealand.

– Iain Cossar, General Manager of Science, Innovation and International Policy, Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment

Cossar expressed how similar problems plaguing many countries can be solved with greater cooperation. Moreover, he disclosed that the EU and New Zealand are natural partners with joint research objectives in areas like transitioning to zero carbon and reducing emissions from agriculture and responding to COVID-19 and preparing for pandemics. Also, that means developing emerging technologies in areas like space for instance.

Indeed, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment is looking forward to the continuous growth of this relationship. Further, it believes that Horizon Europe will provide a great opportunity to increase technological collaboration between New Zealand and the EU.

Thinking about the opportunity ahead, Cossar is hopeful about the good things to come. He denoted how much it is likely to garner significant interest from New Zealand based researchers, with all its exciting new possibilities.

However, it’s not the first time Aoteroa is joining hands with Europe on technology and research. In 2008, the New Zealand-EU Science and Technology Cooperation Agreement was ratified to encourage collaboration and further scientific pursuits. Many New Zealand scientists have been working with European partners for some time now.

Technological research is in New Zealand’s DNA. The recent launch of agriculture research that involved the academe and the public sector is a great example of such a commitment to forging ahead with regard to on-farm research.  The government is fully leading the way for the island nation to prosper.

Wellington has drafted a technology road map for people to contribute to. Every stakeholder in New Zealand is being given the chance to recommend ideas and be a part of the final draft. It’s an uphill climb as there are a host of challenges that need to be ironed out along the way. Nonetheless, technology should push the envelope for change.


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