Tag Archives: horizon2020

On 17 November, Yerevan hosted  the 8th Eastern Partnership (EaP) Informal Ministerial Dialogue. Johannes Hahn, the Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations and Carlos Moedas, the EU Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, were in Armenia to take part in the event. The meeting focused on strengthening the cooperation of the EaP countries with the European Union in science and innovation and prospects for multilateral cooperation.

2A session on research, science and innovation was hosted by Levon Mkrtchyan, the Armenian Minister of Education and Science. During the session, Commissioners Hahn and Moedas launched the #EU4Innovation initiative for EaP countries. This initiative focuses EU support on reinforcing EaP countries’ capacities for innovation, especially those funded through HORIZON2020 or the European Neighbourhood Instrument.

The meeting was held during an extremely important time for Armenia as the agreement associating Armenia to HORIZON2020 entered into force on 12 November 2016. This agreement allows researchers and innovators from Armenia to have full access to HORIZON2020, the EU’s research and innovation funding programme, under the same conditions as their counterparts from EU member states and other associated countries.
Same day, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Armenia hosted foreign ministers of EaP countries, which was also attended by Johannes Hahn, the Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations and  Jean-Christophe Belliard, the Deputy Secretary General of the European External Action Service.During these discussions, ministers discussed developments and achievements following the Riga summit and expressed their expectations of the upcoming summit in 2017.

3This meeting was followed by a press conference. Hahn noted the constructive and open nature of discussions: ‘This is the 8th time that we have gathered in this format – and we have many other  opportunities to meet. This meeting has allowed us to review EaP implementation. There are a lot of agreements, but it’s time to implement and to make things visible for citizens. That’s why, during the summit in Riga, we decided to group different topics into in four areas to be more visible. The first is, of course, extensive support to EaP countries; we believe that economic development is crucial for increasing welfare, prosperity and stable business in the region. The aim of the next couple of years is to support more than 10,000 SMEs – they are the backbone of the economy. We will not only support existing SMEs, but also promote conditions to enable start-ups to thrive’.

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Horizon 2020 is the EU’s largest research and innovation programme, making nearly €80 billion of funding available over seven years (2014 to 2020). Negotiations for Armenia’s participation in Horizon 2020 were concluded in 2015. On 19 May 2016, the Armenian Minister of Education and Science, Levon Mkrtchyan, and the European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, Carlos Moedas, signed an Association Agreement for Armenia. Researchers and innovators from Armenia now have full access to Horizon 2020 under the same conditions as their counterparts from EU member states and other associated countries.
Until now Armenia had only been able to participate in Horizon 2020 as a third country. This meant that its entities did not count towards the minimum number of participants required for a project, thus restricting access to some important parts of the programme, such as support to innovative businesses and to key policy bodies.
Thanks to this agreement, research institutes, universities and individual researchers will now have access to all opportunities offered by Horizon 2020 in diverse areas on equal footing with researchers and organisations from EU member states and other countries associated with the programme. These areas include anything from fundamental science to demonstration projects. Armenian SMEs and businesses will also be able to benefit from increased support to develop new ideas and bring new products and services to the Armenian market. The Association Agreement covers 2016-2020 and opens up new opportunities for the country’s universities, research institutions and enterprises.

13327451_1034619629925299_7160437046587210032_nOn 2-3 June 2016, a launch workshop and information day devoted to Armenia’s association with Horizon 2020 was organised. The programme was presented with a particular focus on the new opportunities it brings by offering tools and networks for SMEs and joint research centre grants for scientific research and innovation.
Two workshop sessions on how to use European research and build on good practices discovered from other associated countries were held on 2 June. Later on the same day, a conference on “Supporting Innovation in Armenia” was held in Yerevan. InnovFin is a new generation of financial instruments and advisory services, which help innovative firms access finance more easily. Armenia gained access to InnovFin after joining Horizon 2020. The Head of the EU Delegation to Armenia, Ambassador Piotr Świtalski, attended the event and underlined the EU’s support to the Armenian government’s efforts to build a knowledge-based economy in Armenia.
Ambassador Świtalski also attended the second day of the Horizon 2020 launch workshop on 3 June, and stressed the importance of research and innovation: ‘It’s a good day for the Armenian science and research community and a very good day for Europe. I am very glad that Armenia has decided to join Horizon 2020 – the biggest platform for supporting research and innovation. Armenia’s contribution to Horizon 2020 wasn’t easy to secure, but I hope it will help the country to grow and have tangible benefits. Horizon 2020 is a very important tool, but, as many of us know, the difficult part of it is to link ideas with practice with the market. We, at the EU, always remember that Armenia, in addition to Horizon 2020, decided also to join the COSME programme, which supports SMEs – this is a good tool to link research and the practical implementation of results.
The Chairman of the Armenian State Committee of Science of the Ministry of Education and Science, Samvel Harutyanyan, welcomed all the participants on behalf of his Minister, Levon Mkrtcyan: ‘The signing of the Association Agreement is the result of hard work by several ministries over the last three-four years, which will have very significant and important improvements for our scientific community, the development of science in general, and integration into the European research area’.
13310356_1034734349913827_4126740129540420325_nAfter the keynote speeches, discussion sessions started: the first one on the general scope of the Horizon2020 programme was moderated by Hoa-Binh Adjemian, the Head of Cooperation Section of the EU Delegation to Armenia. The second one focused on COSME Programmes within the areas of climate change, energy and SMEs”.
Horizon 2020 facilitates promotion of excellent scientific and industrial leadership in tackling societal challenges through innovation, funding and networks offered by the EU. The goal for Armenia is to join the European scientific community to produce world-class research, remove barriers to innovation, and make it easier for the public and private sectors to work together in finding and delivering innovative solutions to social and economic priorities – both locally and globally.