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Ukraine has earned the status of “associated country” to Horizon 2020, meaning it can now fully participate in the European Union’s multinational research program, on the same level as EU Member States and other associated countries. The deal, signed by Ukraine’s Education Minister and the European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation on 20 March, gives researchers and businesses in Ukraine the privilege to apply for any Horizon 2020 grant. Among others, Ukraine will now have access to coveted European Research Council (ERC) grants and be able to apply for financial support to innovative SME, a significant boost to the research and innovation sectors in the country.
Horizon 2020 is the first EU programme in which Ukraine has taken part since the provisional application of the stronger partnership with its former Soviet neighbour, particularly in light of the conflict that erupted in Eastern Ukraine last year. Not only does this conflict pose a threat to the country’s political and economic stability; it also has had a major impact on the country’s education and research sector. Entire universities have been relocated from Eastern Ukraine, and prestigious research facilities in Crimea have been lost to Russia. It is to be hoped that Ukraine’s privileged access to Horizon 2020 will help make up for some of these losses, as well contribute to ithe country’s sustained economic growth. The agreement is awaiting approval from the Ukrainian Parliament to enter into force, but Ukrainian researchers and businesses can already participate in Horizon 2020 actions funded under the 2015 budget.European Commission press release