EU research and innovation policy

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The purpose of the EU’s research and innovation policy (R&I) is to support the development of the competitiveness of the European Union and its industries and to promote high-quality research considered essential from the perspective of other EU policies.

The most important EU's policy initiative in this area is the European Research Area (ERA), which aims to create an internal market for European research, technology and innovation. The EU promotes the ERA by developing the free movement of researchers and improving their career development and by investing in better utilisation of research results to strengthen Europe’s competitiveness. In addition, development of research and technological infrastructures, promotion of equality and closer cooperation between the public and private sectors are the ERA’s priorities.

As a rule, the EU’s concrete measures within R&I are limited to providing funding and better operating conditions and to introducing measures supporting transnational cooperation. The R&I activities funded by the EU are implemented in the multi-annual framework programmes. The ninth framework programme for research and innovation for 2021–2027 (Horizon Europe) is currently under way.

There are around 16 EU programmes that finance RDI activities in the current programming period. In addition to the Horizon Programme, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment is responsible for the research and training programme of Euratom, ITER, Digital Europe Programme, Research Fund for Coal and Steel, Innovation Fund and EU Space Programme.

The EU is also an important channel for global R&I cooperation. Under the leadership of the Commission, the EU engages in dialogue with third countries in order to strengthen wider international R&I cooperation in line with its political objectives. The European Union has a number of international, bilateral and multilateral agreements with third countries concerning the development of research and technology.

Decision-making on national and EU level

Finland formulates its positions on EU research and innovation policy issues in accordance with the Government’s coordinated procedure. Read more about the procedure on the Government’s website. The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, in cooperation with the Ministry of Education and Culture, carries the main responsibility for the monitoring, preparation and implementation of EU research and innovation matters and the preparation of Finnish positions.

The decisions concerning research and innovation policy are jointly made by the EU Competitiveness Council and the European Parliament. Finland participates actively in the development of EU research and innovation policy in the Competitiveness Council and the research group operating under it, with the aim of safeguarding national interests and promoting the competitiveness of Europe as a whole. Read more about the Competitiveness Council on the European Council’s website.

In the European Parliament, the Industry, Research and Energy Committee (ITRE) is mainly responsible for the research and innovation policy. Read more about ITRE on the European Parliament’s website.

National implementation of Horizon Europe

The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment is responsible for managing the implementation of the Horizon programme and for coordinating the work of the programme committee. The programme committee members of the Horizon programme have been appointed from ministries, Business Finland and the Academy of Finland. The task of the Horizon Europe programme committees is to assist and advise the Commission in the implementation of the programme, including the preparation of its content. In order to formulate Finland’s positions, the programme committee members receive assistance from a group of experts in 20 different sectors.

Business Finland hosts the Horizon programme’s national liaison office EUTI. It provides free training and information on participating in the framework programme and the management of funded projects. In addition, EUTI produces statistical information on Finland’s participation in the Horizon programme and coordinates the network of National Contact Points (NCP). Business Finland also has financial advice from the EU, which provides centralised information on EU funding and helps to make use of the programmes.

The NCPs are thematic experts in the Horizon programme. They inform and advise on the programme and application in their thematic area and help applicants in the application phase. NCPs specialised in contracts and costs are available to participants throughout the project’s lifecycle. Business Finland and the Academy of Finland are responsible for funding the national NCP resources of the programme.


Timo Haapalehto - timo.haapalehto(at)

National website of the Horizon Europe programme  
Horizon Europe programme on the European Commission’s website   
EU's international research and innovation cooperation 
European Research Area (ERA) on the European Commission’s website