Launch Event of Horizon Europe Office in Ukraine (20.12.2023, Kyiv)
On December 20, 2023, Horizon Europe Office in Ukraine was officially launched at the Club of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine. The Office was established within the framework of the National Research Foundation of Ukraine following the Grant Agreement with the European Commission on the HEOinUA Project.
During the event, discussions were held in three thematic panels, involving the representatives of the European Commission, Ukrainian state authorities, diplomatic missions of foreign countries and international organisations in Ukraine, as well as specialised institutions, academia and educational institutions.
The ceremony was officially started by Marc Lemaître, Director-General of the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Research and Innovation.
Iliana Ivanova, European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, addressed the participants with a welcoming speech. Mrs. Ivanova emphasised that the opening of Horizon Europe Office in Ukraine is a vivid testament towards the development of the national economy, as well as a cornerstone of cooperation that not only boosts innovation, but also serves as a beating heart between the European Union and Ukraine, moving all of us towards common goals and a prosperous future: “[…] And yet, despite everything, you are standing here today. In less than two years, you have achieved what many thought was impossible,” the European Commissioner stressed.
Within the framework of the opening panel, Mykhailo Fedorov, Deputy Prime Minister for Innovation, Education, Science and Technology Development, Minister of Digital Transformation of Ukraine, also delivered welcoming remarks to the participants. “The Office’s activity on science and research institutionalisation will be very important. First and foremost, it will be done through the National Research Foundation of Ukraine, which will become a focal point for grant funding, positioned to be crucial for creating a sustainable innovation ecosystem,” he noted.
The keynote speeches by Ricardo Lopez-Aranda Jagu, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Spain to Ukraine, and Frederic Develter, Counsellor and Chargé d’Affaires of the Embassy of Belgium in Ukraine, underlined the importance of joining forces to strengthen the research potential of European nations. Highly respected representatives of diplomatic missions underlined the instrumental role of Horizon Europe Office in Ukraine as a structural unit of the National Research Foundation of Ukraine. This unique initiative, as they believe, will certainly contribute to the successful integration of Ukraine into the European Research Area.
Welcoming remarks were made by Minister of Education and Science of Ukraine Oksen Lisovyi and People’s Deputy of Ukraine, Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada Committee on Education, Science and Innovation Serhiy Babak. The speakers pointed out that the opening of the Office is an ambitious initiative and an important strategic step towards strengthening the cooperation of Ukrainian scientists with representatives of the European research community.
Within the first discussion panel, moderated by Ruta Zarnauskaite, Head of Division, Directorate-General for Research and Innovation, European Commission, the panellists focused upon the idea of establishing the Office, reflecting Ukraine’s commitment to excellence in research and innovation domain. Roman Hryshchuk, People’s Deputy of Ukraine and a member of the Verkhovna Rada Committee on Education, Science and Innovation, commented on the new opportunities that the Horizon Europe Framework Programme offers to Ukrainian scientists. Olga Polotska, Executive Director of the National Research Foundation of Ukraine, as one of the speakers at the panel discussion, placed special emphasis on the results that have already been achieved by the Foundation in terms of the implementation of the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation “Horizon Europe”. “Horizon Europe Office has already become an integral part of the friendly family of the National Research Foundation, and we are confident that it will be able to become a powerful beacon of cooperation between the Ukrainian scientific community and the European research community,” she noted.
The second discussion panel covered the specifics of the Office’s functioning as a consultancy centre that will help representatives of the national research community to join the European research and innovation space. The panel was moderated by Oleksandr Bilyi, Head of the Communications and International Cooperation Department of the National Research Foundation of Ukraine.
Specifically, at this session, the Head of the Office, Igor Taranov, made a presentation on the strategic positioning of the Office as a catalyst for scientific and innovation cooperation, designed to provide a platform for active participation of Ukrainian researchers in European research initiatives. Special attention was paid to the goals, objectives and the structure of the Office.
At the end of the panel discussion, Stanislav Vilchynskyi, the Head of the National Research Foundation of Ukraine, expressed his sincere gratitude to all the participants for the opportunity to discuss the vital role of joint efforts in strengthening Ukraine’s research potential. “In conclusion, please imagine a horizon where the results of our joint efforts in science and innovation not only transcend borders, but also overcome the challenges posed by our educational mission, based on partnership and anchored by the integration and solidarity pillars. I have every confidence that the Office will contribute to this unique mission by building a legacy of innovation that will ensure the well-being of our citizens in the years ahead,” summed up the Head of the Foundation.
At the end of the event, Iliana Ivanova, European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, emphasised the transformative power of joint efforts in research and innovation. “This event symbolises not only the unity of the entire European society, but also the commitment to a future where knowledge has no boundaries,” she added. Iliana Ivanova expressed her strong belief that the Office will become an embodiment of independence, unity, innovation and scientific progress.