While the collaborative calls for proposals in Horizon Europe will be characterised by general openness (allowing, in principle, organisations from any country to participate), there will be some new restrictions on participation, stemming from the programme's legal basis.
There are three main types of restrictions on participation in Horizon Europe:
1. Restrictions on participation of organisations based in third countries
The Work Programme can restrict participation of organisations based in countries that are neither EU Member States nor Associated Countries. Such restrictions existed already in Horizon 2020 and continue in the new programme, for example, in the EIC Accelerator scheme or ERC frontier research grants.
2. Restrictions on participation of organisations based in certain Associated Countries
The legal basis of Horizon Europe allows the Commission to exclude organisations based in the Associated Countries from certain calls for proposals to protect the Union's strategic assets, interests, autonomy or security. This is quite exceptional and can be done only in duly justified cases. While, technically, this type of restriction was also possible in Horizon 2020, it was never really used.
3. Restrictions on participation of organisations based in EU Member States/Associated Countries, but controlled by other countries
As a novelty in Horizon Europe, to protect the Union's strategic assets, interests, autonomy or security, the Work Programme may also exclude from individual calls for proposals organisations based in EU Member States or in Associated Countries, if they are directly or indirectly controlled by third countries or by legal entities from such third countries.
The Commission is yet to define what constitutes 'control by another legal entity' for the purposes of Horizon Europe projects.
It is important to remember that the last two types of restrictions apply not only to the beneficiaries (signing the grant agreement), but also to other types of participants. In particular, where the call conditions restrict participation or control due to strategic assets, interests, autonomy or security, the beneficiaries must ensure that none of the entities that participate as affiliated entities, associated partners, subcontractors or recipients of financial support to third parties are established in countries which are not eligible countries or target countries set out in the call conditions.
These types of restrictions will also have implications for certain obligations of the beneficiaries. For example, where the call conditions provide for such limitations, prior approval by the granting authority will be required regarding any transfers of licences to third parties (exclusive or non-exclusive) established in the ineligible countries.