A large Eastern-European country with a population of approximately 42,5 million inhabitants, bordering Moldova, Romania, Hungary, Slovak Republic, Poland, Belarus and Russia, has signed an association agreement to the Horizon 2020 in March 2015.
The key elements of a highly centralised, state-owned organisations dominating Ukrainian science, technology and innovation system were created in the pre-independence period. The economic crisis and political problems in the post-Soviet era have had multiple negative impacts on its R&D and innovation.
On 5 March 2014, the European Commission announced a large support package for Ukraine to help stabilise the economic and financial situation of the country. All measures combined could bring overall support of €11 billion over the next seven years from the EU budget and the international financial institutions, including up to €1.4 billion in grants from the Member States.
On 9 April 2014, the Commission decided to create the Support Group for Ukraine. It ensures that Ukrainian authorities have all the support they need to undertake political and economic reform and stabilise the country.
On 17 July 2014, the Commission released an information note to EU businesses operating and/or investing in Crimea/Sevastopol. It explains the risks related to the economic and financial situation in Crimea/Sevastopol, after its illegal annexation by Russia.
On 13 and 14 July 2015, the first meeting of the EU-Ukraine Association Committee reviewed Ukraine's reform progress and the challenges ahead. In the margins of this event, the Ukrainian delegation participated in a study visit to the EU institutions organised by the Support Group for Ukraine. The visit was designed to deepen working-level relations in crucial reform areas.
In 2015, Ukraine became fully associated with the Commission's Horizon 2020 programme. Its researchers, businesses and innovators can since participate under the same conditions as EU Member States a multinational programme dedicated to research and innovation, equipped with a total budget of almost € 80 billion for 2014-2020. The H2020 association highlighted that Ukraine considers research and innovation crucial for its economic growth and the creation of jobs in the country battered by the difficult social and economic situation, wide-spread institutional problems and armed conflict at part of its Eastern regions bordering with Russia.
To ensure the support to the capacities building for evidence-based research and innovation policy strategies with a broad involvement of relevant stakeholders such as regional and national governments, companies, academia and universities and non-governmental organisations aiming at economic transformation through increased competitiveness of national and regional economies and their better integration into the international value chains, JRC has engaged in the supporting the development of a research and innovation policy framework for S3 in Ukraine as one of the pilot projects within a two-year JRC-financed pilot project.
This pilot project has started early 2017 and is currently at the early stage where a targeted support in mapping of a country's economic and research fabric is needed while at the same time the country undergoes internally organising coherent approach, and mobilising and coordinating relevant stakeholders through an 'entrepreneurial discovery process'. The support provided aims at enabling local stakeholders to gain the competences needed for continuing strategy design and its future implementation. Within this action the S3 platform helps Ukraine to identify economic competitive advantages and exploit the innovation potential, building on a process of entrepreneurial discovery for smart specialisation.