Aotearoa has reached a new milestone in its moves to access one of the largest science and research funds in the world, concluding its exploratory talks with the European Union.

During her time in Brussels, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern met with European Union President Ursula von der Leyen to not only confirm the new NZ/EU Free Trade Agreement, but to acknowledge the excellent co-operation on research and innovation between the EU and Aotearoa.

Once signed, this science agreement will open doors for New Zealand – and Māori – to access Horizon Europe, The EU’s €95.5 billion (NZ$160b) Framework Programme for Research and Innovation.

Both leaders expect formal negotiations to be launched this European autumn and concluded swiftly.

This agreement is a direct result of Te Taumata’s efforts and we acknowledge all our Waiariki iwi, the EU officials we worked with and Dr Megan Woods who – as our Minister of Science – not only promoted this important piece of work, but is turning it into reality.

Te Taumata is incredibly proud to see all the work we have put in together has paid off.

It is a testament to iwi leadership and innovation that Ngā Iwi i Te Rohe o Te Waiariki and its science consortium are poised to make the first New Zealand bid into the Horizon Europe fund.

The Horizon Europe programme tackles climate change and helps to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals by facilitating collaboration; strengthening the impact of research and innovation; and supporting creating and better dispersing of excellent knowledge and technologies.

It also creates jobs, fully engages the EU’s and associated countries’ talent pool, boosts economic growth, promotes industrial competitiveness and optimises investment impact.