Horizon Europe Programme

The Horizon 2020 programme finishes in…no prizes for guessing…2020. Beginning in January 2021 and lasting until 2027, the European Commission is already deep in the planning phases for its successor: Horizon Europe.

For Horizon Europe, the Commission is proposing €100 billion budget for research and innovation. This represents a substantial increase from H2020 of €23 billion and continues the ever-increasing commitment of the Commission to funding cutting-edge research (see figure below).

While continuing to build on the success of prior programme structures, Horizon Europe will introduce the following main new features (words taken directly from the EU press release on Horizon EU to maintain factual correctness):

  • A European Innovation Council (EIC) to help the EU become a frontrunner in market-creating innovation: The Commission’s proposal will establish a one-stop shop to bring the most promising high potential and breakthrough technologies from lab to market application and help the most innovative start-ups and companies scale up their ideas. The new EIC will help identify and fund fast-moving, high-risk innovations with strong potential to create entirely new markets. It will provide direct support to innovators through two main funding instruments, one for early stages and the other for development and market deployment. It will complement the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT).
  • New EU-wide research and innovation missions focusing on societal challenges and industrial competitiveness: Under Horizon Europe, the Commission will launch new missions with bold, ambitious goals and strong European added value to tackle issues that affect our daily lives. Examples could range from the fight against cancer, to clean transport or plastic-free oceans. These missions will be co-designed with citizens, stakeholders, the European Parliament and Member States.


  • Maximising the innovation potential across the EU: Support will be doubled for Member States lagging behind in their efforts to make the most of their national research and innovation potential. Moreover, new synergies with Structural and Cohesion Funds will make it easy to coordinate and combine funding and help regions embrace innovation.


  • More openness: The principle of ‘open science’ will become the modus operandi of Horizon Europe, requiring open access to publications and data. This will assist market uptake and increase the innovation potential of results generated by EU funding.


  • A new generation of European Partnerships and increased collaboration with other EU programmes: Horizon Europe will streamline the number of partnerships that the EU co-programmes or co-funds with partners like industry, civil society and funding foundations, in order to increase their effectiveness and impact in achieving Europe’s policy priorities. Horizon Europe will promote effective and operational links with other future EU programmes, like Cohesion Policy, the European Defence Fund, the Digital Europe Programme and the Connecting Europe Facility, as well as with the international fusion energy project ITER.

The Joint Research Centre (JRC), the Commission’s science and knowledge service, will continue to contribute with scientific advice, technical support and dedicated research.


Next steps

A swift agreement on the overall long-term EU budget and its sectoral proposals is essential to ensure that EU funds start delivering results on the ground as soon as possible. Delays would force Europe’s brightest minds to look for opportunities elsewhere. This would imply the loss of thousands of research jobs and harm Europe’s competitiveness. From fundamental research to market-creating innovation, key advances in e.g. healthcare, climate action, green transport and sustainable agriculture would slow down; solutions for cancer treatments, greenhouse gas emissions, smart cars, and healthy diets would be delayed.

An agreement on the next long-term budget in 2019 would provide for a seamless transition between the current long-term budget (2014-2020) and the new one and would ensure predictability and continuity of funding to the benefit of all.

Image source: EU Budget For the Future: European Commission

WRG Europe’s Service for Horizon Europe

Needless to say, WRG Europe and Grantcraft will be keeping a very close eye on the developments within Horizon Europe over the coming year and will keep you updated as news emerges from the Commission. We will continue to offer the same great service we have offered under Horizon 2020 and make sure that your applications target the right themes and priorities under Horizon Europe.

A useful information video created by the Commission on Horizon Europe can be found here.

#HorizonEU @EU_H2020

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