Having a Budget of €95.5 Billion for 2021-2027, the Next EU Research and Innovation Programme  Horizon Europe to be the Most Ambitious in the World


The European Parliament and the Council on Horizon Europe – the largest transnational programme ever supporting research and innovation, agreed on a budget of around €95.5 billion for 2021-2027. This represents a 30% increase compared to Horizon 2020 and makes it the most ambitious research and innovation programme in the world.

Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, Mariya Gabriel, said: “Horizon Europe programme is the main tool to strengthen our scientific and technological base, develop solutions for healthier living, drive digital transformation and fight climate change, for our collective resilience.”

Horizon Europe will promote excellence and provide valuable support to top researchers and innovators to drive the systemic changes needed to ensure a green, healthy and resilient Europe. It will drive scientific excellence through the European Research Council (ERC) to enable researchers to push the frontiers of knowledge to tackle the economic and social challenges. The Marie Skłodowska-Curie fellowships and exchanges will help the best talent, young researchers, to expand on their knowledge and skills, and Europe will benefit from the scientific advice, technical support and dedicated research of the Joint Research Centre (JRC), the Commission’s science and knowledge service.

The programme will also support collaborative research relating to societal challenges and reinforces technological and industrial capacities through thematic clusters that address the full spectrum of global challenges. For example, Horizon Europe’s Climate Energy and Mobility cluster and the Digital Industry and Space cluster will scale up R&I resources in climate-related domains and ensure that European enterprises have access to the technologies and data they need. The cluster Culture, Creativity and Inclusive Society has been reinforced, supporting research and innovation in the cultural and creative sectors, cultural heritage, through building cultural heritage collaborative space, as well as in humanities and arts. The Health cluster will tackle challenges such as the coronavirus pandemic, the extension of clinical trials, innovative protective measures, virology, vaccines, treatments and diagnostics, and the translation of research findings into public health policy measures.

Horizon Europe will also encourage participation, decrease the R&I gap, and strengthen the European Research Area (ERA) through a wide spectrum of measures to support lower R&I performing countries, to build up excellence centres, to improve their capacity and facilitate collaborative links. 3.3% of the programme’s budget will be allocated to this which is a significant increase compared to Horizon 2020.  

Additionally, the programme will introduce new features such as the European Innovation Council (EIC) and EU missions. The EIC, which is already running in a pilot phase, will receive over €10 billion in budget to provide support for emerging and breakthrough innovations by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), start-ups, and midcaps. It will complement the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT). European innovation ecosystems will be boosted by connecting with regional and national innovation actors. EU missions aim to tackle issues that affect our daily lives, ranging from fighting cancer to adapting to climate change, living in greener cities, ensuring soil health for food, nature, people and climate, and protecting our waters and ocean.  

Horizon Europe will increase its impact by working closely together with other EU programmes and policies, such as InvestEU, Erasmus+, EU Cohesion Policy, Digital Europe, European Structural and Investment Funds, Connecting Europe Facility, and the Recovery and Resilience Facility, to promote faster dissemination at national and regional level, and uptake of research and innovation results. For the first time in the history of the framework programme, regions, on a voluntary basis, can transfer part of their regional funds to Horizon Europe to be used in research and innovation activities in their region. The Commission has also proposed to exempt the Seal of Excellence SME projects under Horizon Europe from notification when it comes to state aid to further facilitate the support. This is possible because of safeguards embedded in EU programmes managed centrally by the Commission. 

With only 7% of the world’s population, Europe accounts for 20% of global R&D investment, produces one third of all high-quality scientific publications, and holds a world leading position in industrial sectors such as pharmaceuticals, chemicals, mechanical engineering and fashion. Research and innovation has been key to battle the coronavirus outbreak. Horizon Europe will have a strong degree of continuity with Horizon 2020 (2014-2020): three pillars, excellence at the core, and maintaining the tested funding rules and procedures of Horizon 2020. But it has been improved to maximise its impact, its relevance to society and its potential for breakthrough innovation.

For more information please read the Horizon Europe Factsheet document here.

Source: ec.europa.eu / Press corner