Horizon Europe

Horizon Europe is the new Framework Programme, which will run from 2021 to 2027, with a total budget of €95.5 billion. The programme succeeds the Horizon 2020 programme.  The aim is to invest in a fair and prosperous future for people and planet based on European Values. To achieve this, Horizon Europe will strengthen the connection between scientific and technological innovation, while tackling key societal challenges set out in the Sustainable Development Goals. The goal is to increase European leadership in innovation and entrepreneurship, through world-class research. Additionally, it removes barriers to development and enables public and private sectors to work together in delivering innovations.

Horizon Europe is focused on everyone contributing to scientific excellence and has a broad range of focus areas, divided across 3 pillars: Excellent Science, Global Challenges and European Industrial Competitiveness, and Innovative Europe. Each pillar has a specific set of grants and tenders connected to it.

Pillar 1: Excellent Science

The Excellent Science pillar consists of three main calls “Reinforcing & extending the excellence of the Union’s science base”.

  • European Research Council (ERC): funding frontier research designed and driven by the best researchers in Europe. The ERC grants are intended to fund excellent science and are open for researchers at different career stages.
  • Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA): the program funds individual fellowships and supports mobility of researchers internationally.
  • Research Infrastructure (RI): funding new world-class research infrastructures. The work programme supports research communities to conduct research and foster innovation in their field.

Pillar 2: Global Challenges & European Industrial Competitiveness

“Boosting key technologies and solutions underpinning EU policies & Sustainable Development Goals” Pillar 2 includes six clusters each with their own area of intervention and specific funding calls, plus the non-nuclear direct actions of the Joint Research Centre.

  • Cluster 1. Health
  • Cluster 2. Culture, Creativity, and Inclusive Society
  • Cluster 3. Civil Security for society
  • Cluster 4. Digital, Industry and Space
  • Cluster 5. Climate, Energy and Mobility
  • Cluster 6. Food, Bioeconomy, Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environment

Pillar 3: Stimulating market-creating breakthroughs and ecosystems conducive to innovation

The third pillar consists of three different entities:

  • European Innovation Council (EIC): focus on market-creating innovation and SME growth. The EIC work programme has been published, and includes the EIC Pathfinder, EIC Transition and EIC Accelerator.
  • European Innovation Ecosystems: connecting with regional and national actors to improve the overall innovation ecosystem across Europe. Ecosystems should become more connected and efficient.
  • European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT): focusing on integrating research, higher education, business and entrepreneurship. EIT is an independent EU body that supports entrepreneurial talent and innovative ideas through specific calls for proposals.

Horizontal Pillar: Widening Participation and Strengthening the European Research Area “Optimising strengths & potential for a more innovative Europe”

  • Widening Participation and Spreading Excellence: encouraging teaming & twinning, cooperation in science and technology (COST), ERA chairs continue to bring excellence to institutions in Widening countries with potential for research excellence, support to NCPs, brain circulation and excellence initiatives. It includes two new additions, the Hop On Facility and the Excellence Hubs.
  • Reforming and enhancing the European R&I system: building scientific evidence & foresight, continuation of the Horizon Policy Support Facility, promoting Open Science, attractive researcher careers, citizen science, Responsible Research & Innovation, and gender equality.

Work Programmes

More information can be found on the website of the European Commission.

New elements in Horizon Europe

  • European Innovation Council: Support for innovations with potential breakthrough and disruptive nature with scale-up potential that may be too risky for private investors. This is 70% of the budget earmarked for SMEs.
  • Missions: Sets of measures to achieve bold, inspirational and measurable goals within a set timeframe. There are 5 main mission areas as part of Horizon Europe.
  • Open science policy: Mandatory open access to publications and open science principles are applied throughout the programme Factsheet: Open science in Horizon Europe.
  • New approach to partnerships: Objective-driven and more ambitious partnerships with industry in support of EU policy objectives.

More information?

Contact Hasselt University: Angélique Broux