Introduction to Horizon Europe

The eighth Framework Programmes for Research and Technological Development by the European Union and the European Commission, Horizon Europe, was recently presented and will replace the current Horizon 2020 programme, which will end on 26 January 2021 with the last Green Deal call. As a starting point, Horizon Europe represents an "evolution, not revolution" in the European leadership strategy, implementing the successes achieved in Horizon 2020 as well as addressing its shortcomings.

The new Horizon Europe programme is, to date, the most ambitious funding programme presented, with a budget of EUR 95.5 billion as part of the long-term budget (Multiannual Financial Framework) for the period 2021-2027. This includes €5.4 Billion from the NextGeneration EU to stimulate EU regeneration and increase its resilience, as well as an additional €4.5 Billion reinforcement. In total, this represents a 30% increase over the current research and innovation programme, Horizon 2020.


Following the Horizon 2020’s financing scheme, Horizon Europe will simplify the financial structure of the previous programme into 3 main pillars, and a separate one pillar that is transversal to the rest. Pillar I, also known as Excellent Science, will largely be similar from the previous programme and will still to reinforce and extend the excellence of the Union's science base and further investment. It will continue to promote European science through initiatives by the European Research Council (ERC), the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grants, and the construction of top-notch research infrastructures.

The Global Challenges and European Industrial Competitiveness, Pillar II, will focus on funding innovations that address societal challenges, strengthening technological and industrial capacities. It will aim to set and achieve European objectives relating to the major challenges (climate change, health, clean and digital energy). Under this pillar, partnerships between European countries, industry, and stakeholders will be funded to carry out joint R&D activities. Pillar II will be divided into multiple clusters: culture, creativity and inclusive society; civil security for society; climate, energy, and mobility; food, bio-economy, natural resources, agriculture and environment; and health. Along with these defined clusters, the EU’s missions will aim to solve some of the most challenging problems for European society, such as the fight against cancer, adaptation to climate change or improving the health of the oceans.

The Innovative Europe, Pillar III, aims to turn Europe into a leader in market-creation innovation through the European Innovation Council. It will also establish Europe's overall innovation landscape by developing the ecosystem through the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), which promotes the integration of the knowledge triangle of education, research and innovation. Under this pillar we find,

  1. European Innovation Council (EIC) focuses on market-creating innovation and the growth of SMEs. In recent years, a pilot programme for the EIC programme has been launched, including the EIC Accelerator and the so-called EIC Pathfinders.
  2. European Innovation Ecosystems connects with regional and national innovation actors
  3. European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) focuses on the integration of research, higher education, enterprise and entrepreneurship.

Under this funding programme lies the ambitious objective of Europe leading the fight against climate change and the creation of more than 300,000 new jobs.

Let's say goodbye to 2020 by welcoming Horizon Europe!