What next, after Horizon 2020?

The European Union is already well advanced with plans for Horizon Europe, the follow on to Horizon 2020, which will run from 2021 – 2027.

The European Commission recognises the importance of research and development within the Union in delivering economic, environmental and social benefits for citizens; the “EU support for research and innovation adds value by encouraging cooperation between research teams across countries and disciplines that is vital in making breakthrough discoveries. It allows the EU to deliver on priorities such as the Paris Agreement on climate change”.

Horizon Europe is designed around three pillars: Open science, Global challenges and Open Innovation. The Open Science pillar supports academic researchers through a variety of mechanisms to encourage collaboration and mobility. The Global challenges pillar addresses societal challenges, such as “plastic-free oceans”. Importantly, industrial leadership “will be prominent” in this pillar and across the programme as a key to delivering societal ambitions. The Open Innovation pillar supports and encourages “market-creating innovation” in the Union. High potential technology and innovative companies with potential to scale-up will be supported by a one stop shop, the European Innovation Council.   Across its operations Horizon Europe plans simpler participation and operational rules, reducing the red tape for beneficiaries.

The planned budget for Horizon Europe is €97.6 billion, the Commission’s biggest ever research and innovation funding programme.  The new programme is “mission oriented” and much work has gone into identifying goals through a variety of “foresight studies”. Research on maximizing the impact of investment, reviewing and learning from Horizon 2020 and maximizing the impact of EU programmes has contributed to the structure of the new programme.

The major part of the budget, €52.7 billion, goes to ‘global challenges and industrial competitiveness’; Pillar two. The allocation is shared by five clusters, plus the Joint Research Centre. The clusters are:

  1. Health, €7.7 billion
  2. Inclusive and secure societies, €2.8 billion
  3. Digital and industry, €15 billion
  4. Climate, energy and mobility, €15 billion
  5. Food and natural resources, €10 billion

More updates to follow.