What will come after Horizon 2020?

2020 – one of the most disruptive and unpredictable years so far – is coming to an end. The end of 2020 (wich we are all looking forward to),  also marks the end of Horizon 2020, the EU’s biggest research and innovation programme, with nearly €80 billion of funding available between 2014 and 2020.

So what will come after Horizon 2020?

The Commission is already working on Horizon Europe, an ambitious €100 billion research and innovation programme running from 2021 to 2027 to succeed Horizon 2020. The programme, which will be the Eu’s largest Research and Innovation (R&I) framework programme ever has the potential to deliver up to €11 in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) gains for every euro invested, create up to 320,000 new highly skilled jobs by 2040 and consolidate Europe’s leadership in research and innovation.

Horizon Europe – the structure

Horizon 2020 will rely on three main pillars:

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  1. The Excellent Science pillar supports frontier research projects designed and driven by researchers through the European Research Council (ERC). It also funds fellowships and a mobility of researchers through Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions, and invests in world-class research infrastructures.
  2. The Global Challenges and European Industrial Competiveness pillar supports research into societal challenges, reinforces technological and industrial capacities, and sets EU-wide missions with ambitious goals tackling some of humanity’s biggest problems (health, climate change, clean energy, mobility, security, digital, materials, etc.). It will also support partnerships with Member States, industry and other stakeholders to work jointly on research and innovation.
  3. The Innovative Europe pillar aims to make Europe a frontrunner in market-creating innovation and SME growth through the European Innovation Council.  The European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) will continue to foster the integration of business, research, higher education and entrepreneurship.

All three pillars will be underpinned by a fourth component, Widening participation and Strengthening the European Research Area. This means that Horizon 2020 will support EU Member States in their efforts to unlock their national research and innovation potential, with a special attention for low R&I performing Member States.

Missions and mission areas in Horizon Europe

Missions are an integral part of the Horizon Europe framework programme beginning in 2021. Partly inspired by the Apollo 11 mission to put a man on the moon, these missions aim to deliver solutions to some of the greatest challenges facing our world. 5 mission areas have been identified, each with a dedicated mission board, assembly, timeframe and budget. They will help specify, design and implement specific missions in Horizon Europe.

  1. Conquering Cancer: Mission Possible. Targets by 2030: more than 3 million more lives saved, living longer and better, achieve a thorough understanding of cancer, improve prevention, improve diagnosis and treatment, support the quality of life of all people exposed to cancer, and ensure equitable access to the above across Europe.
  2. Accelerating the transition to a climate prepared and resilient Europe. Targets by 2030: prepare Europe to deal with climate disruptions, accelerate the transition to a healthy and prosperous future within safe planetary boundaries and scale up solutions for resilience triggering transformations in society.
  3. Regenerating our Ocean and Waters. Targets by 2030: cleaning marine and fresh waters, restoring degraded ecosystems and habitats, decarbonising the blue economy in order to sustainably harness the essential goods and services they provide.
  4. 100 Climate-Neutral Cities by 2030 – by and for the citizens. Targets by 2030: support, promote and showcase 100 European cities in their systemic transformation towards climate neutrality by 2030 and turn these cities into experimentation and innovation hubs.
  5. Caring for Soil is Caring for Life. Targets by 2030: at least 75% of all soils in the EU are healthy and able to provide essential services that we depend on, for healthy food, people, nature and climate.

Horizon Europe: five novelties

To improve Horizon Europe, the following five key points represent five novelties which aim to connect innovation and science with society and citizens, give free access to scientific researchand help establish new, strong partnership for the European Union.

  1. European Innovation Council. Launched in 2017, the European Innovation Council (EIC) was created to support innovations with a breakthrough and disruptive nature. The aim of the EIC is to help innovators by taking risks towards the creation of a new market for new innovative products and services.
  2. R&I Missions. As a bucket of actions, a mission has the intent of achieving  bold, measurable goals that will motivate people always within a set timeframe. In the Horizon Europe framework, missions will be co-designed with the Member States, citizens and stakeholders. The missions will be programmed within the Global Challenges and Industrial Competitiveness pillar.
  3. International Cooperation. Through international cooperation, Europe aims to tackle global challenges by giving access to the world’s best talents, expertise and resources, with a long-term aim of finding innovative solutions to problems. Horizon Europe will indeed promote international collaborations with third countries with adequate capabilities in science, technology, and innovation.
  4. Open Science across the programme. The goal is to improve the dissemination and exploitation of the Research and Innovation results and support an active engagement of society towards science. This step will provide open access to publications and Open Research Data. The main idea is to support the researchers and rewarding open science systems as well as establishing a European Open Science Cloud.
  5. A new approach to European Partnerships. Horizon Europe brings new ideas and objectives. These new ideas need a new generation of strong partnerships in order to be able to support the new EU Policies.

Horizon Europe adoption timeline

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