Horizon Europe

Horizon Europe is the most ambitious program ever implemented to address the ills of society. Within the long-term budget 2021-2027 the Programme will receive €95.5 billion. 

What is Horizon Europe?

Horizon Europe is the financial instrument aimed at securing Europe’s global competitiveness. Seen as a means to drive economic growth and create jobs, Horizon Europe is backed by the support of Europe’s leaders and the Members of the European Parliament. They agreed that research is an investment for our common future and so put it at the heart of the EU’s blueprint for smart, sustainable, and inclusive growth and jobs.

By coupling research and innovation, Horizon Europe is helping to achieve this with its emphasis on excellent science, industrial leadership, and tackling societal challenges. The goal is to ensure Europe produces world-class science, removes barriers to innovation, and makes it easier for the public and private sectors to work together in delivering innovation.

The EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation will be complemented by further measures to complete and further develop the European Research Area. These measures will aim at breaking down barriers to create a genuine single market for knowledge, research, and innovation.

“Horizon Europe will have simpler rules, cutting red tape for beneficiaries”

European Commission

Horizon Europe Strategy

The areas of funding priorities, partnerships, and missions of Horizon Europe will be set in line with the strategic planning approach and will take the form of a multiannual strategy. The European Commission stresses the importance of planning to remain flexible in order to respond quickly to an unexpected crisis or substantiated policy demands.

Thus, work has been ongoing on Horizon Europe’s Implementation Strategy, which presents the framework for carefully designed rules and effective processes throughout the life cycle of the programme and project. As the European Commission claims the Strategy focusses on the following objectives:

  • Maximising impacts
  • Ensuring greater transparency and further simplification
  • Fostering synergies with other EU spending programmes
  • Easing access through digital transformation and outreach

Horizon Europe mission

Unlike Horizon 2020, Horizon Europe is very mission-oriented: it clearly sets specific objectives connected with the key societal challenges in every project portfolio. The missions should be completed using a bottom-up approach.

There are five mission areas aimed to address some of the world’s biggest challenges:

Horizon Europe Budget

The budget will be approx. €95.5 billion for 2021-2027.

This includes €5.4 billion from Next Generation EU to foster recovery and make the EU more resilient for the future, as well as an additional reinforcement of €4.5 billion. The Horizon Europe budget is increased by 30% compared to Horizon 2020 and is it the most ambitious research and innovation program ever created in the world.


Horizon Europe is an umbrella that includes several calls. To have an overview of all the calls available, go to the Horizon Funding and Tender Portal.

Structure of the Programme

Horizon Europe supports an inclusive structure that widens collaboration and enhances research and innovation systems throughout the continent. The three pillars support the creation and diffusion of excellent knowledge, expected outcomes, including expanding access to research, improving economic opportunity, and innovating collaborative processes.

Mission boards will propose and implement specific objectives, relating to areas of expertise, such as cancer prevention, climate change, and food resources. These proposals encourage engagement from citizens to ensure alignment with EU priorities. The overall impact will bridge the gap between citizens and the innovations that affect their daily lives.

Researchers expect to resolve global challenges and improve conditions worldwide by targeting ground-breaking initiatives. Sustainable goals will address societal needs, as outlined in the proposal. Regional innovations will also benefit Europe’s innovation ecosystems to ensure advantages for its citizens in technology, economics, science, and health.

3 + 1 pillars of Horizon Europe

1. Open Science

This pillar supports researchers through fellowships, exchanges, and funding of the projects defined and driven by researchers themselves. The pillar operates within the European Research Council, Marie-Skłodowska-Curie Actions, and Research Infrastructures.

2. Global Challenges & Industrial Competitiveness

This pillar fosters direct research related to societal challenges around issues that worry us daily, such as health, climate change, clean energy, mobility, security, digital, materials, etc. For that, the Joint Research Centre provides the EU with independent scientific evidence and technical support. Within this pillar and throughout the program as a whole the industrial leadership is supposed to get prominent.

3. Open Innovation

Innovative Europe is a new pillar that aims to make Europe a front runner in market-creating innovation. A new funding body, the European Innovation Council offers a one-stop shop for high potential and breakthrough technologies and innovative companies. The pillar includes as well the activities of the European Innovation Council, European Innovation Ecosystems, and European Institute of Innovation and Technology.

4. Widening Participation and Strengthening the European Research Area

The fourth pillar supports the European Member States in developing their national research and innovation capacities. A special focus is put on encouraging countries that perform lower in research and innovation to succeed in Horizon Europe. 

Can 1st Mile help me with the application process?

Yes, 1st Mile has long-dated expertise in submitting winning applications to the European Commission grand solutions, with a success rate of 75% of the applications submitted.

1st Mile doesn’t have strict criteria in selecting projects eligible for funding, i.e. size, number of employees, stage of development, turnover, number of previous attempts in getting the funding. Instead, 1st Mile individually assesses the project and its participants, always keeping in mind the ability of the company to deliver information/input for the application. The more the company is able to deliver the technical input required, the easier it will be for 1st Mile to get the required information for applying.

To read more about Horizon Europe call,  please click here.

How much of my time does 1st Mile require to apply for Horizon Europe funding?

When 1st Mile and the applying company start a collaboration, the applying company should consider 3-4 working weeks of commitment. This is the time needed to get all the requested input, prepare company CVs, gather partners, have meetings. 1st Mile’s time commitment depends a lot on the company; the easier it is to gather the information, the least time is required to finish an application.

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