Background of the Programme
On June 7, 2018, the European Commission (EC), published its 9th framework proposal to address innovation shortfalls and improve research and technological advancements, called Horizon Europe. The new proposal enables programme achievements to be measured, while ensuring strategic management and budgetary flexibility.
Additionally, a European Innovation Council has been tasked with supporting creative innovations and ideas to ensure that Europe remains a strong leader in the global economy. This initiative will offer select innovators all the start-up support and funding they need to bring bright ideas into the market.
Key performance indicators for Horizon 2020 (H2020) include 65,000 researchers under Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions or 25 publications plus 1 patent application for every €10 million in FET funding. Horizon Europe focuses on improving the objectives in the previous framework, H2020, by supporting a broad range of member state science and research projects.
Horizon Europe will include research and innovation missions to increase funding efficiency by achieving clearly defined goals. The lessons learned from the H2020 Interim Evaluation, motivate four Key Novelties in Horizon Europe – European Innovation Council (EIC), R&I Missions, extended association possibilities and open science policy, and a new approach to partnerships.
Mission boards are spearheading five major initiatives – to end cancer, address climate change, clean oceans, develop climate-neutral cities, and produce healthy food. Each of these five boards consists of 15 well-respected experts from a pool of talented citizens along with academic, financial, and industry leaders. These experts will contribute creative ideas for resolving regional, national, and international issues.
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 Comission stresses the importance of the planning to remain flexible in order to respond quickly to 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
Missions of the Programme
One of the main novelties in Horizon Europe is the mission-orientation – a set of certain objectives connected with the key societal challenges aimed to be achieved with project portfolios. The missions relevant to a broad range of stakeholders and to citizens 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
On 20 July, EU national leaders agreed the budget of €75.9 billion for Horizon Europe. On 11 November, the Programme received top-up of €4 billion. Thus, the overall budget of Horizon Europe in a long-term (2021-2027) – €79.9 billion.
In 2018, the European Commission proposed a budget of €83.5 billion for the new framework programme. Earlier this year, that figure was revised to €80.9 billion, which was subsequently increased in May, with €13.5 billion expected from the Covid-19 reconstruction fund to total €94.4 billion (all in relation to 2018). However, the latest agreement brought that figure down to only €4 billion.
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.