Horizon Europe

EU's Research & Innovation Framework Programme for 2021-2027

Horizon Europe – lighting the path to innovation (2021-2027)

Europe is putting forth a great effort to improve and sustain the continent’s robust growth and development, while creating a better quality of life. Horizon Europe is the most ambitious programme ever implemented to address the ills of society. Within the long-term budget 2021-2027 the Programme will receive €95.5 billion.

The EU is investing substantial resources towards alleviating common problems facing its citizens: human resources, industrial modernization, infrastructure, and inter-regional collaboration. Europe plans to transform science leadership into global leadership in entrepreneurship and innovation by 2027. Its strategic planners are using a complex funding structure with a consortium of public-private partnerships to enhance opportunities for all Europeans.

Horizon Europe budget

The new EU research and innovation programme will have a budget of around €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 overall Horizon Europe budget represents a 30% increase comparing against Horizon 2020 and makes it the most ambitious research and innovation programme in the world.

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 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 aims to 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 address societal needs, as outlined in the proposal. Regional innovations also benefit Europe’s innovation ecosystems to ensure advantages for its citizens in technology, economics, science, and health.

Three pillars of Horizon Europe

  • Excellent Science – this pillar supports researchers through fellowships, exchanges, and funding the projects defined and driven by researchers themselves. The pillar operates within European Research Council, Marie-Skłodowska-Curie Actions, and Research Infrastructures.
  • Global Challenges & Industrial Competitiveness – this pillar fosters directly 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 EU with independent scientific evidence and technical support. Within this pillar and throughout the programme as a whole the industrial leadership is supposed to get prominent.
  • Innovative Europe – this 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 European Innovation Ecosystems and European Institute of Innovation and Technology.
  • Widening Participation and Strengthening the European Research Area – the fourth component of Horizon Europe aimed to support 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 the Programme.
Three pillars of Horizon Europe
Source: the European Comission

EMDESK checklist for Horizon Europe – towards a successful participation

Download and share with your colleagues our helpful at a glance Horizon Europe checklist, which shows all the key elements for a successful preparation to your Horizon EU project.

Horizon Europe work programmes 2023-2024

The work programmes outline funding opportunities within the Horizon Europe programme.

One specific programme is implemented through the main work programmes:

  • Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions and research infrastructures under Pillar I
  • all clusters under Pillar II
  • European innovation ecosystems under Pillar III
  • the part widening participation and strengthening the European Research Area

Or, the other work programmes which are:

  • European Research Council (ERC)
  • Joint Research Centre (JRC)
  • European Innovation Council (EIC)

Horizon Europe work programmes 2023-2024 are now officially pre-published and can be downloaded here.

Horizon Europe work programmes 2021-2022 are available to view and can be all downloaded here.

    Following the link above, you’ll also be able to find other documents for the application package, including general guidance and requirements, grant agreements and contracts, as well as budget patterns and templates specific for this or that programme. Also, do not forget that all these templates are available in EMDocs – the online editor from EMDESK. It allows you to collaborate on the structure and write together the narrative part of your Horizon Europe proposal right away with the relevant template, rather than from scratch. Easily invite people to start collaborating and join the work on the proposal as your consortium grows.

    Horizon Europe strategy

    The areas of funding priorities, partnerships, and missions of Horizon Europe are to be set in line with the strategic planning approach and 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

    Horizon Europe's first strategic plan 2021-2024

    The European Commission has adopted the first strategic plan for Horizon Europe, setting research and innovation priorities for 2021-2024. The strategic plan is one of the novelties in the new funding programme, which is developed to set the strategic orientations in the first four years of Horizon Europe and, thus, to ensure that EU research and innovation contribute to EU priorities: a European Green Deal, a Europe fit for the digital age, an economy that works for people, a stronger Europe in the world, promoting the European way of life, and a new push for European democracy.

    Underpinned by international cooperation essential for facing global challenges, the strategic plan for 2021-2024 sets out the following four strategic orientations:

    • Promoting an open strategic autonomy, by leading the development of key digital, enabling and emerging technologies, sectors and value chains
    • Restoring Europe's ecosystems and biodiversity, and sustainably managing natural resources
    • Making Europe the first digitally enabled circular, climate-neutral, and sustainable economy
    • Creating a more resilient, inclusive, and democratic European society

    To ensure the widest possible participation and optimize the overall impact of Horizon Europe, the strategic plan was prepared following a joint development process involving Member States, EEA members, the European Parliament, stakeholders, and the public at large.

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

    What is new in Horizon Europe

    The new framework funding programme has a number of remarkable novelties:

    • The European Innovation Council (EIC): established as a one-stop shop to support breakthrough innovation.
    • Research & Innovation (R&I) missions: mission-orientation is one of the great innovations under Horizon Europe aimed to address important societal challenges, such as cancer and climate change.
    • Open Science policy: meaning open access to publications, data, and research data management plans.
    • New approach to Partnerships: the European Partnership Instrument is simplified in order to rationnalize the funding landscape.
    • Simpler rules: administrative burden is reduced in order to streamline the number of co-funded partnerships with partners like industry, civil society, and funding foundations.

    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:

    popular EMDESK Webinar Krisztina Toth


    Decoding Horizon Europe lump sum model – Expert Insights

    This one-hour webinar introduces the key features of the lump sum model in Horizon Europe, provides budget planning and work package design practices, as well as offers suggestions on how to implement and monitor lump sum projects.

    Expert article

    The best project management software for Horizon Europe projects in 2024

    Learn more about the key must-have features a project management software needs in order to fully support multi-partner Horizon Europe projects.

    Further suggested articles

    Horizon Europe Work Programme 2023-24 Guide

    This article gives you an overview of all Horizon Europe Work Programmes for 2023-24, that will provide some €13.5 billion in funding to foster excellence in European research and innovation.

    Finding the right Horizon Europe call

    This article provides an overview of the Horizon Europe work programmes to help you choose the most relevant Horizon Europe call for your research project. Here, you'll also find a quick checklist on how to apply to the Programme.

    The 5 best practices on acquiring the Horizon Europe grant

    Start early, predict wisely, make impact – shape the future of the EU research! Unlock the 5 critical practices to secure the Horizon Europe grant.

    Lump sum funding in Horizon Europe: How does it work?

    Lump sum funding in Horizon Europe represents a significant shift in financial management. In this guide, we outline the crucial changes associated with this shift, along with expert tips on how to manage them effectively.

    The best project management software for Horizon Europe projects in 2022

    How long do you spend on managing tasks and resources? What amount of time do you use for reporting over the lifecycle of your research projects? In this article, we outline the top 5 most popular project management software for Horizon Europe that help you streamline project collaboration.

    3 steps to build winning Horizon Europe partnerships

    This article is an expert guidance on how to build a winning consortium for a Horizon Europe project – from tips on devising the proper strategy and using the right tools for finding Horizon Europe partnerships to recommendations on considering different types of partners.

    The comprehensive Horizon Europe Model Grant Agreement guide

    In this article, we will make a brief but substantial introduction about the new Horizon Europe Model Grant Agreement that was officially announced by the European Commission in June 2021.

    Navigating through Horizon Europe financial guidelines

    In this article, you'll find an overview of the financial regulation applicable to the general budget of the EU, highlighting Horizon Europe financial guidelines and participation rules, as well as the legal framework for individual projects.

    Introduction to Horizon Europe proposal development

    How can one apply to the Horizon EU Programme? What’s the ideal time to start developing a Horizon Europe proposal? What are the main steps to make and the core evaluation criteria to keep in mind while creating your proposal? Read this article for expert guidance on the proposal development process.

    How to successfully manage a collaborative Horizon Europe project

    What do you and your teams need to know about managing a Horizon Europe project with numerous partners? Find out the 4 criteria for successful project management, as well as a list of must-haves a project management tool needs to fully support your projects.

    EMDESK - the leading project management software for Horizon Europe projects

    Watch how EMDESK can support you in developing project proposals and help your teams collaborate successfully during the implementation stage of your projects, while keeping track of budgets, meeting deadlines on time, and having projects' data available at one glance.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Can I use EMDESK for Horizon Europe projects?

    Yes, EMDESK is designed to help you plan and execute a Horizon Europe project. During project creation just choose the right Horizon Europe template.

    What Horizon Europe and Horizon 2020 templates are available on EMDESK?

    EMDESK offers several ready-to-use templates that populate new workspaces with predefined content – all easily customized to your needs and the way your teams work. When you create a new workspace, choose from a variety of templates – generic or specialized, e.g. Horizon Europe or H2020.

    Are the costs for EMDESK eligible for reimbursement under Horizon Europe?

    Yes, EMDESK is reimbursable in Horizon Europe (as Other Direct Costs or overhead fees).


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