Dispatch on funding
State of play Horizon Europe
The European Union’s (EU) 9th Framework Programme, Horizon Europe, runs from 2021 to 2027. It is the largest research and innovation funding programme in the world and the most ambitious such programme in the history of the EU so far.
The 9th Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (Horizon Europe 2021–2027) was officially launched on 12 May 2021 following approval of its legal basis by the Council of the European Union on 16 March 2021 and by the European Parliament on 27 April 2021. The programme entered into force retroactively on 1 January 2021.
Horizon Europe – main features
With a budget of EUR 95.5 billion, including contributions from the NextGenerationEU recovery plan, Horizon Europe is the most ambitious research and innovation funding programme in the history of the European Union. Excellence in science will continue to be funded and advanced by the European Research Council (ERC) and Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions
(MSCA). Knowledge-based innovations as well as the European Innovation Council (EIC) and the European Institute of Innovation and Technology
(EIT) will drive forward the EU’s industrial competitiveness and innovative performance. The new Framework Programme for Research and Innovation aims to strengthen the EU’s science and technology base by investing more in highly qualified workers and cutting-edge research. Horizon Europe should also help to drive forward the EU's strategic priorities. This includes building a resilient, inclusive and democratic European society that is prepared for and able to respond to threats and disasters, and restoring and safeguarding Europe’s ecosystems and biodiversity to ensure a clean and healthy environment. Guided by the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Horizon Europe will therefore help in achieving green and digital transformation and strengthen the European Research Area (ERA).
Horizon Europe is organised somewhat differently to former programmes (Horizon 2020; 2014–2020) and includes new elements and simplifications:
- The European Innovation Council (EIC) is now an integral part of Horizon Europe, with its own governance structures and research funding instruments in a separate work programme.
- A new element in Horizon Europe are the five EU-wide research and innovation missions that aim to address major societal challenges, such as the spread of cancer and climate change, through ambitious and applied long-term research and innovation. Citizens, stakeholders, the European Parliament and member states will be involved in these mission areas to increase the visibility of research and innovation and make science more inclusive.
- Open Science is the new modus operandi in Horizon Europe. The Open Access policy now applies to the whole programme.
Like Horizon 2020, Horizon Europe is structured into three pillars:
- The first pillar, Excellent Science, funds basic research and ground-breaking research projects via the European Research Council (ERC). It also includes grant funding via the Marie Skłodowska Curie Actions (MSCA) and investment in world-class research infrastructures.
- The second pillar, Global Challenges and European Industrial Competitiveness, funds research related to social challenges and expands technological and industrial capacities. In addition, this pillar encompasses the EU-wide mission areas (see What’s new), which are designed to find solutions to the major problems of our time and to advance the strategic priorities of the European Union and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It also includes the activities of the Joint Research Centres, which provide independent scientific and technical support to policymakers in the EU and its member states.
- The third pillar, Innovative Europe, aims to make Europe a leader in science-based innovation, with a major role being played by the European Innovation Council (EIC). This pillar will contribute to the development of the entire European innovation landscape, promoting the role of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) and the involvement of businesses, research, higher education and entrepreneurship. It will also promote networking among regional innovation ecosystems.
Structure of Horizon Europe
Part: Widening participation and strengthening the European Research Area
Complementary programme: Euratom Research and Training Programme
Focus on nuclear fusion and fission research and training
Euratom Research and Training Programme
Horizon Europe Programm Struktur, source: European Commission
Switzerland and the EU share long-standing and successful cooperation ties in the area of research and innovation. Swiss participation in the EU research framework programmes is part of the first series of bilateral agreements between Switzerland and the EU that came into effect in 2002. It does not involve market access issues and is therefore not part of the discussions on an institutional agreement. Switzerland thus expects to be able to participate in Horizon Europe and is committed to this objective.
SERI publishes regular updates on Horizon Europe (see Further information).