R&D Programme HORIZON 2021-2027 Part I

Horizon Europe is the next European Framework Programme for Research and Innovation for the period 2021-2027. Having a budget of around €100 billion (of which €3.5 billion are allocated under the InvestEU Fund), Horizon Europe is the most ambitious research and innovation programme ever, financed by the European long-term budget and the new recovery instrument, Next Generation EU. Building on the success of the Horizon 2020 experience, the new Framework Programme will continue to support and promote scientific excellence in Europe with a new mission-based approach, in order to achieve even better results from a social, political and economic perspective.

The programme aims to:

  • Strengthen and disseminate excellence, frontier and basic research of excellence, fostering a more inclusive and broad participation by citizens, to improve the link between research, innovation, and where appropriate, education and other policies.
  • Support the implementation of EU priorities for action and face global challenges affecting the quality of life. The programme supports policies in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (Agenda 2030), the 6 priorities of the Von der Leyen Commission 2019-2024 and the Paris Climate Agreement. This is done in accordance with the European socio-economic model and values, promoting responsible research and innovation, and improving the gender dimension;increase collaborative links in European R&I, across sectors and disciplines, with broader international cooperation attracting talented researchers through mobility.
  • Develop more competitive research infrastructures in the European Research Area (ERA) by providing transnational access, to promote open science and ensure its visibility to the public.
  • Implement a more active and inclusive dissemination to encourage a systematic use of R&I results, especially for leverage effect on private investment and policy development.
  • Set and achieve ambitious objectives, through the use of missions, to stimulate R&I activities in SMEs and increase the number of innovative companies.
  • Encourage industrial competitiveness, innovative capacity and employment in Europe.

The programme is based on 3 main pillars:

Pillar 1: Scientific excellence. It aims to strengthen and extend the excellence of the Union’s science base.

The European Research Council (€16.6 billion) ensures that frontier research is carried out by the best researchers.

The Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (€6.8 billion), individual research grants, aim at training researchers to provide them with new knowledge and skills.

Europe is being equipped with world-class research infrastructures (€2.4 billion) that are integrated and interconnected so that they are accessible to all researchers in Europe.

Pillar 2: Global challenges and European industrial competitiveness. Horizon 2021-2027 aims to promote key technologies and solutions in support of EU policies and sustainable development objectives. €52.7 billion are made available to this section which are used for:

  • Digitisation, industry and space.
  • Civil security for society.
  • Health.
  • Food, bio-economy, natural resources, agriculture and environment.
  • Culture, creativity, inclusive societies.
  • Climate, energy and mobility.

Pillar 3: Innovative Europe. Under this section, the programme aims to stimulate pioneering market-creating innovations and innovation-friendly ecosystems.

The European Innovation Council supports innovations with pioneering and market-creating potential.

The Europen Innovation Ecosystems serve to connect innovation operators at regional and national level.

The European Institute of Innovation and Technology brings together the main operators (research, education and enterprises) around a common goal to foster innovation.

Programmes for EU cooperation with third countries

In addition to the European funding programmes described above, special EU programmes are designed to promote EU cooperation with third countries. They are not only a form of aid and support from the European Union to partner countries, but constitute one of the main forms of EU intervention in foreign policy.

The main programmes are divided by geographical region.

Programme management

Within the framework of cooperation programmes with Third Countries, the management of European funds may be the responsibility of different bodies: the European Commission, the beneficiary country, an international organisation, an executive agency of the European Commission or a national agency of a Member State.

Direct management: the European Commission is directly responsible for managing the funds and acts in the name of or on behalf of the beneficiary country;

Indirect management: the European Commission entrusts the management of funds to the beneficiary country, its designated bodies, international organisations or other development agencies;

Shared management: the European Commission entrusts the management of funds to a Member State.