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European Commission Proposal for "Horizon Europe" published

Yesterday the European Commission published its long-awaited proposal for FP9 / Horizon Europe – the next research framework programme (2021-2027). EU Commissioner for Research & Innovation Carlos Moedas stated that it was the most ambitious and innovative programme yet, with €94.1 billion for the seven year budget period. Collaborative funding for health will receive a good chunk, at €7.7 billion, although this is not as much clusters such as climate and mobility. Health projects will also show up in other areas of Horizon Europe as well, for instance in the European Research Council, which funds leading researchers.

In a press conference Commissioner Moedas alluded that high-profile health challenges could dominate the missions section of the programme. We understand that the targets won’t be defined before 2019, nor is it clear the number of missions,  but it is expected that each mission will have around €1 billion budget.

The proposal has been criticised by some NGOs, including the European Public Health Alliance and Doctors without Borders, saying it failed to include a requirement that all entities receiving EU funds to innovate treatments, prevention or diagnosis of diseases should have to commit to make the result of their work accessible and affordable. (see statement here).

And finally, in the proposal, the Commission establishes Open Science as ‘the modus operandi of the new programme’ and proposes to mandate open access both to research publications and FAIR data as early as possible with provisions to enable their widest possible use and reuse.

Below you find an overview of how the programme is structured.

  European Commission publishes its €94.1B Horizon Europe proposal

Seven-year research programme labelled the EU’s ‘most ambitious ever’
Overview of Horizon Europe:  Funds allocated, clusters and interventions areas detailed in the programme.

1.    Pillar I - Open Science (€25.8 B)
This pillar builds on the success of the European Research Council, the Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions and the Research Infrastructures component in the current framework programme.
European Research Council (€16.6 B)
The European Research Council is considered the first pan-European funding body for bottom-up ‘frontier’ research, focusing on advances at and beyond the ‘frontier’ of knowledge. It was established in 2007 under EU’s Seventh Framework Programme for Research.
Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions (€6.8 B)
These actions provide opportunities for training and career development. It supports researchers at all stages of their careers, across all disciplines and encourages individuals to work in other countries.
Research infrastructures (€2.4 B)
Research infrastructure (including e-infrastructures) is meant to develop European research infrastructure, foster their innovation potential and human capital, and complement this with the related Union policy and international cooperation.
2.    Pillar II - Global Challenges and Industrial Competitiveness (€52.7 B)
This pillar includes five thematic clusters that address the full spectrum of global challenges through top-down collaborative R&I activities:
1.    Health (€7.7 B)
2.    Inclusive and Secure Society (€2.8 B)
3.    Digital and Industry (€15 B)
4.    Climate, Energy and Mobility (€15 B)
5.    Food and Natural Resources (€10 B)
The clusters – supported by areas of intervention – should cut across typical boundaries between disciplines, sectors and policy areas and lead to more collaboration and increased impact in what concerns Union and global policy priorities.
This pillar will be specifically designed in an impact-oriented manner.
The Joint Research Centre (€2.2 B), the Commission's science and knowledge service is included under this Pillar II.
Furthermore, a small number of missions with specific goals will be launched from within Pillar II, establishing a comprehensive portfolio of projects, but also drawing on relevant activities and outputs from other parts of the programme.
Missions will be decided and co-designed as part of the Horizon Europe strategic planning process, which will include a collaborative effort by relevant Commission departments, Member States, the European Parliament and relevant stakeholders.
There will not be a separate budget for missions, though missions will have a budget assigned through the work programme. Missions are normally expected to be cross-cutting in nature and so receive their budget from more than one cluster.
At the Press Conference this morning, Commissioner Moedas hinted on possibly 5 to 10 billion € dedicated to missions.
3.    Pillar III - Open Innovation’ (€13.5 B)
This pillar will essentially focus on scaling up breakthrough and market-creating innovation through a new European Innovation Council EIC (€10.5 B) and provide for activities aiming at enhancing and developing the overall European innovation landscape, including support to the European Institute of Innovation and Technology EIT (€3 B).
4.    Horizontal pillar - Strengthening the European Research Area (€2.1 B)
The main components of this particular part are: ‘sharing excellence’ (€1.7 B); and ‘reforming and enhancing the European R&I system’ (€0.4 B), covering the next generation Policy Support Facility – the instrument developed by the EC to give Member States and countries associated to Horizon 2020 practical support to design, implement and evaluate reforms that enhance the quality of their research and innovation investments, policies and systems
This part will also include activities on: foresight activities; monitoring and evaluating the Framework Programme and disseminating and exploiting results; modernising European universities; supporting enhanced international cooperation; and science, society and citizens.
For more information please see the links below:

Press release
Legal texts on Horizon Europe

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