The ambitious EU research and innovation framework programme Horizon Europe is the European Union (EU) Research and Innovation (R&I) programme for the 2021-2027 period. Horizon Europe is the EU’s key funding programme for research and innovation with a budget of €95.5 billion (including €5.4 billion from NGEU – Next Generation Europe – programme of EU for Recovery from COVID-19 crisis).

Horizon Europe is based on a 3-pillar model that will support open science, global challenges and industrial competitiveness and open innovation, in addition to supporting the strengthening of the European Research Area.

It promotes scientific excellence, the creation and dissemination of new knowledge, skills, technologies and solutions, as well as access to world-class research infrastructures, and promotes the training and mobility of researchers, thus increasing the attractiveness of the European Research Area. The task of the first pillar is to strengthen and expand the excellence of the EU's scientific base. The pillar consists of three programs:

Under the Pillar II, research and innovation will be supported by 2 parallel approaches: task-oriented projects and thematic cluster partnerships. There are 6 thematic clusters in Pillar II:

The pillar identifies areas of EU challenge with ambitious targets to address some of the EU's biggest challenges. It also includes the activities of the Joint Research Center, which provides EU and national policy makers with independent scientific evidence and technical support.

Each mission will act as a portfolio of activities, such as research projects, policy measures or even legislative initiatives, to achieve a measurable goal that could not be achieved by individual activities. The EU's areas of responsibility will contribute to the European Green Course, the European Agenda for Cancer and the Sustainable Development Goals.

European Partnerships bring together the European Commission and private and / or public partners to address some of Europe's most pressing challenges through coordinated research and innovation initiatives. It is one of the main tools for implementing Horizon Europe and makes a significant contribution to the EU's political priorities. By bringing together private and public partners, European Partnerships help to avoid duplication of investment and help reduce the fragmentation of the research and innovation landscape in the EU.

The aim of the Innovative Europe Pillar is to make Europe a market leader in creative innovation through the European Innovation Council. It also contributes to the overall European innovation landscape by developing European innovation ecosystems and using the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), which promotes the integration of the knowledge triangle of education, research and innovation.  European Innovation Ecosystems (EIE) will act in complement and synergy with the European Innovation Council (EIC) and European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) and innovative activities across Horizon Europe and other EU funding programmes to improve the overall ecosystem for innovation in Europe.

The EU aims to create more connected and efficient innovation ecosystems to support the scaling of companies, encourage innovation and stimulate cooperation among national, regional and local innovation actors.

Widening Participation and Spreading Excellence actions under Horizon Europe, contribute to building research and innovation capacity for countries lagging behind. They will strengthen their potential for successful participation in transnational research and innovation processes, promote networking and access to excellence.

Areas of Widening:

  • Teaming: Support/create centres of excellences as role models to stimulate excellence, new investments and reforms of national research and innovation systems.
  • Twinning: Develop excellence in chosen research and innovation domain, increase visibility of the research institutions and universities, and upskill its staff.
  • ERA Chairs, to support universities or research organisations from eligible countries to attract and maintain high quality human resources and help excellent scientists and their teams to become game changers in their field.
  • European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST),cross-border scientific network helping excellent researchers and innovators get access to the European and international networks.

Reforming and enhancing the European Research and Innovation focuses on policy reforms at national level will be mutually reinforced and complemented through the development of EU-level policy initiatives, research, networking, partnering, coordination, data collection and monitoring and evaluation.

  • strengthening the evidence base for research and innovation policy, for a better understanding of the different dimensions and components of national and regional research and innovation ecosystems, including drivers, impacts, associated polices
  • foresight activities, to anticipate emerging needs and trends, in coordination and co-design with national agencies and future-oriented stakeholders
  • support for policy makers, funding bodies, research performing organisations (including universities) or advisory groups working on the European Research Area and related policies
  • accelerating the transition towards open science, by monitoring, analysing and supporting the development and uptake of open science policies and practices
  • support for synergies between research and innovation and higher education policies and programmes, in particular towards a modernised higher education sector, benefitting from targeted transformations in higher education, research, and innovation
  • support for interconnected knowledge ecosystems, strong in knowledge creation, circulation and use
  • strengthening research careers, to ensure research and innovation talents benefit from attractive careers, and a highly skilled workforce can circulate freely