Last March, the European Parliament and the Council reached a provisional agreement on the European Commission's proposal for the new Horizon Europe initiative, the EU's research and innovation program that will replace Horizon 2020.
Horizon Europe will have a total budget of 100 billion euros with an increase of 33 billion compared to Horizon 2020. The main innovations concern the establishment of the European Innovation Council (EIC), to encourage disruptive innovation and the creation of new markets; the introduction of "Missions" oriented to the impact on society and the economy; the implementation of the open science strategy, thanks also to the forthcoming establishment of the European Open Science Cloud and the development of a new approach to partnerships in order to increase their efficiency and rationalization.
The structure of the Program is confirmed with the 3 pillars (Open Science, Global Societal Challenges and Industrial Competitiveness; Open Innovation) to which is added a cross-sectional area dedicated to strengthening the European Research Area.
The "Open Science" pillar will have a total budget of 25.8 billion. There are three areas of intervention: strengthening European research through the European Research Council (16.6 billion); strengthening knowledge and skills through the Marie Skodowska- Curie actions (6.8 billion) and the development and consolidation of European research infrastructures (2.4 billion).
The pillar "Global Societal Challenges and Industrial Competitiveness" will have a total budget of 52.7 billion euros. The clusters or intervention areas are five: health (7.7 billion); development of safe and inclusive societies (2.8 billion); digitalization of the European industrial system (15 billion); measures to tackle climate change and energy challenges (15 billion) and natural and food resources (10 billion). Finally, 2.2 billion are foreseen for direct non-nuclear actions of the Joint Research Center (JRC).
The "Open Innovation" pillar will have a total budget of € 13.5 billion, of which € 10.5 billion for the establishment of the European Innovation Council (EIC), currently in its pilot phase, and € 3 billion for the financing of the already existing European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT).
The strengthening of the European Research Area will have a total budget of 2.1 billion, of which 1.7 billion dedicated to the goal of sharing scientific excellence and 400 million to the objective of reforming and improving the European research system and innovation.
An additional 2.4 billion will be destined to the EURATOM Program and 3.5 billion to the new InvestEU Fund, bringing the total allocation for research and innovation to around 100 billion.
The proposal for Horizon Europe will be discussed in the coming months with the European Parliament. The new European Commission should adopt the strategic plan by the end of the year and the Work Plan in the first few months of 2020. Horizon Europe will become operational, like the other EU Funds and Programs, from 1 January 2021.
To consult the documents on Horizon Europe, click here