HORIZON EUROPE: THE NEW RESEARCH PROGRAMME OF THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION

The European Commission has recently published the new research and innovation framework programme that will replace the Horizon 2020 framework that is ending. Horizon Europe will incorporate policy missions to ensure the effectiveness of research and innovation funding by pursuing clearly defined targets.

Horizon Europe will begin in January 2021 and will end in December 2027.

HORIZON EUROPE: OBJECTIVES

The European Commission for these new 7-years programme has allocated a budget of € 100 billion with the aim of:

  • Strengthening the EU’s scientific and technological bases;
  • Boosting Europe’s innovation capacity, competitiveness and jobs;
  • Delivering on citizens’ priorities and sustain our socio-economics model and values.

These new objectives have their underlying reasons in the fact that Europe fails to transform leadership in science into leadership in innovation and entrepreneurship.

With Horizon Europe, the European Commission wants to:

  • Ensure essential investment and stimulating private investment;
  • Make regulatory frameworks fit for innovation;
  • Become a front runner in market-creating innovation;
  • Reconnect R&I with citizens;
  • Support the dissemination of innovation throughout the Union.

HORIZON EUROPE: STRUCTURE

The whole programme is structured in 3 main pillars and each of them has specific goals to achieve and different fields of action:

  • Pillar 1 – Open Science: the aim of this first area of the programme is supporting the creation and diffusion of high-quality knowledge. The European Commission intends to allocate a total budget of € 25,8 billion for the calls that will be included within this pillar;
  • Pillar 2 – Industrial Competitiveness: this second pillar is aimed at strengthening the impact of R&I in supporting EU policies. Fields of action include health, digital innovation, natural resources, energy and mobility. The total budget for this area of action is € 52,7 billion;
  • Pillar 3 – Open Innovation: the last pillar aims at fostering all forms of innovation and strengthen market deployment. For the period 2021-2027 the EU Commission will allocate € 13,5 billion.

THE MAIN NOVELTIES OF HORIZON EUROPE WITH RESPECT TO HORIZON 2020

All the novelties contained in Horizon Europe are correlated to the mid-term results of Horizon 2020 programme and aim at improving the total impact of the action and reducing the difficulties faced during Horizon 2020.

EUROPEAN INNOVATION COUNCIL

The European Commission, in order to support innovation with breakthrough and disruptive nature, has founded the European Innovation Council (EIC) that will have the aim of helping innovators to create markets of the future, leverage private finance, scale up their companies etc.

To do so, the EIC will use 2 instruments: Pathfinder and Accelerator.

The Pathfinder tool takes over the FET OPEN mechanism and supports collaborative research projects on emerging technologies, with an EU contribution of up to 4 million euros. The Pathfinder is aimed at researchers and innovators who want to demonstrate the commercial viability of their project.

The Accelerator tool, instead, takes up the SME Instrument and supports the development of innovative interventions presented by entrepreneurs, start-ups and SMEs. In addition to the currently open calls for the SME Facility – which provide for the payment of grants of up to 2.5 million euros – from the 5th of June 2019 the beneficiaries will be able to apply for mixed financing, combining contributions and equity.

R&I MISSIONS

For the period covered by Horizon Europe, the EU Commission wants to better relate research and innovation to society and citizens’ needs with a strong visibility and impact.

A mission is a portfolio of actions intended to achieve a bold and inspirational as well as measurable goal within a set timeframe, with impact for science and technology, society and citizens that goes beyond individual actions.

Specific missions will be co-designed with Member States, stakeholders and citizens and programmed within the Global Challenges and Industrial Competitiveness pillar.

To do so, the EIC will use 2 instruments: Pathfinder and Accelerator.

The Pathfinder tool takes over the FET OPEN mechanism and supports collaborative research projects on emerging technologies, with an EU contribution of up to 4 million euros. The Pathfinder is aimed at researchers and innovators who want to demonstrate the commercial viability of their project.

The Accelerator tool, instead, takes up the SME Instrument and supports the development of innovative interventions presented by entrepreneurs, start-ups and SMEs. In addition to the currently open calls for the SME Facility – which provide for the payment of grants of up to 2.5 million euros – from the 5th of June 2019 the beneficiaries will be able to apply for mixed financing, combining contributions and equity.

INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION

With this respect, the Commission wants to tackle together global societal challenges, access to the world’s best talents and enhance supply and demand of innovative solutions. For all these reasons, Horizon Europe will be opened to third countries with good capacity in science, technology and innovation.

OPEN SCIENCE

For Horizon Europe the aim will be ensuring a better dissemination and exploitation of R&I results and support to active engagement of society. For this reason, the EU Commission has established 2 new rules:

  • Mandatory Open Access to publications: beneficiaries must ensure the existence of sufficient rights to comply with open access requirements;
  • Mandatory Data Management Plan for FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Re-usable) and Open Research Data: for all research data with possibilities to opt-out from open access requirements.

EUROPEAN PARTNERSHIPS

One of the most important novelties of Horizon Europe is the re-designed architecture to find partners for the calls. There will be 3 types of partnerships:

  • Co-programmed: Based on Memoranda of Understanding / contractual arrangements; implemented independently by the partners and by Horizon Europe;
  • Co-funded: Based on a joint programme agreed by partners; commitment of partners for financial and in-kind contributions & financial contribution by Horizon Europe;
  • Institutionalised: Based on long-term dimension and need for high integration; partnerships based on Articles 185 / 187 of TFEU and the EIT Regulation supported by Horizon Europe.

If you want to stay updated with the latest news about all the European calls visit our Journal.

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