The European Commission's new plan adopted for Horizon Europe will implement four strategic orientations over the next four years.
This is the first strategic plan for Horizon Europe and it sets out the strategic orientations to target investments in the first four years of the programme.
The plan ensures that EU research and innovation actions will contribute to implementing EU priorities, including a climate-neutral & green Europe, a Europe fit for the digital age and an economy that serves people.
Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice-President in charge of the Digital Europe portfolio, said: “This Plan provides a frame for top quality, excellence-based research and innovation to be delivered with the Horizon Europe Work Programme.
With this strategic orientation we ensure that research and innovation investments can contribute to a recovery process based on the twin green and digital transition, resilience and open strategic autonomy.”
Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, said: “The strategic plan’s orientations will ensure that our common EU policy priorities benefit from new knowledge, ideas and innovation. This new approach is another way to make sure that the research and innovation funded by the EU will address the challenges faced by Europeans.”
An ambitious plan for Horizon Europe
The strategic plan sets out four strategic orientations for research and innovation investments under Horizon Europe for the next four years:
Promote open strategic autonomy by leading the development of key digital, enabling and emerging technologies, sectors and value chains.
Restore Europe’s ecosystems and biodiversity and manage natural resources sustainably.
Make Europe the first circular, climate-neutral and sustainable economy based on digital technology.
Creating a more resilient, inclusive and democratic European society.
International cooperation underpins all four orientations, as it is essential to address many global challenges.
The strategic plan also identifies co-funded European partnerships and EU missions to be supported through Horizon Europe. The partnerships will cover crucial areas such as energy, transport, biodiversity, health, food and circularity, and will complement the ten institutionalised European partnerships proposed by the Commission in February.
The EU missions will address the global challenges that affect our daily lives, setting ambitious and inspiring but achievable goals, such as fighting cancer, adapting to climate change, protecting our oceans, greening cities and ensuring healthy soil and food.
Using a wide range of instruments across disciplines and policy areas, EU missions will address complex issues through research projects, policy measures or even legislative initiatives.
The orientations of the plan also address a number of horizontal issues, such as gender. Gender mainstreaming will be a default requirement in the content of research and innovation throughout the programme unless it is specified that sex or gender may not be relevant to the topic in question.
Next steps for Horizon Europe
The priorities set out in the Horizon Europe Strategic Plan will be implemented through the Horizon Europe Work Programme. The latter sets out funding opportunities for research and innovation activities through thematic calls for proposals and themes.
The first calls for proposals will be published in spring 2021 and presented at the European Research and Innovation Days on 23-24 June.
Following the political agreement on Horizon Europe in March and April 2019, the Commission launched a strategic planning process. The results are set out in the strategic plan.
The strategic plan has been developed following an extensive co-design process involving the European Parliament, Member States, stakeholders and the general public. More than 8000 contributions have been submitted at various stages of the strategic planning process.
The inclusive co-design process aims to ensure the widest possible ownership and optimise the overall impact of Horizon Europe.