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about the European Research Area (ERA)


Horizon Europe

With a proposed budget of 100 billion euro from 2021–2027, Horizon Europe represents the largest multinational collaborative research and innovation investment in Europe and is open to participants worldwide. Horizon Europe will be a new, ninth framework programme for research and innovation in period of 2021 – 2027. It will be a seamless continuation of the previous programme – Horizon 2020, which was the biggest and the most important programme for financing project in area of science, research and innovation in European Union during the last seven years, e.g. in period 2014 – 2020.

The Commission's proposal for Horizon Europe is an ambitious €100 billion research and innovation programme to succeed Horizon 2020, including 3.5 billion EUR for InvestEU fund and 2.4 billion EUR for EURATOM. The final budget, synergies and associations of associated countries for Horizon Europe is dependent on negotiations on multiannual financial framework (MFF) for period of 2021 – 2027.

Orientation towards the first strategic plan for Horizon Europe was published by European Commission (EC).

On 7 June 2018 the proposal for the European Union Framework Programme for Research and Innovation 2021 – 2027 (Horizon Europe) was adopted by the EC.  In the spring of 2019 the European Parliament and the Council reached a political agreement on key elements of the proposal. According to this agreement, Horizon Europe will be structured in three Pillars, supported by activities aimed at widening participation and strengthening the European Research Area.

Horizon Europe is comprised of three distinct Pillars, supported by activities to widen participation and strengthening the European Research Area (ERA), each part contributing to the common Horizon Europe objectives. While the Strategic Planning process focuses on the activities within Pillar II, ‘Global challenges and European industrial competitiveness’, coordination is sought with relevant activities in other parts of the programme in order to maximize added value and impact overall.

Current document published by EC is not Strategic plan itself or its draft, but it is a document creating a solid basis for the first Strategic plan and the first working programmes of Horizon Europe.

Preliminary Horizon Europe Structure

Structure of Horizon Europe

Horizon Europe will be realized through three pillars:

Pillar I – Excellent Science (25.8 billion EUR planned) aims to promote scientific excellence, the creation and diffusion of new knowledge, skills, technologies and solutions as well as the access to and the development of world-class research infrastructures, and boost the training and mobility of researchers, thus raising the attractiveness of the European Research Area.

The European Research Council (ERC) (16.6 billion EUR) will continue to pursue ground breaking, high-gain/high-risk research and to advance the frontiers of knowledge. 

ERC will also share experience and best practices with regional and national research funding agencies and build links to other parts of Horizon Europe, in particular Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) (8.6 billion EUR), to promote the support of excellent researchers.  The Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) will continue to fund, support and train the people and institutions behind research and innovation, strengthening excellent doctoral and postdoctoral training programmes, as well as researcher training and career development systems across the ERA.


Pillar II – Global challenges and competitiveness of the European industry (52.7 billion EUR) will strengthen key technologies and solutions for support of EU policies and sustainable development. It should directly support of research related to societal challenges, strengthen of technologies and industrial capacities and set the „missions“ at EU level. Pillar II includes also Joint Research Center (JRC) (2.2 billion EUR) supporting by independent scientific knowledges and technical support the authors of the European policies. 

One of the main novelties of Horizon Europe is the introduction of missions: high-ambition, high-profile initiatives which will put forward concrete solutions to challenges facing European citizens and society. Missions are intended to achieve a measurable goal within a set timeframe, with impact for science and technology and/or society and citizens that could not be achieved through individual actions. They are currently in the process of being defined and should stem from the following mission areas, which have been defined in the Horizon Europe agreement by Council and Parliament in April 2019:

The second pillar will be divided into 6 clusters:

  1.  Health (7.7 billion EUR¹)
  2. Culture, creativity and inclusive society
  3. Civil security for society
  4. Digitalization, industry and space (15 billion EUR¹)
  5. Climate, energy and mobility (15 billion EUR¹)
  6. Food, bioeconomy, natural resources, agriculture and environment (10 billion EUR¹).

Pillar III – Innovative Europe (13.5 billion EUR) aims to reinforce the innovative capacities of Europe, through supporting the development and deployment of disruptive and market-creating innovations, enhancing the overall European innovation landscape by linking together European ecosystems, and reinforcing the synergies between academia, entrepreneurs, not least SMEs, and market operators. 

The European Innovation Council (EIC) will enhance Europe’s capabilities at the forefront of the next wave of disruptive, market-creating innovation. It will be the one-stop shop for enabling inventors, innovators and investors to bring the most promising ideas to real world application, and will support the scaling-up of innovative start-ups and companies. 

This pillar will develop the whole area of innovations in Europe by further strengthen of European innovation and technology institute (EIT) for integration of the actors with the common aim of innovation development in area of research, university education and entrepreneurship (3 billion EUR). There is also a suggestion to commit 500 million EUR for European innovation ecosystems.

EC also suggests widening of the measures for countries with weaker research-innovative results. These measures should be under Widening Participation and Strengthening the European Research Area. 1.7 billion EUR of total 2.1 billion EUR should be distributed from component Widening participation and spreading excellence, which will combine schemes: Teaming, Twinning, ERA Chair a COST

The next component of this part of Horizon Europe is Reforming and Enhancing the European R&I system with planned budget 400 million EUR and it should cover such activities as  monitoring and evaluation of the framework programme, dissemination and exploitation of the projects results, modernization of the European universities, support and strengthen of international.

1. Working papers and calls:
• Easier calls, more impact oriented;
• Better readability of work papers;
• Calls for creation of the European partnerships at Funding & Tenders portal.

2. Submission and evaluation of proposals:
• Simplified structure of information requested in proposals;
• Description of the project´s structure and management will not be an evaluation criterion;
• Max. scope of the proposals will be cut;
• Portfolio of the projects will be created mainly in schemes of European Innovation Council (EIC) and in missions;
• Pilot/testing of the possibility to comment the project evaluation by applicant (intermediate step between submission and grant providing;
• Pilot for submission of blind proposals during the first step in two- steps calls;
• Simplified calculation of the personal costs;
• Uniform model of the grant agreement for every European programme;
• Pilot for lump sum calls in Horizon Europe.

3. Dissemination and exploitation of the project´s results:
• Stimulation of continuous reporting on dissemination and exploitation after the project implementation.
4. Reporting:
• Creation of the common data center for research and innovation;
• Collection of the information on researchers involved in the Program activities (not only ERC and MSCA).

5. Control strategy:
• New „Systems and Processes Audits (SPA)“, has been testing now. It will lead to administrative burden;
• Evaluation of the risk of the applicant´s company will led to minimization of the frequency of controls and audits in case of low risk score;

6. Digital transformation:
• Simplification of the Funding & Tenders portal functions;
• Emphasize on new national contact points structure.

7. Other news:
• New tool „hop-on model“ will allow to join existing consortium for subjects from Widening countries. It will not require additional evaluation and approval of the new work packages, partners and other.

One of the main novelties of Horizon Europe is the introduction of missions: high-ambition, high-profile initiatives which will put forward concrete solutions to challenges facing European citizens and society. Missions are intended to achieve a measurable goal within a set timeframe, with impact for science and technology and/or society and citizens that could not be achieved through individual actions. They are currently in the process of being defined and should stem from the following mission areas, which have been defined in the Horizon Europe agreement by Council and Parliament in April 2019:

  1. Adaptation to Climate Change, including Societal Transformation;
  2. Cancer;
  3. Healthy Oceans, Seas, Coastal and Inland Waters;
  4. Climate-neutral and Smart Cities;
  5. Soil Health and Food.
Horizon Europe mission areas

Horizon Europe mission areas


Management body of each mission is Mission Board consisting of 15 experts. Their task is to create a specific conception of the mission. Advisory body are Mission Assemblies consisting of 22 – 30 members. Its task will be to provide professional advisory to missions.

Slovakia will be represented by doc. RNDr. Jaroslava Sobocká, CSc. from National agricultural and food centre in Mission Assembly, area Soil and food health.

Mgr. Jaroslav Myšiak, PhD. from Euro-Mediterranean Centre on Climate Change in Italy will represent Slovakia in Mission Board for Climate changes adaptation and transformation society.

Reform of the system of European cooperation through partnerships

A new attitude towards European partnerships is a key new feature in the programme Horizon Europe. Consolidated political approach to all types of the partnerships will be adopted for the first time. Public-private partnerships, ERA-NET, Joint technology initiatives (JTIs), flagship project of Future and emerging technologies (FET), European innovative partnerships knowledge innovation communities(EIT KICs) will have a common name – European Partnerships.

The reform of the system of partnerships should be realized by:

  1. Simplifying and structure rationalization of system of partnerships;
  2. Creation of consistent life-cycle of partnerships;
  3. Intensifying of the strategic orientation of partnerships.

European partnerships in the new system will be divided into three types:

  1. Co-programmed. These are partnerships between the European Commission (EC) and private and/or public partners (cPPP). They are based on memorandum of understanding and/or contractual arrangements and partners realize their tasks more independently.
  2. Co-funded. Such partnership will be based on a joint program agreed by partners; commitment of partners for financial and in-kind contributions & financial contribution by Horizon Europe. The partnership will use more or less centralized financing of research and innovation (current ERA-NET, EJP Cofund and FET Flagships).
  3. Institutional. Such partnerships will be based on article 185 or 187 Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. Initiatives according to article 185 are long-term public-public (P2P) partnerships. EU contribution is up to 50%. Public-private partnerships in research and innovation are networks of public organizations (ministries, financial agencies, program managers) from EU member states or non EU countries supporting research activities in accordance agreed vision or research programme. Similar are partnerships based on 187 article of Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, but in this case the cooperation is between private and public sector and creation of joint technology initiatives (JTIs). The members of joint venture is European Commission, non-profit entity led by industry and member/associated states. Small and medium companies, research organizations, universities and companies´ representatives are welcomed. JTIs supports cooperative research in key industrial areas with clearly set technological and economic targets. The aim of JIT is to provide European investment into research with the aim to stimulate investment also from industry stakeholders and member states. JTIs organize their own research program and open calls to support projects.

New system of partnerships will lead to rapid decreasing of number of partnerships. While in ongoing programme Horizon 2020 there is about 120 partnerships, in Horizon Europe it will be only about 44.