MEPs adopt landmark research programme Horizon Europe 

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Plenary session 
 
 
  • Overall budget of €95.5 billion, including €5.4 billion from the EU’s Next GenerationEU recovery plan 
  • Strong focus on health, digitalisation, support for innovative SMEs 
  • Programme provisionally applied since 1 January 2021 
The programme, covering 2021-27, will help innovative SMEs ©AdobeStock/Boggy  

The 2021-2027 research and innovation programme will help the EU’s health systems prepare for future pandemics, and its industry to decarbonise, digitalise and innovate.

The research programme secures short- and long-term financing for research and innovation relating to global challenges including the fight against climate change, digitalisation, and the COVID-19 pandemic.


Horizon Europe incorporates the EU’s highest ever budget allocation for digital-related research and digitalisation. It will also provide support for innovative SMEs, European research infrastructure, and an additional €1 billion secured by the Parliament for basic research, which will be channelled through the European Research Council.


The programme was already provisionally put in place by the European Commission from 1 January 2021. MEPs gave their final approval to the agreement with Council on the Horizon Europe regulation on Tuesday, adding a political declaration (Link) with 677 votes to 5 and 17 abstentions. They adopted the agreement with Council on the Horizon Europe specific programme with 661 votes to 5 and 33 abstentions.


Quote


"Horizon Europe will prepare the EU for the future by supporting its health systems, its industry to decarbonise and its businesses to innovate. It will also support European researchers! An ambitious investment in research and innovation will deliver on future challenges”, said Dan Nica (S&D, RO), rapporteur for the Horizon Europe regulation.


“We achieved an ambitious and balanced budget that strongly supports fundamental research as well as thematic research, including for the first time a specific budget for Europe’s cultural and creative industries. Horizon Europe will be a crucial part of Europe’s recovery”, said Christian Ehler (EPP, DE), rapporteur for the Horizon Europe specific programme. “With this programme, the EU has also committed legally to defend academic freedom across the continent”, he said.


Background


Horizon Europe will have an overall budget of €95.5 billion, including €5.4 billion from the EU’s Next GenerationEU recovery plan, and an additional investment of €4 billion from the EU’s multiannual financial framework (MFF).


Horizon Europe comprises three pillars:

  • The Excellent Science pillar will support frontier research projects defined and driven by researchers themselves through the European Research Council (ERC). It will fund fellowships and exchanges for researchers through Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions, and will invest in research infrastructure.
  • The Global Challenges and European Industrial Competitiveness pillar will directly support research relating to societal challenges, technological and industrial capacities, and will determine the focus of EU-wide research missions. It also includes public-to-public and public-to-private European Partnerships as well as activities pursued by the Joint Research Centre (JRC), which supports EU and national policymakers with independent scientific evidence and technical support.
  • The Innovative Europe pillar aims to make Europe a frontrunner in market-creating innovation through the European Innovation Council. It also aims, by further strengthening the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), to foster the integration of business, research, higher education and entrepreneurship.