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European Commission Publishes Proposal for Horizon Europe

Publication date: 
8 June 2018 (UK time)

The European Commission has published its proposal for the next Framework Programme (and the successor to Horizon 2020), Horizon Europe.  The programme will aim to strengthen the EU's scientific and technological base, foster the EU's competitiveness and its innovation performance, as well as deliver on the EU's strategic priorities and tackle global challenges.

The total budget announced is €100 billion for 2021-2027, with €97.6 billion for Horizon Europe and €2.4 billion for Euratom. The Horizon Europe funding will be split across three pillars:

  • Open Science - €25.8 billion
  • Global Challenges - €52.7 billion
  • Open Innovation - €13.5 billion

The main changes from Horizon 2020 highlighted are:

  • The creation of the European Innovation Council (EIC) with its early stage and development based funding instruments for start-ups and companies;
  • The introduction of Missions, which will unite a body of research in pursuit of a clearly stated goal;
  • A new streamlined set of Partnerships with industry, civil society and funding foundations; and
  • Further simplification of the programme.

Carlos Moedas, the Commissioner for Research and Innovation, introduced the proposal at a press conference today.  The Commissioner explained that the overall structure of the three pillar approach and the vision between having a new Mission-orientated approach. The proposal is the first step of this co-creation process to develop Missions in Horizon Europe, and we can anticipate the launch of a Mission's Board in early 2019. Commissioner Moedas explained the new radical approach to funding innovation under the European Innovation Council in the third pillar of Horizon Europe, with an aim to having a bottom-up approach to funding innovation, rather than a traditional top down approach. The Commissioner confirmed that the Horizon Europe Euratom and ITER proposals are based on continuity, with a specific focus on safety in the Euratom programme.

Attendees had the opportunity to ask questions, several questions related to the position of the UK and the opportunities for countries to associate to Horizon Europe. Moedas highlighted that the rules for association had been expanded in the proposal for Horizon Europe, as can be seen in the relevant part of the proposal. The Commissioner explained that in his view “it's very important for the UK and it's very important for the EU to have a relationship in science and innovation” and he reitterated that “we have Third Countries that are part of the family[...]"  but that the details on how this will work still needs to be worked out as part of the negotiations. He explained that the proposal is designed to allow Third Countries to associate to the programme, and that the "doors are open" for the discussion and gives freedom to agree the exact terms of association. In response to later questions he also tackled the topic of 'influence', highlighting that Associated Countries sit at the table and contribute to discussions on all programmes, even if they do not get a formal vote. 

A new website on Horizon Europe has been launched by the Commission which includes links to a video, a factsheet on the budget and the research and innovation success stories as well as links to the package of legal texts.

UKRO has also updated its Future EU Programmes resource page and will provide further analysis on the Horizon 2020 proposal during the coming days.