On 7 June 2018 the European Commission published its proposal for Horizon Europethe next European framework programme for research and innovation (2021-2027), with funding amounting to 100 billion euro.
The new programme will continue to promote scientific excellence in Europe through the European Research Council (ERC) and the Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions with support and technical assistance from the Joint Research Centre (JRC), but will also aim to improve its communication strategies to underline the scientific, economic and social importance of the funded projects. 

The European Commission’s proposal


The Programme aims to:

  1. strengthen science and technology in Europe through investments in cutting-edge research and highly skilled staff;
  2. promote the industrial competitiveness of the EU, in particular by supporting innovation and the market through the European Innovation Council (EIC) and the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT);
  3. deliver on the Union strategic priorities, like the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement on climate change, and tackle the global challenges that have an impact on our quality of life.

Structure and budget


Pillar 1 - Open Science (25.8 billion euro): will promote excellent science by supporting border research projects proposed and led by researchers within a bottom-up approach through the European Research Council (16.6 billion euro); it will offer grants for the skill development and the mobility of researchers through Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (6.8 billion euro), and invest in research infrastructure at global level.
Pillar 2 - Global Challenges and Industrial Competitiveness (52.7 billion euro): through a cluster approach, it will focus on societal challenges, strengthen industrial technologies and launch EU missions targeting some of the most important challenges of our time. It also includes the activities of the Joint Research Centre (2.2 billion euro), which provides scientific evidence and technical support to European and national policymakers.
Pillar 3 - Open Innovation (13.5 billion euro): will focus on scaling up breakthrough and market-creating innovation by establishing a European Innovation Council (10 billion euro). This new organization will help develop European innovation, enhance the European Institute of  Innovation and Technology (EIT), and foster integration among businesses, research, higher education and entrepreneurship (3 billion euro).

Horizon Europe will also strengthen the European Research Area by sharing excellence (extending H2020 projects to compensate for low impact and low performing research in innovation, like Teaming, Twinning, ERA chairs and COST), reforming and enhancing the European research and innovation system (Policy Support Facility), and activities for the planning, monitoring, evaluation, dissemination and exploitation of the results of the framework programme.




The main improvements

1. More impact

1.1. Establishment of the European Innovation Council (EIC) to strengthen market-creating innovation in the EU; the Commission’s proposal will create a single entity whose task is to market the most promising technological research products and to help the most innovative companies and start-ups develop their ideas. The EIC will help identify and fund high-risk and rapidly evolving innovations, with the potential to create new markets. It will give direct support to innovators through two main funding instruments, one for the initial phase (Pathfinder) and the other for the development and dissemination on the market (Accelerator), and will provide support to the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT).
1.2. A new mission-oriented approach to research and innovation, focusing on societal challenges and industrial competitiveness: within Horizon Europe, the Commission will launch new missions with brave and ambitious objectives and a clear European added value to tackle the challenges of our time, from the fight against cancer to clean transport to plastic-free oceans.  The missions will be defined with citizens, stakeholders, the European Parliament and Member States. 

2. More openness

2.1. Maximising the innovation potential across the EU: more funding and support to Member states that have not fully exploited their research and innovation potential. Synergies with structural and cohesion funds will facilitate the coordination and integration of funding, and regions will be more open to innovation.
2.2. Open science: the open science principle will be mainstreamed across the entire programme and will require open access to  publications and data. This will make it easier to disseminate results on the market and will strengthen the innovation potential of the results achieved with EU funding.
2.3. A new generation of European partnerships and more cooperation with other EU programmes: Under Horizon Europe, the partnerships designed or funded by the EU with industry, civil society, foundations will be rationalised, so that they can ensure that they can effectively contribute to the general  and specific objectives of the programme.  Horizon Europe will promote efficient links with other EU programmes, like the EU Cohesion Policy, the European Defence Fund, the Digital Europe Programme, the Connecting Europe Facility, and the international nuclear fusion research project ITER.

3. Semplificazione

Rules, models and funding options will be simplified to make the most of research outputs.

Legal texts, factsheets and video: 
Contacts at UniTrento: 
  • Polo Città: citta.research [at] unitn.it

  • Polo Collina: collina.research [at] unitn.it

  • Polo Rovereto: rovereto.research [at] unitn.it