The next European framework programme is proposed to be the most ambitious research and innovation funding plan in our history. Its budget for the period 2021-2027 will add up to €100 bn, including €2,4 bn for the Euratom research and training programme. Horizon Europe aims at investing in Europe's future, by boosting the scientific, economic and societal impact of EU funding.
But how does Horizon Europe plan to convert the results of science into innovative solutions that generate value for economy and society, compared to Horizon 2020? What are the lessons learnt from Horizon 2020? How will Horizon Europe be implemented to maximize R&D&I impact?
What's new in Horizon Europe
1. Support to breakthrough innovation will be strengthened: European Innovation Council will be the one-stop to support innovators, along the whole innovation value chain. This means that not only early stage innovations will be supported, but also the scaling up of innovative companies will be fostered. This approach shall attract and scale-up young and quickly growing innovative companies to European levels - and beyond-, by improving market-uptake of R&I results and accelerate innovation diffusion.
2. Favour a higher impact: innovation will be user-driven, meaning that Horizon Europe will be led by a mission orientation and citizens' involvement. Citizens, customers and end-users are encouraged to actively participate in the design and implementation of the program, becoming its center. Horizon Europe will be driven by purpose and impact, rather than instruments.
3. Reinforce openness: so far, less than 70% of the publications produced in Horizon 2020 are available in Open Access. Open Science will be the standard policy under Horizon Europe, where all publications shall be openly accesible and all data should be findable, accesible, interoperable and re-usable. This approach will achieve better reproductibility of results and increase the re-use of research data.
4. Rationalise the funding landscape: Horizon 2020 landscape is found to be complex, in terms of number of instruments and possible inconsistencies among public-to-public cooperations (P2Ps). Probably, funding shemes will be rationalised and financial mechanisms for P2Ps will be simplified and made more flexible.
5. Reduce administrative burden: Horizon 2020 has improved in simplicity compared to Framework Programme VII - however, there is still room for improvement. Horizon Europe will explore possibilities to continue in this line, to support faster innovation cycles and lower administrative burden. For instance, this might include revisions aiming at reducing workload for preparing and submitting proposals, increasing the use of lump-sum project funding vs. fulfilment of activities or reducing the time to grant.