2 February 2021. The European Commission together with the Portuguese Presidency symbolically opened the new programme. What is Horizon Europe and how will it support research and innovation?
Why was Horizon Europe created?
Horizon Europe is designed to provide support to the best scientists and inventors so that they can fully focus on their research. This will stimulate the direction in which Europe is heading. The European Commission’s plan is to be green, resilient and healthy. To this end, the European Research Council (ERC) has been established. It will enable researchers to meet the social and economic challenges facing Europe by expanding the frontiers of science and knowledge
Young researchers will benefit from fellowships and exchanges through the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA). The Community will also benefit from technical support, scientific advice and dedicated research by the European Commission’s scientific service, the Joint Research Centre (JRC)
It is worth mentioning that the program of the whole Horizon Europe is about 95.5 billion euro. This amount is made up, inter alia, of EUR 5.4 billion from the NextGeneration EU instrument, which is intended to accelerate the reconstruction of the Union and strengthen it against future crises, and an additional EUR 4.5 billion. This is a total of 30% more than in the Horizon 2020 programme, which is just ending.
Facing global challenges
Horizon Europe is to support research on societal challenges that Europe may soon face. It is also to increase our technological and industrial potential, and global problems are to be solved on the basis of thematic policy groups, or clusters. The clusters “Climate, Energy and Mobility” and “Digital Technologies, Industry and Space” can serve as examples. The former will boost research and innovation in the field of climate protection and give European companies and businesses access to the data and technologies they need. The latter cluster focuses on quantum research, which will strengthen Europe’s leadership in science
By strengthening the “Culture, creativity and inclusive society” cluster, cooperation in the arts, cultural heritage and humanities will be improved. This will enable greater support for research in the cultural and creative sectors. The ‘Health’ cluster will address challenges such as the coronavirus pandemic, innovative protective measures, extension of clinical trials, virology, vaccines and translation of research results into public health policy measures.
Europe as a scientific powerhouse
Horizon Europe will help the continent maintain its position as a world leader in research and innovation. Despite being home to just 7% of the world’s population, Europe accounts for 20% of global investment in research and development. In addition, a third of all scientific publications of high quality come from Europe and we are world leaders in sectors such as pharmaceuticals, chemicals, mechanical engineering and fashion
The new Horizon Europe will largely be a continuation of Horizon 2020, which ran from 2014 to 2020. Elements such as the three pillars, excellence as a central aspect of research, and maintaining proven funding rules and procedures have not changed. However, Horizon Europe has been refined so that the European Union, and Europe as a whole, can continue to be a leader in the world of science, which is particularly important in the era of the coronavirus pandemic.
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