Horizon Europe: An Ambitious Programme for Research and Innovation

Horizon 2020 is a success story with high added value and proven benefits for Europe. This is the result of an interim evaluation of the programme and is also reflected in a large number of successful examples. The successor programme, Horizon Europe, will continue to support the entire research and innovation cycle. It will encourage a stronger involvement of citizens and more clearly communicate the positive impacts of research and innovation, such as progress in the health and environmental sectors. In order to achieve this, the programme also incorporates “missions” with clearly defined targets. Horizon Europe will start on 1 January 2021 and end on 31 December 2027.

Budget & structure

In May 2018, the European Commission presented its proposal for the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) for the 2021-2027 period. Funds totalling 100 billion euros are earmarked for research and innovation:

  • Horizon Europe >> 97.6 billion euros (94.1 billion euros plus 3.5 billion euros from the InvestEU Fund)
  • Euratom >> 2.4 billion euros

The new Horizon Europe programme is based on three pillars:

Pillar I
Excellent Science

Pillar II
Global Challenges and European Industrial Competitiveness

Pillar III
Innovative Europe
European Research Council


  • Health
  • Culture, Creativity and Inclusive Society
  • Civil Security for Society
  • Digital, Industry and Space
  • Climate, Energy and Mobility
  • Food, Bioeconomy,Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environment
European Innovation Council
Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions European Innovation Ecosystems
Research Infrastructures European Institute of Innovation and Technology
  Joint Research Centre (non-nuclear)  
Widening Participation and Strengthening the European Research Area
Widening Participation and spreading excellence
Reforming and Enhancing the European R&I System

Key changes

  • EIC:The European Innovation Council is aimed to help the EU become a leader in breakthrough innovations that can create and capture new markets.
  • Five thematic clusters: The topics from the previous pillars ‘Industrial Technologies’ and ‘Societal Challenges’ will be combined in five thematic clusters.
  • Mission-oriented approach: After the start of Horizon Europe, a limited number of highly visible R&I missions will be defined together with citizens, stakeholders, the European Parliament and Member States. The missions will be defined based on the report "Mission-Oriented Research & Innovation in the European Union"(pdf) by Mariana Mazzucato.
  • European partnerships: These partnerships will only be established or renewed if they have an impact that cannot be achieved by other Framework Programme measures or national activities alone.


The European Commission has also already presented a proposal defining the rules for participation for Horizon Europe.


Synergies with other EU programmes

Horizon Europe and the Euratom Programme for Research and Training aim to ensure effective and operational synergies with other future EU programmes and EU measures designed to promote faster dissemination and uptake of research and innovation results at the national and regional level.

EC: Horizon Europe - the next research and innovation framework programme