Horizon Europe is the EU's framework programme for research and innovation for the period 2021–2027. The program builds on the success of Horizon 2020, which ended in December 2020, and is often described as the "success" of the EU.
The programme's budget includes € 95,517 billion (in current prices), 30% more than Horizon 2020. The increase in funding reflects that research and innovation remain one of the EU's main policy priorities. The budget is structured around three main pillars and one cross-cutting area of the program. The most significant part of the budget is dedicated to addressing global challenges.
Horizon Europe is not only the largest but (in the words of the European Commission) also the most ambitious research and innovation program ever, which has the potential to create significant scientific, social and economic impact, contribute to climate goals and create new highly skilled jobs.
A novelty of the program is missions that are linked to thematic clusters in the second pillar. Missions are defined as portfolios of projects with bold and measurable goals. The mission's concept was inspired by the Apollo 11 mission, which had a significant impact on all of humanity. And it is the word "impact" (on science, society, and citizens) that is very often used in connection with missions. The impact of missions is expected to be many times greater than the case for individual projects. A characteristic feature of missions is the bottom-up approach, which allows a wide range of actors in their design.
In addition to missions, clusters are also linked to European partnerships, which the European Commission implements in cooperation with public or private partners.
The European Innovation Council, whose projects have already been piloted in Horizon 2020 and which is now becoming an integral part of the third pillar, is also gaining an essential role in the program.
Great emphasis is placed on the openness of science. Open access to publications and research data is becoming a standard requirement and modus operandi of the program. New opportunities are also opening up to involve countries with sound scientific, innovation, and technological capacity.
The two critical pieces of legislation are the Rules for Participation and Dissemination and the Strategic Plan.