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The 2021-2027 research and innovation programme will help the EU’s health systems prepare for future pandemics, and its industry to decarbonise, digitalise and innovate.

The research programme secures short- and long-term financing for research and innovation relating to global challenges including the fight against climate change, digitalisation, and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Horizon Europe incorporates the EU’s highest ever budget allocation for digital-related research and digitalisation. It will also provide support for innovative SMEs, European research infrastructure, and an additional €1 billion secured by the Parliament for basic research, which will be channelled through the European Research Council.

The programme was already provisionally put in place by the European Commission from 1 January 2021. MEPs gave their final approval to the agreement with Council on the Horizon Europe regulation on Tuesday, adding a political declaration with 677 votes to 5 and 17 abstentions. They adopted the agreement with Council on the Horizon Europe specific programme with 661 votes to 5 and 33 abstentions.

Background

Horizon Europe will have an overall budget of €95.5 billion, including €5.4 billion from the EU’s Next GenerationEU recovery plan, and an additional investment of €4 billion from the EU’s multiannual financial framework (MFF).

Horizon Europe comprises three pillars:

  • The Excellent Science pillar will support frontier research projects defined and driven by researchers themselves through the European Research Council (ERC). It will fund fellowships and exchanges for researchers through Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions, and will invest in research infrastructure.
  • The Global Challenges and European Industrial Competitiveness pillar will directly support research relating to societal challenges, technological and industrial capacities, and will determine the focus of EU-wide research missions. It also includes public-to-public and public-to-private European Partnerships as well as activities pursued by the Joint Research Centre (JRC), which supports EU and national policymakers with independent scientific evidence and technical support.
  • The Innovative Europe pillar aims to make Europe a frontrunner in market-creating innovation through the European Innovation Council. It also aims, by further strengthening the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), to foster the integration of business, research, higher education and entrepreneurship.

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