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Horizon Europe - Mixed reactions to the new EU programme

July 10 2018

Since the EU announced Horizon Europe (previously known as FP9) as the successor of Horizon 2020, the new programme has received a lot of attention in the media and the opinions are divided. On the one hand, the new features of the programme are welcomed, but on the other hand the size of the budget has been criticized for not reflecting the political ambitions presented in the programme. Read ttopstart’s reaction to the new EU programme below.

Our overall feeling

ttopstart very much welcomes the strong focus on innovation in Horizon Europe and the increased support to help innovative ideas grow into successful projects with real societal impact. We believe that the mission-oriented research approach can foster new interdisciplinary partnerships, who, with the right support and project management will be able to truly innovate healthcare and life science.

Horizon Europe Budget

The budget for Horizon Europe is set to be €100 billion, which means a 30% increase compared to Horizon 2020. We trust that this budget will help to ensure that research and innovation will continue to excel in Europe, and give opportunity for innovative ideas and projects to succeed. However, we also believe that the new budget does not fully reflect EU’s ambitious aim to solve ‘the global challenges of our time’. If the EU truly wants to succeed with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Agreement, we believe that greater public investment in research and innovation is key.   

Mission-oriented research

Working on mission-based projects could turn out to be useful for research and innovation, because it can inspire big ideas and relatable objectives with strong societal relevance. The mission-oriented research encourages cross-disciplinary and international cooperation, where collaboration with sectors such as civil society organisations will be highly relevant. Because the missions are not yet set and budgeted in the programme, it gives space for new ideas and discussions.  However, it is crucial that the definition of Horizon Europe missions will be carefully thought through, and that the mission-oriented projects will receive the right support, in order to secure fruitful collaborations. 

European Innovation Council

The European Innovation Council (EIC) is one of the new features of the programme. It has been created with the intention to increase the support for innovative research and technological ideas. The EIC will be working closely with SMEs and start-ups, functioning as a mentor.  The EIC will be utilizing a new ‘Pathfinder instrument’, which will build on two current instruments: The Future and Emerging Technology (FET) structure and SME Instrument Phase 1. However, it is not entirely clear yet how this will be implemented, as the current instruments have considerable differences - e.g. when it comes to beneficiaries and type of research activities. We will be following this closely. Stay tuned!

ERC and Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions continue

We are pleased to see that the European Research Council (ERC) will still value excellence as the main evaluation criterium and thus will guarantee high-quality research going forward. The budget for ERC has increased in absolute sense, but it will remain at 17% of the total budget, despite the ERC having clearly demonstrated its added-value and ability to help European researchers going forward in their career and in the world. Comparable, The very successful Marie SkÅ‚odowska-Curie Actions, which funds researchers in all career stages will remain in the new programme, but the budget has decreased slightly (from 8 to 7% of the budget) – something we would be happy to see changed before the programme is implemented.

Stay Updated

In the coming period, Horizon Europe will be further developed and communicated. At ttopstart, we will keep a close watch on these developments and gather additional insights. Follow us on our website and on social media to stay updated on the developments of the EU programme, and let us know your thoughts about Horizon Europe and its new features.


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