The European Commission invests EUR 14.7 billion to accelerate ecological and digital transitions under the “Horizon Europe” program in 2021-2022

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The European Commission has adopted its main work program for the “Horizon Europe” program, with a budget of EUR 100 billion for the period 2021-2027. It provides for investments for research and innovation in several areas, such as the environment, digital technology, in projects to repair damage related to the pandemic or to strengthen international cooperation in research and innovation.

On 16 June 2021, the European Commission adopted its main work program for the “Horizon Europe” program, explaining the different objectives and areas of planned investments.

 

Horizon Europe, which succeeds to “Horizon 2020”, constitutes the European Union's investment program for research and innovation and has a budget of almost EUR 100 billion for the period 2021-2027.

 

The work program adopted by the European Commission foresees a budget of EUR 14.7 billion for the period 2021-2022, to be invested in research and innovation in different specific areas in order to shape the future of the Union European.

 

Environment

 

Almost half of the budget, or nearly EUR 5.8 billion, will be allocated to environmental research and innovation, to support the commitments of the Green Deal for Europe and in particular to enable the Union to achieve its objective of carbon neutrality by 2050. The work program therefore provides for investment in projects that will advance scientific research related to climate change and which develop solutions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

 

The research and innovation activities concerned will in particular be those aimed at accelerating the transition to cleaner, more sustainable and fair energy and mobility, adapting food systems and supporting the circular and the bio-economy, as well as research and innovation projects that will maintain and enhance natural carbon sinks in ecosystems and promote adaptation to climate change.

 

Digital

 

Another objective of the work program of Horizon Europe is the digital technology. Almost EUR 4 billion of the total budget will be allocated to projects for the development of core digital technologies. The aim of the program is to increase the investments in research and development projects in this field in order to participate in the digital transition of the Union.

 

The means will be intended to maximise the potential of digital tools in several key areas of the society such as healthcare, media, energy and mobility, by modernising current industrial models and fostering European industrial leadership.

 

Damages linked to the COVID-19

 

The program further plans to dedicate EUR 1.9 billion to investments in projects to repair the immediate economic and social damage caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, in order to create a post-coronavirus Europe that is not only greener and more digital, but also more resilient for the current and forthcoming challenges.

 

The program will invest in modernising health systems and increasing research capacity, in particular for vaccine development.

 

International cooperation

 

Finally, Horizon Europe provides for specific actions aimed at supporting and strengthening international cooperation in the field of research and innovation; particularly in the fields of biodiversity, climate protection, environmental observations, ocean research and even global health.

 

International cooperation is essential in the field of research and innovation which requires access to knowledge, resources, know-how, and markets that are developing in other areas of the world. With this in mind, in May 2021, the Commission adopted a Communication on its global approach to research and innovation.

 

The aim is to involve third countries in the program in order to offer researchers, scientists, companies, institutions or other interested establishments the possibility of participating, under conditions generally identical to those of the Member States.

 

Next steps

 

The first calls for proposals under the “Horizon Europe” program will be open from 22 June 2021 on the Commission portal “Funding and tender opportunities” (accessible via this link).

 

Likewise, information days regarding the said program, specifically targeting potential candidates, will take place between 28 June and 9 July (more information available via this link).