Horizon Europe is the European Union’s seven-year framework programme for research and innovation, running from 2021 to 2027. Horizon Europe is the successor to Horizon 2020.

 The programme aims to:

  • ​strengthen the EU’s scientific and technological base;
  • foster the EU’s competitiveness and its innovation performance, notably supporting market-creating innovation via the European Innovation Council (EIC) and the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT);
  • deliver on the EU’s strategic priorities, such as the Paris Agreement on climate change, and tackle global challenges that affect the quality of our daily lives.

Horizon Europe provides a plethora of funding opportunities to multiple R&D actors, ranging from universities and research institutions to industry, SMEs and other non-academic organisations. It offers a wide range of funding programmes and is structured around three main pillars. Funds can be applied for in each of these pillars by both individual researchers and research groups. The choice for a pillar or specific funding programme depends, inter alia, on the nature of the project (research, innovation, training, …).

Horizon Europe consists of three pillars:

  1. The Excellent Science pillar, which supports frontier research projects defined and driven by researchers themselves through the European Research Council (ERC), funds fellowships and exchanges for researchers through Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA), and invest in world-class research infrastructures      
  2. The Global Challenges and European Industrial Competitiveness pillar consists of ‘clusters’ addressing  societal and industrial challenges in which collaborative research is supported. It also sets EU-wide missions with ambitious goals tackling some of Europe’s biggest problems (health, climate change, clean energy, mobility, security, digital, materials, etc.). 
  3. The Innovative Europe pillar, supports market-creating innovation and SME growth through the European Innovation Council. It also supports the integration of business, research, higher education and entrepreneurship through the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT).

Horizon Europe has a horizontal component on Widening participation and Strengthening the European Research Area. These programmes will support EU Member States in their efforts to make the most of their national research and innovation (R&I) potential. There are also project opportunities for research entities in low R&I performing Member States to participate better in Horizon Europe, in collaboration with research entities in high R&I performing Member States.