Horizon Europe: work program to solve continental challenges

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The European Commission intends to maximize the impact of research and innovation investments for the success of the green and digital transition – both in the EU-wide and in the member states. The novel initiatives under the EU Horizon Europe program represent important tools to solve some of the greatest challenges facing the states’ political-economic development.  

Background
The Commission has adopted an amendment to the 2023-24 the EU’s research and innovation program called Horizon Europe in order to mobilize previous funding and increase the 2024 budget by nearly €1.4 billion to a total of €7.3 billion.
This amendment includes an investment of nearly €650 million in the EU Missions’ executive facilities aimed to contribute to solving some of the challenges facing Europe, for example, among other novelties, making more than 100 cities climate neutral, extending the New European Bauhaus facility, as well as delivering on experimental actions opening EU research and innovation opportunities to more newcomers.

The EU Missions’ initiative
EU Missions represent coordinated effort by the Commission and the member states to pool the necessary resources in terms of policies and regulations; e.g. they also aim to mobilise and activate public and private actors among the EU member states, regional and local authorities, research institutes, farmers and land managers, entrepreneurs and investors to create real and lasting impact.
The “missions” are also engaged with citizens to boost societal uptake of new solutions and approaches. The EU Missions support European transformation towards greener, healthier, more inclusive and resilient member states.
The EU Missions are a novelty of the Horizon Europe research and innovation programme for the years 2021-2027. They support Commission priorities, such as the European Green Deal, Europe fit for the Digital Age, Beating Cancer program, the New European Bauhaus, and a flagship initiative of the long-term vision for the EU’s rural areas, etc.

Reference to the EU Missions in: https://research-and-innovation.ec.europa.eu/funding/funding-opportunities/funding-programmes-and-open-calls/horizon-europe/eu-missions-horizon-europe_en

The EU Missions cover five areas and are a novelty brought by Horizon Europe to bring concrete solutions to some of our greatest challenges. They have ambitious goals and will deliver concrete results by 2030.
The new actions for 2024 should result in restoring at least 25 thousand km of free-flowing rivers, support “climate city contracts” with more than 100 cities, 100 living labs and lighthouses leading the transition towards healthy soils, local and regional authorities better prepared to face climate-related risks, better cancer diagnosis and support to young cancer sufferers.
The EU will invest €648 million in 2024 in research and innovation activities underpinning the EU Missions.
Source: https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/ip_24_2104

Already in 2019, five Mission Boards were formed to help specify, design and start the implementation of Missions for Horizon Europe; their mandate ended at the end of 2021. Since February 2021, the newly appointed five mission’s managers were actively executing the European Commission’s political priorities.
Presently there are the following five EU missions oriented to facilitate the following priorities:
1. Adaptation to Climate Change: support at least 150 European regions and communities to become climate resilient by 2030.
2. Cancer: working with Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan to improve the lives of more than 3 million people by 2030 through prevention, cure and solutions to live longer and better.
3. Restore the European and adjacent seas, oceans and waters by 2030.
4. Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities by 2030, and
5. A Soil Deal for Europe: 100 living labs and lighthouses to lead the transition towards healthy soils by 2030.
Information on missions and managers in: https://research-and-innovation.ec.europa.eu/funding/funding-opportunities/funding-programmes-and-open-calls/horizon-europe/eu-missions-horizon-europe/mission-boards_en.

New European Bauhaus, NEB
The New European Bauhaus, NEB aims to bring the benefits of the European Green Deal into people’s daily lives and living spaces. In the three years since its launch, the NEB has provided solutions to concrete problems. Examples include the TOVA project from Spain that developed a 3D printing technique with earth to provide architectural solutions for sustainable, affordable, community-based housing. Another example is the WATSUPS project from Belgium that creates a new public space alongside the river Dyle to mitigate the risk of gentrification. These solutions are rooted in research and innovation that place the Europeans at the heart of the green transformation.
A new NEB Facility will ensure that Europe continues to make most of this potential. It brings multi-annual budget support for 2025-2027 through two pillars, a research and innovation part to develop new ideas and a roll-out part to scale-up such solutions. The amended Horizon Europe work programme 2023-24 allocates €20 million to preparing the ground for the implementation of the NEB Facility.
More on NEB in: https://new-european-bauhaus.europa.eu/index_en

New experimental actions
Present amendment to Horizon Europe also includes a package of support for some new experimental actions to reinforce the openness of the program, support the goals of the EU missions and foster young researchers’ activities.
The actions include four open topics giving researchers more freedom to focus their work on a subject they choose with a total budget of €76 million in Horizon Europe Clusters addressing:
a) health, b) climate, energy and mobility, c) food, bio-economy and natural resources, and d) agriculture and environment.
An experimental action of €15 million for the EU Missions will make knowledge institutions (such as universities or research organisations) the “working focal points” of local trans-disciplinary research and innovation activities with certain European outreach.
In addition, the NEB call for a project “Transforming neighborhoods, making them beautiful, sustainable, and inclusive” also aims to attract newcomers to the program and maximize the desired impact.
Finally, €20 million will support talent ecosystems for attractive early research careers.

Additional information in: https://ec.europa.eu/info/funding-tenders/opportunities/portal/screen/home

 

 

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