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What prospects for research and innovation after 2020?

In line with the objectives of the Europe 2020 Strategy, the EU focuses on the development of research and innovation as a factor for growth and competitiveness. Fundings are therefore granted to project leaders through the Horizon 2020 programme, still open for the year 2020. It will be followed by Horizon Europe.

I – Anticipating the transition from Horizon 2020 to Horizon Europe

At the end of the current programming period, opportunities remain to be seized under the Horizon 2020 programme, notably under the call for science with and for society, for which certain topics are open until 15 April 2020. This call for projects aims to strengthen the links between the scientific community and civil society.

Building on its success, the Horizon 2020 programme will be further strengthened for the next period 2021-2027, under the name Horizon Europe. The European Commission is already preparing this transition to the new programme, as shown by the publication on 08 January of a new call for projects to ensure the continuity of transnational cooperation between the Horizon 2020 National Contact Points.

While the budget allocated to the new programme still needs to be clarified by the new multiannual financial framework, the Commission has proposed a budget of 94.1 billion euro. On the other hand, the European Parliament is willing to increase this budget to 135.25 billion euro, demonstrating thus a strong political will.

II- Which novelties for the period 2021-2027?

The main lines of the programme are already known. Some of them are a continuation of the H2020 programme. Scientific excellence will indeed be further promoted through the Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions, the European Research Council and the support provided for research infrastructures. Similarly, renewed attention will be paid to global issues and European industrial competitiveness through the second pillar. Research and development of cutting-edge technologies will then be encouraged in key sectors such as digital, security, health, food and natural resources, climate, energy and mobility. At least 35% of the overall budget will be devoted to the achievement of climate objectives.

However, some new features are expected: in particular, the formalisation of the European Innovation Council currently in a test phase, a stronger commitment towards SMEs, greater consideration of cross-cutting issues (gender equality, transnational cooperation and access to data), greater synergies with other EU programmes, a renewed approach to partnerships and simplified administrative formalities.

These prospects, as well as the reaffirmed objective of investing the equivalent of at least 3% of the Union’s GDP in research and development, should encourage promoters to pursue their projects!

For more information on the Horizon Europe programme, do not hesitate to watch the webinar conducted by Jeanne COLLIN, by clicking here.

Audrey PEAN


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