Horizon Europe sets sights on the short term with 14.7 billion euros

Horizon Europe sets sights on the short term with 14.7 billion euros

The work programme that lays out funding and tender conditions is available

The European Commission announced, on 16 June, that the main work programme of Horizon Europe concerning the period 2021-2022 has been released. This portion can rely on 14.7 billion euros of funding for a variety of objectives and spheres, which have the commonality to help the Union transition to a stronger position in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The funds will go towards strengthening the European Research Area through aiding organizations, enterprises and academic bodies which are heavily involved in research and innovation. The first call for proposals will open on the Commission’s Funding and Tenders Portal on 22 June.

The announcement of the work programme is more than well-timed given that next week The Commission's flagship event 'Research and Innovation Days' is set to take place on 23-24 June. It will serve as the largest platform on innovation for anyone who might be deeply involved or only has a passing interest in the field.

The Commission has emphasized four areas where short-term impact should be visible

Creating world-class research infrastructures and innovation culture is not just a goal in itself but rather the means to achieving tangible benefits in different areas. The European Commission is hopeful in seeing beneficial transformations in four different focus areas as these were described in its press release.

For one, Horizon Europe is meant to deliver on climate neutrality and support the European Green Deal. These kinds of projects and ideas can take the lion’s share of the funding, with 40% (5.8 billion) of the amount being set aside for that mandate-defining purpose.

Second in terms of getting a slice of the funding pie is the area of digitalisation, which is meant to reach virtually every corner of European life and transform it in a way that will make the continent a benchmark on a global scale. It is by no chance, that the 2020s have been declared to be Europe’s Digital Decade.

Speaking of global scales, we cannot forget international cooperation. After all, Europe cannot expect to grow and develop in a sanitary bubble all on its own. International cooperation in research and innovation is essential for tackling global challenges and to enable Europe to access resources, know-how, scientific excellence, value chains and markets that are developing in other areas of the world.

The work programme for the 2021-2022 period, therefore, includes dedicated actions that will foster cooperation through multilateral initiatives, among them, the first-ever ‘Africa Initiative’ is worth a mention.

1.9 billion euros will be disbursed in direct investments to help repair the damage caused by the coronavirus pandemic. This focus area is the newest addition, which became necessary in light of the past year’s events. However, in an ironic way, the pandemic served as a good reminder of why Europeans need to prepare better for eventualities. Thus, in line with the European Recovery Fund, this portion will contribute to making health systems and vaccine research capacities more resilient.

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