Horizon Europe: The new European framework program for research and innovation

Technology and Controls

Horizon Europe (HEU) is the next European Framework Program for Research and Innovation for the period 2021-2027, which will succeed Horizon 2020 (2014-2020).

The Textile, Cotton and Clothing Center continues to put the enhancement of research activities at the center of its strategic actions, with significant investments – such as through REACT and DIGIPIME – aimed at encouraging networking and research actions at national and European level.

The genesis of the program was long and complex. It began in 2017 with the interim evaluations of Horizon 2020 and the first studies commissioned by the European Commission and then continued from 2018 with the first Commission proposal and subsequent discussions between the European Commission, Parliament and Council.

Only on 11 December 2020 was the political agreement reached on the multiannual financial framework of the EU 2021-2027, on the Next Generation EU recovery tool, on Horizon Europe and consequently on the aspects relating to the budget to be allocated to the program.

The Horizon Europe Regulation should  be approved in the European  Parliament, in plenary session, on April 26, 2021.

Then, between the end of April and the beginning of May, the Strategic Plan 2021-2024 should be approved and the Work Programs with the Calls for 2021-2022 will be published. The European Research Council (ERC) Work Program has already been published with the 2021 calls, two of which are open.

Furthermore, the document “Orientations towards the first Strategic Plan implementing the research and innovation framework program Horizon Europe” defines the strategic orientations and the expected impacts for the period 2021-2024 and outlines the main aspects of the program.

In this context, entering the merits of the program, the objectives of Horizon Europe are highlighted:

  • Improve innovation capacity, competitiveness and employment in Europe
  • Contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals (United Nations 2030 Agenda)
  • Contribute to the 6 priorities of the European Commission for 2019-2024:
  1. A European Green Deal
  2. An economy that works for people
  3. A Europe ready for the digital age
  4. Protect our European way of life
  5. A stronger Europe in the world

In connection with the objectives listed above, the implementation strategy of the Horizon Europe program is based on the following Pillars:

  • Pillar 1. Excellent science.
  • Pillar 2. Global challenges and European industrial competitiveness.
  • Pillar 3. Innovative Europe.
  • Horizontal pillar. “Spreading the progress and development of the European Research Area” which aims to bridge the gap in terms of the quality of science and innovation between European countries.

The priorities established in the strategic plan of Horizon Europe will be implemented with funding opportunities for research and innovation activities, through calls for proposals and thematic topics. The first calls will be launched in spring 2021 and will be presented at the European Research and Innovation Days, on June 23-24.

Today more than ever it is of fundamental importance, for CENTROCOT and beyond, to be able to fully reap the benefits of the investments made so far and continue to increase the results obtained in terms of design capacity and, above all, to transform, also thanks to Horizon Europe, new ideas in winning research projects.

Author: Donatella Macchia

Multisectoral Research and Innovation