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Horizon Europe

Overall budget available

For 2021-2027, the budget of Horizon Europe is € 95.5 billion.

What is the goal of the funding programme?

Horizon Europe aims to ensure that Europe produces world-class science, to remove barriers to innovation and to make it easier for the public and private sectors to innovate together.

Horizon Europe aims to achieve impactful research and innovation in three key areas.

  • Horizon Europe focuses on scientific impact by generating high-quality knowledge, developing human capital in research and innovation, and promoting the sharing of knowledge and open science practices.
  • Horizon Europe emphasizes technological and economic impact by supporting the establishment and growth of companies within the European Union, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises, and start-ups. This leads to job creation, both directly and indirectly, within the EU and attracts investment for research and innovation.
  • Lastly, it addresses societal impact by tackling the policy priorities of the EU and global challenges, such as the United Nations' sustainable development goals. It aligns with the principles of the United Nations' 2030 agenda for sustainable development and the goals of the Paris Agreement.

How is the funding programme structured?

The Horizon Europe Programme is organised into different parts to help achieve its goals.

  • Pillar 1: Excellent Science - This part focuses on supporting scientific research and promoting excellence in various fields. It includes funding for fundamental research, supporting talented researchers through fellowships and grants, and establishing research infrastructures.
  • Pillar 2: Global Challenges and Industrial Competitiveness - This part addresses major global challenges and aims to strengthen the competitiveness of industries within the European Union. It supports research and innovation projects in areas like health, climate change, energy, digital technologies, and sustainable agriculture.
  • Pillar 3: Innovative Europe - This part focuses on promoting innovation and supporting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). It includes initiatives to help SMEs develop and market innovative products and services, as well as support for innovation ecosystems and the transfer of technologies from research to the market.
  • A transversal pillar: Widening Participation and Strengthening the European Research Area - This part aims to reduce the research and innovation gap between different regions within Europe. It supports activities that promote research excellence, capacity building, and the integration of less-developed regions into the European research community.

Other Parts: In addition to the pillars, there are other components of Horizon Europe, such as the European Innovation Council (EIC), which focuses on supporting breakthrough innovations and high-potential start-ups. There are also missions, which are specific goals that address pressing societal challenges, like fighting cancer or achieving climate neutrality.

What thematic areas are covered?

Horizon Europe seeks to:

  • Tackle climate change
  • Contribute to achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development GoalsBoost the EU’s competitiveness and growth
  • Facilitate collaboration and strengthen the impact of research and innovation in developing, supporting, and implementing EU policies
  • Support the creation and better diffusion of excellent knowledge and technologies
  • Create jobs
  • Boost economic growth
  • Promote industrial competitiveness
  • Optimise investment impact

What is in it for the social economy?

Horizon Europe is the largest transnational research and innovation funding programme in the world and social economy organisations are not outdone! By coupling research and innovation, Horizon Europe is helping to achieve smart, sustainable, and inclusive economic growth. With an emphasis on excellent science, industrial leadership and societal challenges, the goal is to ensure Europe removes barriers to innovation and makes it easier for the public and private sectors to work together in delivering innovation.

The most relevant Horizon Europe areas for social economy organisations sit within  Pillar II and III which cover a large array of economic sectors and areas of innovation where social economy organisations are very active. Social economy organisations, in consortium-based partnerships with research and/or innovation actors, can use Horizon Europe funds to tackle many challenges that constrain the growth of the social economy such as entrepreneurial skills gap, slow digitalisation, or low uptake of social impact measurement methods. More broadly, Horizon Europe funding often needs social economy organisations with research and/or advocacy components to contribute to its efforts to reduce inequalities in Europe through social innovation testing/ scaling and subsequent policy recommendations.

Who is eligible to apply?

All legal entities from the EU and associated countries can participate responding to the conditions of each programme.

How to apply?

Horizon Europe is implemented directly by the European Commission or via designated funding bodies. The programme provides funding for indirect action in any of the forms laid down in the financial regulation, in particular grants (including operating grants), prizes and procurements. It also supports direct action undertaken by the Joint Research Centre.

Funding opportunities are set out in work programmes, which cover the large majority of support available. Most funding is allocated to collaborative research projects carried out by consortia of at least three organisations.

The full list of calls, funding information and details on how to apply on the EU Funding and Tenders portal, available here.

Where to find more information?

How to contact organisations who manage the programme?

The research Enquiry Service deals with questions regarding European Research, available funding instruments in the field of research and the validation process of participants.

Organisations who provide support?

The network of National Contact Points (NCPs) provides guidance, practical information, and assistance on participating in Horizon Europe. There are also NCPs in many non-EU and non-associated countries (‘third countries’). All the information can be found on the NCP Portal

Background information

History of the programme

Horizon Europe is the successor of Horizon 2020 and is the biggest EU research and innovation programme ever.

Responsible Directorate-General in the European Commission

Horizon Europe is led by Directorate-General for Research and Innovation (RTD).