Research and innovation: Horizon Europe, a new programme full of novelties!

17 juin 2020

Mov'eo presents the new features of Horizon Europe, the future European Union framework programme for research and innovation for 2021-2027. Discover the so-called destinations, partnerships, mission boards, and much more!

The new structure of Horizon Europe, to support the Green Deal, the digital transition, and an economy that works for people  

Horizon Europe will obviously be in line with the major political guidelines defined by the new Commission for the period 2019-2024. These are based on the Green Deal flagship initiative, the digital transition and an economy that works for people.

The strategic programming cycle first gave rise to public consultations throughout 2019, which resulted in a non-binding policy paper. This sets out the priorities for Horizon Europe for the first four years of implementation. The programming phase continued with discussions on the Strategic Plan, which will define Key Strategic Orientations (KSOs), and will be binding. Negotiations on this plan should lead to an agreement before the end of the autumn.  

C’est sur la base de ces documents que les Work Programmes successifs d’Horizon Europe seront définis. Ceux-ci répondront à des Expected Impacts qui préciseront clairement la portée de long terme économique, scientifique, environnementale et sociale attendue des projets menés au sein de ce programme. La structure des Work Programmes, renouvelée pour le cadre pluriannuel qui s’ouvre, sera construite autour de blocs d’actions appelés Destinations et dont les termes seront les plus importants à prendre en compte pour la rédaction de propositions de projets.  Ces Destinations seront bien mises en oeuvre via des appels, mais ces derniers structureront bien moins le travail à mettre en œuvre et serviront surtout à séquencer et à fournir des dates pour la mise en œuvre des Destinations d’Horizon Europe. On that basis, the successive Horizon Europe Work Programmes will be defined. These will respond to Expected Impacts which will clearly specify the long-term economic, scientific, environmental and social impacts expected from the projects carried out within this programme. The structure of the Work Programmes, renewed for the next multi-annual framework, will be built around blocks of actions called Destinations, which will be the most important basis to take into account when drafting project proposals. These Destinations will still be implemented via calls, but the call texts won't be as important as before and will mainly be used to provide deadlines.   European partnerships: streamlining and greater importance

The European Commission wishes to implement a more ambitious European Partnerships policy, and has therefore streamlined their organisation into three forms of partnerships. Co-programmed partnerships consist of a Memorandum of Understanding or contractual agreement between the Commission and an association representing the private sector, to ensure funding over the duration of the MFF for a specific area of activity. Industry then agrees on research priorities and sends roadmaps to the Commission. On the basis of these documents, its DGs agree work programmes with the Member States. The calls for proposals resulting from these work programmes are open to all interested organisations, whether or not they have been involved in the upstream reflection. The "Connected, Cooperative and Automated Mobility" (CCAM) and "Towards zero-emission road transport" (2Zero) partnerships were proposed in this form. The 2Zero partnership should take over from the European Green Vehicle Initiative (EGVI). This partnership wishes to move from a vehicle approach to a system approach. To do this, the partnership will take into account all vehicles (two-wheelers, cars, vans, buses, trucks, etc.), integration in all areas: urban, peripheral, rural, etc., and will focus on the deployment of solutions on the market. The CCAM partnership aims to increase the safety and security of transport systems. By 2030, the aim is to validate solid safety standards for autonomous car traffic and strengthen user confidence in these systems. The institutionalised partnerships will bring together the Joint Undertakings created on the basis of Article 171 of the TEU and Article 187 of the TFEU, and the Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs). The Joint Undertakings are legal entities composed of public and private partners, but also of Member States when the latter contribute financially (see ECSEL). Each JU draws up its own annual work programme, organises calls for proposals and ensures the distribution of EU funds to selected projects. The calls are mostly open to all, but some may be restricted to members of the entity. There is in particular a JU dedicated to the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen theme. Finally, KICs are autonomous pan-European partnerships involving higher education institutions, research organisations and companies in particular. These non-profit associations are theoretically established for 7 to 15 years and are the only partnerships expected to be financially autonomous in the long term. For example, KIC Urban Mobility is dedicated to the development of solutions that allow better collective use of urban spaces, while ensuring accessible, convenient, safe, efficient, sustainable and affordable multimodal mobility. Finally, co-funded partnerships will be based on a joint programme approved by the partners, with a financial contribution from Horizon Europe but also commitments of national public funding.  ERA-NETs established under Horizon Europe will fall into this category. They are instruments to support public-public partnerships and their preparation, the establishment of networking structures, the design, implementation and coordination of joint activities on a specific theme. The ERA-Net Cofund Urban Accessibility and Connectivity (ENUAC), for example, supports innovation and research projects focusing on the challenges of sustainable urban passenger mobility, freight, transport and connectivity.   The establishment of Missions Boards to meet cross-cutting challenges One of the major innovations of Horizon Europe is the implementation of transversal missions that will be implemented through specific calls representing a maximum of 10% of Horizon Europe's Pillar 2 "Global Challenges and European Industrial Competitiveness". For each of them, an ad-hoc mission committee made up of 15 independent experts has been formed, and their first recommendations will be presented at the R&I Days in September 2020. Throughout their mission, this work may lead to the creation of new standards, regulations or market instruments. A monitoring system, with appropriate key performance indicators, will be set up for each mission. Among the 5 missions established is the "Climate-neutral and smart cities" mission, which should enable the EU to achieve the objectives set by the Paris Agreement, the UN Sustainable Development Goals, the Urban Agenda for the EU, and the UN's New Agenda for Cities - Habitat III.