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Launch of Horizon Europe and the first ERC calls

On 2 February, the Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the EU officially launched the Horizon Europe programme. Equipped with a budget of ca. EUR 95 billion, the ninth European Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (2021-2027) is guided by major principles of Europe’s scientific excellence, industrial competitiveness, innovation and inclusiveness. 

The new programme includes four implementation pillars: 

  • Pillar 1: “Science of Excellence”, encompassing the European Research Council (ERC), the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) and research infrastructures (ESFRI). 
  • Pillar 2: "Global Challenges and European Industrial Competitiveness", focused on six clusters varying from Health to Food, Bioeconomy, Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environment, and also consisting of Research Missions in five key areas (e.g. Cancer; Adaptation to climate change including societal transformation) and Institutional Partnerships aimed at mobilising public and private sectors in areas such as energy, transport, biodiversity, health, food and the circular economy. 
  • Pillar 3: “Innovative Europe”, encompassing the new European Innovation Council (EIC), the European Innovation Ecosystems (EIE) and the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT).  
  • Pillar 4: “Extending participation in and reinforcement of the European Research Area”, through a set of different funding instruments aimed at establishing networks for human resources and at institutional level. 

Following the launch of Horizon Europe, the European Commission presented the Work Programme 2021 for the European Research Council on 22 February. It includes three main calls for proposals for frontier research actions for a total amount of EUR 1.9 billion. The first call published on 25 February (the 2021 Starting Grant call) will support young researchers across Europe who are starting their own independent research team or programme. 

More details 

European Commission – Horizon Europe 

European Commission – first ERC call