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Research and innovation: Promising outlook for the future Horizon Europe

The provisional agreement on the future Horizon Europe 2021-2027, the EU programme on research and innovation, has been approved by both the Council and the European Parliament. On 15 April 2019, the Council agreed, in a Partial General Approach, on crucial provisions of the programme implementing Horizon Europe, while, on 17 April, the European Parliament, in its plenary session, endorsed the same provisional agreement.

The key objectives set out in the agreement include, among others:

  • the general directions of research activities;
  • areas for possible missions and partnerships;
  • the establishment by the Commission of the European Innovation Council (EIC); and,
  • enhancing the European Research Area (ERA).

The financial aspect of the programme is still under negotiations and it will be discussed as part of the EU's next multiannual financial framework (MFF) for the period 2021-2027. The initial budget proposed by the Commission, on 7 June 2018, amounted to EUR 100 billion, while the Parliament calls for an increase to EUR 120 billion.

At the same time, the European Commission announced early this month that it will invest EUR 195 million, as part of Horizon2020, to open and develop 13 new ‘centres of excellence’ in seven Member States: one in Bulgaria, three in Cyprus, two in Czech Republic, one in Estonia, one in Latvia, three in Poland and two in Portugal. The funds will enable these new centres to boost research and innovation (R&I) performance and create partnerships across Europe in fields such as health, marine and maritime research, industrial production, biodiversity and nanomaterials.

In such a positive and promising context for R&I, another landmark achievement - the first ever picture of a black hole – where EU-funded research collaboration played a key role, proves the importance of fostering EU R&I programmes to increase cooperation and keep the EU at the forefront of global research and innovation. As Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, Carlos Moedas, declared: “This amazing discovery proves again how working together with partners around the world can lead to achieving the unthinkable and moving the horizons of our knowledge”.

European Commission – Press Release

Council of the EU – Press release

EU Commission – Statement by Commissioner Moedas on the European Parliament's vote on Horizon Europe