Getting to know Horizon Europe – 2021-2027


By Milena Marchesi

Over the last few years, European research and innovation have received a considerable boost from the European Commission’s Horizon programme, which is the largest transnational research and innovation programme in the world. Horizon funds researchers at universities, as well as innovative projects by organizations, SMEs and public entities. Recognizing that research benefits from international engagement, the Horizon Europe programme is also open to many non-EU countries.

The first Horizon programme, Horizon 2020, ran from 2016 to 2020. With a budget of € 77 billion, H2020 funded almost 32,000 grant agreements and 160.837 entities. Horizon Europe, which is slated to run from 2021 to 2027, has an even bigger budget than its predecessor, € 95.5 billion, and can be expected to have an even broader impact in areas that the European Commission has identified as its strategic priorities.

These include: addressing the climate change crisis through the European Green Deal (35% of Horizon Europe’s budget is devoted to research and innovation related to climate change); supporting a sustainable and more equitable economy; boosting Europe’s global competitiveness and digital autonomy; supporting a democratic Europe; and contributing to the continent’s recovery from the Covid-19 emergency.


New to Horizon Europe is the introduction of five “missions”, which are meant to be overarching objectives orienting the programme and which can be found in Horizon Europe’s logo. Each mission will issue calls specific to its topic, with the first calls, described below, expected to open in May 2021:

Adaptation to Climate Change Mission: Funding for Better prepared regional and local authorities to adapt to climate change (budget: € 5 million).

Cancer Mission: Grant funding for “Preparing”, a European initiative to understand cancer (budget: € 3 million)

Healthy Oceans Mission: Preparation for the deployment of ‘lighthouse demonstrators’ and solution scale ups and cross-cutting citizen and stakeholder involvement (budget: € 5 millions).

Climate Neutral & Smart Cities Mission: Will support the transition towards climate neutrality within cities will see two grant topics opening, both of which aim to support
the transition toward climate neutrality in European cities (budget: € 4 million).

Soil, Health & Food Mission: ‘Preparing the ground for healthy soils: building capacities for engagement’ will fund actions aimed at building and disseminating knowledge about soil health (HORIZON-MISS-2021-SOIL-01).

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