To support the move toward a green, digital and secure future in Europe, the European Commission on March 20, 2024. adopted the second strategic plan for Horizon Europe. It identifies three key directions for EU research and innovation funding for the final years of the program (2025-2027). This allows the European Commission to target investments, supporting cutting-edge research and breakthrough innovations. They will help address key challenges, such as climate change, biodiversity loss, digital transformation and an aging population.

Horizon Europe strategic plan

The program’s strategic plan is based on an in-depth analysis by the European Commission’s services, including the detection of missing topics and potential gaps in the areas of intervention provided for in the program’s legal basis. The strategic plan was co-authored by the European Commission services and developed jointly with the European Parliament, member states and associated countries, as well as with more than 2,000 stakeholders and citizens who provided input at various stages of the strategic planning process, such as the largest-ever public consultation on the European research and innovation framework programs.

Horizon Europe strategic directions for 2025-2027

The Horizon Europe Strategic Plan 2025-2027 directs research and innovation funding, addressing key global challenges such as climate change, biodiversity loss, digital transformation and population aging. We wrote about the program’s activities in a previous Water Matters article: Horizon Europe – the EU’s mission to adapt to climate change.

The adopted strategic plan identifies three main directions for investment in research and innovation under Horizon Europe for 2025-2027:

  • ecological transformation;
  • digital transformation;
  • A more resilient, competitive, inclusive and democratic Europe.

The adopted strategic plan increases Horizon Europe ‘s ambitions for biodiversity conservation and commits to allocating 10 percent of the of the initiative’s total budget for biodiversity topics. This new commitment complements existing targets for climate spending (35 percent over the life of the program) and core digital activities (€13 billion over the same period).

European partnerships in Horizon Europe

European partnerships bring together the European Commission and private and public partners to address some of the most pressing challenges through joint research and innovation initiatives. They are a key tool for implementing the program and contribute significantly to EU policy priorities.

The Horizon Europe Strategic Plan 2025-2027 identifies nine new areas: brain health, forestry for a sustainable future, innovative materials, raw materials for ecological and digital transformation, cultural heritage, social transformation, photovoltaics, textiles of the future and virtual worlds. To date, more than 65 billion euros have been allocated to European partnerships: 24.8 billion from Horizon Europe and 35.6 billion from non-EU partners. More than 65 percent. of the total amount was provided by private sector partners.

EU missions in Horizon Europe

The EU’s climate change adaptation mission focuses on supporting EU regions, cities and local authorities in their efforts to build resilience to its effects. The Horizon Europe Strategic Plan 2025-2027 also reviews the implementation of the EU’s mission and introduces the New European Bauhaus (NEB) instrument. This is a pioneering movement that brings together citizens, municipalities, experts, businesses, universities and institutions to ensure sustainable and inclusive living in Europe and beyond.

Given the cross-cutting nature of the new European Bauhaus and its research and innovation content, it will be implemented as a cross-cutting issue in Horizon Europe ‘s 2025-2027 work programs. This research and innovation component will be complemented by an implementation component, which will be implemented through synergies with other EU programs. Collectively, they will be referred to as the NB instrument.

Horizon Europe work programs for 2025-2027

Key strategic directions are the guiding principles of Horizon Europe. They will be implemented through specific works that identify funding opportunities for research and innovation activities through calls for proposals and themes. Horizon Europe initiative’s main work program for 2025. will be developed in accordance with the directions of the newly adopted strategic plan. In April this year, the European Commission will launch a feedback option on it, available to all interested parties.

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