Horizon Europe will follow Horizon 2020 from 2021-2027. What changes?

In early May, the European Commission defined budget for its new research programme, running between 2021 and 2027. Horizon Europe, this is the chosen name, is the largest investment programme ever achieved. It will replace the current Horizon2020. The name choice reflects on the Commission's decision to design the new framework programme as an evolution of Horizon 2020, with the name of Horizon Europe clearly representing continuity.

This programmme is part of the long-term budget of the European Union, whose main innovations, as expressed in the press release of the European Commission, are as follows:

  1. a nearly nine-fold increase in digital transformation and network investments to reach € 12 billion;
  2. more than double for youth programs (such as ERASMUS + with € 30 billion and the European Solidarity Corps with € 1.3 billion);
  3. almost three times the costs for the management of external borders, migration and asylum;
  4. an increase in security investments reaching € 4.8 billion and creating a € 13 billion defence fund to integrate and catalyze national spending in research and capacity building;
  5. the reinforcement of external action, with particular attention to Europe's neighbourhood and the maintenance of a specific reserve to address emerging challenges.

Horizon Europe: the figures

The Commission sent member states and the European Parliament an overall budget request of more than €1 trillion (that amount was eventually cut to €960 billion after pressure from several countries), equivalent to 1.11 per cent of the EU27's gross national income. Achieving such a budget increase is remarkable given the loss of the UK (whose researchers were the top beneficiaries of Horizon 2020).

Against this backdrop, the European Commission sets €97.6 billion budget for Horizon Europe. Building on the success of Horizon 2020, the new programme will continue to promote research excellence and strengthen the focus on innovation, for instance through the development of prototypes, intangible assets, knowledge and technology transfer...

"The budget is probably not what we wanted, but it is good news for science and innovation."

 EU Research Commissioner Carlos Moedas

The legal text of the proposal, however, presents that amount in current prices. As the figures expressed in current prices include the effect of inflation, the sum allocated for Horizon Europe falls to €86.6 billion.