What are missions and mission areas?

EU missions are commitments to solve major societal challenges like fighting cancer, adapting to climate change, protecting our oceans, living in greener cities and ensuring soil health and food.

As integral part of the Horizon Europe framework programme beginning in 2021, they are a new way to deliver on these commitments.

Each mission will operate as a portfolio of actions – such as research projects, policy measures or even legislative initiatives - to achieve a measurable goal that could not be achieved through individual actions. The missions will contribute to the goals of the European Green Deal, Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan as well as the Sustainable Development Goals.  

When will missions begin? 

A preparatory phase began in November 2020, and will last a maximum of 12 months.
Plans with detailed actions, investment strategy and performance indicators will be developed during this phase.

At the end of it, missions will be assessed against a set of robust criteria. Once approved, missions will get fully up and running. Europeans will continue to be engaged throughout their implementation.

What this mission area deals with

Cancer: a critical challenge

Cancer affects everyone regardless of age, gender or social status and represents a tremendous burden for patients, families, and societies at large.

If no further action is taken, the number of people newly diagnosed with cancer every year in Europe will increase from the current 3.5 million to more than 4.3 million by 2035.

A mission in this area will help set common goals aiming to reverse these frightening trends in cancer.

By joining efforts across Europe, more people would live without cancer, more cancer patients would be diagnosed earlier, would suffer less and have a better quality of life after treatment.

How specific missions are identified

This mission area has a mission board which has had the task of identifying one or more specific missions for implementation. The mission board consists of 15 experts, including the Chair, and is supported by an assembly and mission secretariat.  

Possible mission proposed by the mission board

At the end of June 2020, the mission board produced an interim report proposing concrete targets and a timeline for a possible mission.

The interim report was the basis for further discussion and engagement with Europeans to make sure that the proposed mission is relevant and will make a real difference.

The final recommendations of the mission board were handed over to the European Commission at the European Research & Innovation Days 22-24 September 2020.

The proposed mission:

Conquering Cancer: Mission Possible
Targets by 2030: more than 3 million lives saved, living longer and better, achieve a thorough understanding of cancer, prevent what is preventable, optimise diagnosis and treatment, support the quality of life of all people exposed to cancer, and ensure equitable access to the above across Europe.

More information

Contact

RTD-SANTE-CANCER-MISSION@ec.europa.eu

Latest

Timeline

  • End of June 2020

    The mission board produces a draft report proposing concrete targets and timelines

  • 22-24 September 2020

    The final recommendations of the mission board are handed over to the Commission at the European Research & Innovation Days

  • November 2020

    The mission enters preparatory phase

  • 1st and 2nd quarter of 2021

    Preparation of mission implementation plans, followed by Commission decision on full implementation phase

  • 3rd and 4th quarter of 2021

    Launch of the missions in full implementation phase; updated Horizon Europe Work Programme for EU missions

Documents

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