Developing Horizon Europe

The EU institutions reached a political agreement on Horizon Europe on 11 December 2020. The agreement is subject to formal approval by the European Parliament and the Council of the EU.

The European Parliament and the Council of the EU reached in March and April 2019 a provisional agreement on Horizon Europe. The European Parliament endorsed the provisional agreement on 17 April 2019.

In 2018 the Commission proposed an ambitious €100 billion research and innovation programme - Horizon Europe - to succeed Horizon 2020: read about the proposal and what shaped it

Presentation outlining Horizon Europe in 23 languages.

The European Defence Fund is one of the 2 specific programmes of Horizon Europe - the framework programme for research and innovation. The Euratom Research and Training Programme complements Horizon Europe.

Implementing Horizon Europe - strategic planning

Following the political agreement, the Commission began a strategic planning process.

The result of the process will be set out in a multiannual Strategic Plan to prepare the content in the work programmes and calls for proposal for the first 4 years of Horizon Europe.

The strategic planning process will focus in particular on the Global Challenges and European Industrial Competitiveness pillar of Horizon Europe. It will also cover the Widening Participation and Strengthening the European Research Area part of the programme as well as relevant activities in other pillars.

Image describing the preliminary structure of Horizon Europe. 3 pillars - Excellent science, global challenges and industrial competitiveness and innovative europe. Preliminary structure of Horizon Europe

The process will identify, among other things

  • key areas for research and innovation support and their targeted impact
  • European partnerships
  • missions
  • areas of international cooperation

Have your say on the first Strategic Plan

The Commission invites anyone with an interest in EU research and innovation priorities, anywhere in the world, to participate in a consultation on Horizon Europe's first Strategic Plan.  

The survey closed on 18 September 2020.

The input received will support the implementation of Horizon Europe, especially for the programme’s second pillar, Global Challenges and European Industrial Competitiveness.

Earlier co-design initiatives

A co-design process took place over the summer and autumn 2019 in view of preparing the first Strategic Plan for Horizon Europe.

The views and ideas of more than 7,000 respondents were collected through web-based surveys and close to 4,000 participants engaged in in-depth debates at the first European Research and Innovation Days, which took place in Brussels on 24 - 26 September 2019.

The results of the co-design process are summarised in the document Orientations towards the first Strategic Plan for Horizon Europe.

Missions in Horizon Europe

Horizon Europe will incorporate research and innovation missions to increase the effectiveness of funding by pursuing clearly defined targets. 

The Commission has engaged policy experts to develop studies, case studies and reports on how a mission-oriented policy approach will work.

Read more about the Commission's mission-oriented approach and download the studies that shaped it

Mission areas

5 mission areas have been identified, each with a dedicated mission board and assembly. The board and assembly help specify, design and implement the specific missions which will launch under Horizon Europe in 2021.

Adaptation to climate change including societal transformation


Climate-neutral and smart cities

Healthy oceans, seas, coastal and inland waters

Soil health and food

European partnerships in Horizon Europe

Horizon Europe will support European partnerships with EU countries, the private sector, foundations and other stakeholders. The aim is to deliver on global challenges and industrial modernisation through concerted research and innovation efforts.

The Horizon Europe proposal lays down the conditions and principles for establishing European Partnerships. 

Full information on European Partnerships including candidates and contact details


Adoption timeline

  • 2 May 2018

    The Commission adopts its proposal for the next EU long-term budget (MFF)

  • 7 June 2018

    The Commission adopts its proposal for Horizon Europe

  • December 2020

    Agreement by the Council and the European Parliament

  • January 2021

    Adoption by the Council and the European Parliament

  • February 2021

    Strategic Plan adoption by the European Commission

  • April 2021

    Main work programme planned to be adopted


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