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

The importance of climate-neutral and smart cities

More than half of the world’s population now lives in urban areas. This is expected to reach 80% by 2050. Cities and metropolitan areas are centres of economic activity, knowledge generation, innovation and new technologies.

Cities influence the quality of life of citizens who live or work in them and they are major contributors to global challenges.

Aims of missions in this area

A mission in this area will help us meet the goals and targets set out by international policy frameworks such as the COP21 Paris Agreement, the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (notably SDG11), the Urban Agenda for the EU and the Habitat III New Urban Agenda as cities play a key role in all of them.

How specific missions are identified

This mission area has a mission board tasked with identifying one or more specific missions for implementation under Horizon Europe. The mission board consists of 15 experts, including the chair, and is supported by a mission secretariat and an assembly.

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:

100 Climate-Neutral Cities by 2030 - by and for the citizens
Targets by 2030: support, promote and showcase 100 European cities in their systemic transformation towards climate neutrality by 2030 and turn these cities into innovation hubs for all cities, benefiting quality of life and sustainability in Europe.

More information

Contact

RTD-HORIZON-EUROPE-MISSION-CITIES@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 European 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

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