Why the EU supports industrial research and innovation

Research and innovation in industrial key enabling technologies is essential to create wellbeing, prosperity and jobs across Europe within the means of our planet. That requires new policy action for value creation from research and innovation and the acceleration of the green and digital transformation of industry, strengthening its resilience and its base in Europe.

The new concept of Industry 5.0 recognises the power of industry to achieve societal goals to become a resilient provider of prosperity, by making production respect the boundaries of our planet and placing the wellbeing of the industry worker at the centre of the production process.

Research and innovation is at the hearth of the renewed European Industrial Strategy, which paves the way to the green and digital transitions of EU industry. To accelerate the twin green and digital transitions, the Commission has proposed co-created transition pathways, including the development of ERA Industrial Technology Roadmaps and investments in research and innovation through Horizon Europe Partnerships with industry.

Public research and innovation investments will trigger private investments, which are monitored through the yearly Industrial Research and Development Scoreboard.

To strengthen innovation ecosystems for knowledge circulation and valorisation, ensuring that research and innovation have a positive impact on citizens, the European Commission and EU countries are jointly developing the new EU valorisation policy through the ERA Forum for transition and engaging all stakeholders through the EU Knowledge Valorisation Platform.

What we do for the European Commission's priorities

Industrial research and innovation has a direct impact on 3 of the 6 European Commission priorities.

European Green Deal

The European Green Deal provides an action plan to boost the efficient use of resources by moving to a clean, circular economy, to restore biodiversity and to cut pollution. Through Horizon Europe the European Commission is investing in sustainable technologies.

The European Partnership Processes4Planet aims at climate-neutral demonstrators by 2030 and will launch large hubs for circularity by 2025. The European Partnership Made in Europe targets circular processes, products and business models. 

The Safe- and Sustainable-by-Design framework and criteria as well as the European Partnership for the Assessment of Risks from Chemicals (PARC) will be enablers for the EU Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability.

An economy that works for people

People and businesses in the EU can only thrive if the economy works for them. New disruptive technologies are fundamental for the development of prosperous economies, but they may cause societal challenges such as rising inequality or new digital business models that threaten traditional welfare states (e.g. the platform economy).

The EU must be prepared for the future of work putting people at the centre of its policies. The European skills agenda pursues a shift in upskilling (improving existing skills) and reskilling (training in new skills) of the industrial workforce.

The Transitions Performance Index has the ambition to measure what counts for prosperity, motivating decision-makers to act towards sustainable, fair, just, empowering societies.

A Europe fit for the digital age

Digital technologies are profoundly changing people’s lives. The EU’s digital strategy aims to make this transformation work for people and businesses, while helping to achieve its target of a climate-neutral Europe by 2050.

Research and innovation through the European Partnership Made in Europe will boost a circular and competitive European manufacturing industry through technologies like artificial intelligence and robotics.

Data interoperability and quality, as well as their structure, authenticity and integrity are key for the exploitation of the data value, especially in the context of AI deployment.

The European Partnership on Metrology ensures the accuracy, precision and access to data and its security. These are key features of the digital transition.

Funding opportunities

  • Horizon Europe

    Calls for proposal in industrial research are mainly represented in cluster 4 of the pgroamme, Digital, Industry and Space


    The EU Programme for the Competitiveness of Enterprises and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (COSME) will run from 2014 to 2020


    An intergovernmental organisation for market-driven industrial research and development aiming to boost the productivity and competitiveness of European industries

  • European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF)

    European regional development fund, European social fund, Cohesion fund, European agricultural fund for rural development, European maritime and fisheries fund

  • Metrology Research

    European Metrology Programme for Innovation and Research (EMPIR)

  • Research Fund for Coal and Steel

    Programme managed by the Commission, supporting research in the coal and steel sectors in Europe.

Collaboration and jobs

Projects and results

Scientific publications, tools and databases

  • Transitions Performance Index

    A scoreboard that monitors and ranks countries based on their 4 transitions to fair and prosperous sustainability

  • EU Open Data Portal

    Single point of access to open data produced by the EU institutions - all data free to use for commercial and non-commercial purposes

  • OpenAIRE

    You can access all scientific publications from Horizon 2020 via OpenAIRE

Related events


  • Research enquiry service

    You can contact the research enquiry service to find out more about research in Europe, the EU's research and innovation funding programmes as well as calls for proposals and project funding.  

  • National contact points

    The national contact points (NCP) network gives guidance and information on participating in Horizon 2020. NCPs are established in all EU countries and many non-EU countries.

Related Commission departments