Research and innovation driving transformative change

Becoming the world’s first climate-neutral continent by 2050 is a once in a lifetime opportunity to modernise the EU’s economy and society and re-orient them towards a just and sustainable future.

Research and innovation will play a central role in

  • accelerating and navigating the necessary transitions
  • deploying, demonstrating and de-risking solutions
  • engaging citizens in social innovation


The Commission made €1 billion available under the Green Deal call - the last and biggest call under Horizon 2020. The call was designed to respond to the climate crisis, provide more protection to Europe’s biodiversity and habitats under threat, and accelerate a sustainable recovery.

The call is now closed and has received 1550 proposals.

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Europe’s green research and innovation investments

Horizon Europe is the EU's next research and innovation programme starting in 2021. 

Its powerful instruments and innovative governance will drive the necessary systemic changes to reach climate neutrality and ensure an inclusive ecological and economic transition.

Horizon Europe, in synergy with other EU programmes, will be key to leveraging national public and private investment. Together they will foster new technologies, sustainable solutions and disruptive innovation and spread successful new solutions across Europe and the world.

Over 35% of Horizon Europe spending will contribute to climate objectives.

Green partnerships

There will be a new wave of research and innovation partnerships under Horizon Europe.

Partnerships will help drive the huge transformations in environment, society and the economy that the European Green Deal calls for.

The EU will work closely with industry and countries to support partnerships in critical areas such as transport - including batteries - clean hydrogen, low-carbon steel, circular biobased sectors, the built environment and biodiversity.

Green missions

The missions in Horizon Europe will mobilise research and innovation, catalyse action, deliver impact, demonstrate solutions, and produce European public goods.
At the same time, they aim to capture citizens' imagination and inspire confidence in the transformations ahead.
4 out of the 5 mission areas in Horizon Europe directly support the European Green Deal

  • Healthy oceans, seas, coastal and inland waters
  • Climate-neutral and smart cities
  • Soil health and food
  • Adaptation to climate change and societal transformation

Green research and innovation rules

To deliver on the European Green Deal, a careful assessment, analysis and design of existing and future legislation is necessary. At the same time, it is important to leave room for new and out-of-the-box ideas to reach a sustainable future more quickly and more effectively.

The Innovation Principle approach can be a useful tool in this regard.

Successful projects

EU-funded research projects are already producing results that will help deliver the European Green Deal.

Some examples

E-FERRY is a 100% electric battery-powered ferry, running on surplus energy from wind turbines

EMBRACED collects and recycle used nappies and turns them into high-value new materials

MACROFUELS is producing biofuels made from a cultivated seaweed to power transport, a truly sustainable fuel alternative

GELCLAD has designed cost-effective, easy-to-install eco-panels that can be fitted to the outside of old or new buildings cutting energy consumption and CO2 emissions

IoF 2020 is using Internet of Things (IoT) to help the farming sector to be more competitive in an increasingly globalised world while protecting the environment

HYDRALAB-PLUS provides crucial data for policymakers in the field of flood risk, helping authorities and societies prepare for a changing climate

Urban GreenUP involves citizens to reshape urban areas using green solutions, making them more sustainable, liveable and resilient to climate change

OYSTER is designing smart materials to control the wettability of surfaces and creating an open innovation space for knowledge and data shared with everyone

UNALAB develops nature-based solutions for cities to make them smarter, more inclusive, resilient and sustainable while empowering citizens

ClimeFish helps fish producers and aquaculture farmers predict, prepare and adapt to climate change, reducing economic losses and social consequences

Find more successful green research projects


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