How research and innovation contribute

The EU wants to unlock the full potential for a digital and industrial revolution in Europe. Our aim is to achieve technological sovereignty in critical areas such as high-performance and quantum computing and the key technologies enabling them.

Digital research and innovation activities will ensure advancements in knowledge, increase research capacities, and develop and demonstrate new innovative solutions unlock their full potential for Europe.

An investment strategy combined with a system of measures to strengthen the digital, industry and space will accelerate all levels of this digital transition.

Research and innovation will contribute to

  • setting the next generation standards
  • promoting effective management of intellectual property
  • putting the results of research to practical use, quickly
  • European investments in breakthrough technologies that are better coordinated and prioritised, including cybersecurity and human-centric Artificial Intelligence (AI)

We will revamp the European Research Area and European Education Area in order to enable a fair digital transition that leaves nobody behind and empowers people through education, life-long learning and development of new skills.

Strengthening European global leadership in open science will spread scientific excellence in Europe and beyond and attract the most advanced research and innovation to develop and scale up on our continent.

Digital transition and artificial intelligence

The EU wants to unlock the potential of the research-industry-society triangle. To help do this we have created the Horizon Europe’s clusters, a new wave of modernised partnerships, as well as research and innovation components in the new industry and digital strategies. They will also address key parts of strategic technology supply chains, such as raw materials.

Europe will spearhead a form of artificial intelligence and data governance that is ethically robust and purpose-driven, making a real difference in the digital transition. This requires considerable scaling up of artificial intelligence and using data to improve people's lives, coupled with an agile European legislative framework.

Research and innovation will lead the way by

  • anchoring the principle ‘ethical by design’ as a contractual obligation in the next research and innovation programme Horizon Europe
  • piloting the deployment of artificial intelligence-led solutions in Horizon Europe missions and partnerships
  • lifting the barriers that hinder the full exploitation of data in healthcare
  • accelerating the deployment of the European open science cloud
  • conducting dialogues on these issues with international research and innovation partners

Research and innovation policy will be key for digitalising the health sector and making our common response to any future possible health threats stronger and more accurate.

Research and innovation instruments will help

  • address unmet medical needs
  • provide regulatory standards and requirements
  • increase productivity and sustainability in developing health innovation
  • support data-driven manufacturing of tailormade medical products and the delivery of personalised services

Research and innovation will also deliver on the roadmap for the 1+ Million Genomes Declaration and contribute to the European approach in the area of rare diseases.

Responding to emerging challenges

The new level of ambition for the EU is to couple research and innovation with education and training. The European Research Area (ERA) will put special focus on this. This will help Europe’s recovery, making our society and economy more resilient, accelerate the climate and digital transitions and solve society's most pressing needs.

The Commission has a plan to empower and revitalise ERA. The plan incentivises EU countries to reinforce research and innovation at national level and to deepen joint efforts at the European level. The plan is anchored in the principle of excellence and draws on lessons learned from the COVID-19 crisis.

During the global COVID-19 pandemic, ERA provided a unique forum to discuss, develop and implement common European solutions to the emerging challenges. The ERAvsCorona Action Plan and international pledging marathon brought countries together to address the most urgent testing, treatment and prevention needs.

ERA will support European companies to scale up and become world leaders in key strategic areas  - such as artificial intelligence, quantum computing, 5G, batteries and hydrogen - where Europe can occupy a sovereign position.

ERA will operate in synergy with the European Education Area, with simplified processes and governance. They will be mutually reinforcing and promote coordinated education, training, research and innovation and investments to build a true knowledge society and economy.

To turn ERA's 4 strategic objectives into action we will

  • publish an ERA roadmap in the short to medium term
  • EU countries will adopt a pact for research and innovation in Europe to reinforce their commitment to a set of shared values and principles
  • make the ERA governance process more effective and impactful, with close political dialogue with EU countries on priorities for future implementation and progress

Breakthrough, disruptive tech companies

Our ecosystem of innovative industries and companies needs to be bolstered as part of the digital transition. Only 5% of European start-ups go on to become world tech leaders. 

The new European Innovation Council (EIC) will contribute to reversing this trend - read how.

The Commission will ensure seamless continuity between the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), the EIC, and InvestEU. They will complement each others' work and create synergies.