European Commission adopts new research and innovation plan

15 March, 2021

By ECCT staff writers

The European Commission has adopted the first strategic plan for “Horizon Europe”, the new EU research and innovation programme worth €95.5 billion in current prices. According to a report on the EU’s official website, Europa, the strategic plan sets the strategic orientations for the targeting of investments in the programme's first four years from 2021-2024. It ensures that EU research and innovation actions contribute to EU priorities, including a climate-neutral and green Europe, a Europe fit for the digital age, and an economy that works for people.

The strategic plan sets out four strategic orientations for research and innovation investments under Horizon Europe for the next four years:

·         Promoting an open strategic autonomy by leading the development of key digital, enabling and emerging technologies, sectors and value chains;

·         Restoring Europe's ecosystems and biodiversity, and managing sustainably natural resources;

·         Making Europe the first digitally enabled circular, climate-neutral and sustainable economy;

·         Creating a more resilient, inclusive and democratic European society.


 International cooperation underpins all four orientations, as it is essential for tackling many global challenges, according to the report.

The strategic plan also identifies the European co-funded and co-programmed partnerships and the EU missions to be supported though Horizon Europe. The partnerships will cover critical areas such as energy, transport, biodiversity, health, food and circularity, and will complement the ten Institutionalised European Partnerships proposed by the commission in February. EU missions will address global challenges that affect our daily lives by setting ambitious and inspirational but achievable goals like fighting cancer, adapting to climate change, protecting oceans, making cities greener and ensuring healthy soil and food.

The plan's orientations also address a number of horizontal issues, such as gender. The integration of the gender dimension will be a requirement by default in research and innovation content across the whole programme, unless it is specified that sex or gender may not be relevant for the topic at stake.

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