12.3 billion euros for Horizon Europe in 2023 as proposed by the Commission
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12.3 billion euros for Horizon Europe in 2023 as proposed by the Commission

The budget presented foresees an increase of EUR 100 million for the new framework programme for research and innovation

Horizon Europe is the EU’s main funding programme for research and innovation, with a budget of €95.5 billion. It addresses climate change, helps achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and boosts EU competitiveness and growth.

Its objectives include strengthening the EU’s scientific and technological foundations and the European Research Area (ERA), boosting Europe’s innovation capacity, competitiveness and employment, delivering on citizens’ priorities, and upholding our values and socio-economic model.

If the budget proposed by the Commission is met, next year the budget of the Horizon Europe programme will amount to €12.3 billion, an increase of €100 million compared to 2022. In addition, an additional €1.8 billion will be allocated to grants from the EU’s Next Generation EU recovery fund.

How the budget will be distributed

  • 2.1 billion would be invested in frontier research through the European Research Council.
  • 1.6 billion would go to innovative start-ups funded by the European Innovation Council.
  • Large collaborative projects in the fields of health, digital, and climate would have a budget of around €1 billion each.
  • The defence research fund, the EDF, would receive €626 million.
  • For learning and education mobility under Erasmus+, the Commission has proposed a budget of €3.5 billion.

Necessary adjustments to the Budget

The Commission has proposed to return €400 million to Horizon Europe to compensate for the transfer of funds from Horizon’s digital research group to the Digital Europe programme. This will be paid back in annual instalments until 2027, with the Commission foreseeing that the first instalment will be paid in 2023.

In addition, the Commission states that the necessary adjustments for the 2023 draft budget will have spill-over effects for the period 2024-2027. Horizon Europe’s digital, industrial, and the space task force will be cut by €80 million between 2024 and 2027 to cover the funding needed to support the Commission’s flagship semiconductor initiative, the EU Chip Act.

At the same time, there will be an additional €50 million for the climate, energy, and mobility cluster in 2024. “This rebalancing is intended to compensate for the frontloading of the clean hydrogen envelope by €50 million in 2023,” the proposal says.

The Commission’s budget proposal foresees a decrease of €258 million for the European Space Programme between 2024 and 2027.

Next steps for the adoption of the Budget

The budget proposal will now go to the member states and the European Parliament, who will negotiate the final figures by the end of the year. During this year’s budget negotiations, Parliament and Council engaged in a heated debate over the research budget and the possibility of using unspent money from Horizon Europe’s predecessor to fund more research and innovation.

In the proposal for 2023, the Commission suggests that a total of €78.8 million of unspent money could be available for Horizon Europe’s digital, climate, and cultural research groups.

Thomas Estermann, director of policy and governance at the European University Association, said the slight increase in the budget is a positive sign, but Horizon Europe will peak in 2025 and spending could have been increased further in 2023 to allow the programme to gain speed.

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