Today, the Commission has adopted the amendment to the Horizon Europe Work Programme 2021-2022, increasing the budget by nearly €562 million to further support EU Missions towards innovative solutions to green, health and digital challenges and more actions to boost the European innovation ecosystem. The programme's budget for 2021 and 2022 now reaches a total of nearly €16 billion.
Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice-President for A Europe Fit for the Digital Age, said: “These additional investments in research and innovation will help us to deliver on key policies. Horizon Europe shows not only its forward looking vision to create a healthier, greener and digital Europe but also its solidarity to support displaced researchers of Ukraine”
Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, said: “With this revision of the Work Programme we reinforce the impetus to address, through research and innovation, our greatest societal challenges with new and innovative tools, such as the EU Missions. In addition, we will support the displaced researchers of Ukraine to continue their research and innovation work.”
Of this additional amount €507.1 million is dedicated to the five EU Missions, a new and innovative way to bring solutions to some of our greatest challenges working together with people in Europe and beyond. Launched in September 2021, they aim to achieve ambitious goals in health, climate and the environment by 2030. There will be 17 new calls covering Mission Cancer, Mission A Soil Deal for Europe, Mission Adaptation to Climate Change and Mission Restore our Ocean and Waters by 2030. This includes a joint call comprising the latter two Missions, as well as additional actions supporting all five Missions, including the Cities Mission.
Following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the amendment also includes actions to support researchers previously active in Ukraine. Under the new MSCA4Ukraine scheme, part of the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA), €25 million will allow displaced researchers to continue their work at an academic or non-academic host organisation in the EU Member States or in countries associated to Horizon Europe, and support them re-establishing themselves in Ukraine when that becomes possible to rebuild the country's research and innovation capacity (see here the press release). Hundreds of Ukrainian scientists will also be able to benefit from an increased budget of €1 million to the Human Frontier Science Programme for the initiative of “scientists help scientists”, as part of Horizon Europe's Cluster 1 ‘Health'. A blanket provision was also added encouraging all applicants to offer opportunities, where possible, to researchers and innovators of Ukraine.
Moreover, the amendment specifies that legal entities established in Russia, Belarus, or in non-government controlled territories of Ukraine are not eligible to participate in actions supported by Horizon Europe in any capacity. Exceptions may be granted on a case-by-case basis for justified reasons.
Furthermore, the amendment adds several new actions to support Europe's innovation potential. For Horizon Europe, European Innovation Ecosystems, there will be a continuation of WomenTechEU with a tripling of the budget (€10 million) to support more than 100 women-led start-ups this year and a new action on creating and nurturing angel investing in the EU (€2 million). For Cluster 2 ‘Culture, creativity and inclusive society', this includes the support to create collaborative platforms and networks for the culture and creative industries (€6 million), the social impact assessment of green transition policies (€3 million), and innovative solutions for the future of democracy (€3 million) as well as supporting the Observatory of Public Sector Innovation (€1.5 million). Other minor adjustments to the Work Programme have also been added for a total of €3.2 million.
The first round of the upcoming calls will open on 12 May 2022 and the second will open on 24 May 2022.
2022 budget division for the EU Missions
- Mission Adaptation to Climate Change will invest €126.2 million. This includes the contribution to a joint call with the Mission Restore our Ocean and Waters by 2030 to create a joint demonstration for coastal resilience in the Arctic and Atlantic sea basin. In 2022, the Mission Adaptation to Climate Change will support the development and testing of solutions addressing key areas affected by climate change.
- Mission Cancer will invest €129.56 million to improve and upscale primary prevention of cancer, strengthen research capacities of Comprehensive Cancer Infrastructures, and create clinical trials to optimise treatments for patients with refractory cancers.
- Mission Restore our Ocean and Waters will use a budget of €117.9 million. This includes the contribution to a joint call with the Mission Adaptation to Climate Change to protect and restore marine and fresh water ecosystems and biodiversity, prevent and eliminate pollution from ocean, seas and waters, create a sustainable, carbon-neutral and circular Blue Economy.
- Mission A Soil Deal for Europe will use a €95 million budget to create, amongst others, a new Mission's Knowledge repository, investigate the role of soil biodiversity in ecosystem services, identify strategies for land decontamination and reuse.
Actions to support the Mission on Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities, with a budget of €119.37 million in 2022, were already included in the Work Programme amendment adopted in December 2021. In this amendment the budget for the Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities Mission Platform has been increased by nearly €6.25 million to provide additional support to the cities selected to join the Mission.
Horizon Europe is the EU's €95.5 billion research and innovation programme for 2021-2027 and the successor of Horizon 2020. EU Missions are a novelty of Horizon Europe and support Commission priorities, such as the European Green Deal, Europe fit for the Digital Age, Europe's Beating Cancer Plan, An economy that works for people and the New European Bauhaus. For instance, Mission Climate is already a concrete element of the new Climate Adaptation Strategy, Mission Cancer of Europe's Beating Cancer Plan and the Mission Soil is a flagship initiative of the Long-term Vision for the EU's Rural Areas.
The Commission took immediate targeted actions to help researchers of Ukraine. While the country's association to Horizon Europe is not yet in force, Ukrainian entities are eligible for EU funding under Horizon Europe. Moreover, a dedicated portal ERA4Ukraine was launched on the EURAXESS platform to serve as a one-stop-shop for information on support to researchers of Ukraine that becomes available at EU Member States' and European levels, including prominent bottom-up non-governmental initiatives, such as ScienceforUkraine. Additional EU initiatives include Science4Refugees that provides internships, part-time/full-time jobs to refugees and access to a European Research Community, Inspireurope from the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions, which provides support for researchers at risk, as well as ERCforUkraine from the European Research Council which publicizes job opportunities linked to ongoing ERC grants. Further opportunities offered by Horizon beneficiaries are also listed on Horizon4Ukraine.