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Horizon Europe

H EU Yellow Blue2021 marks the launch of Horizon Europe, the EU's ninth framework programme for research and innovation.  As the world's largest funding programme for research and innovation, Horizon Europe aims to shape a knowledge- and innovation-driven society and a sustainable economy, while contributing to sustainable development.

The work programmes 2021/2022 of Horizon Europe have been published. The open calls for proposals that stem from this publication can be found here.

The total budget of Horizon Europe is approximately €95.5 billion over the seven-year period until 2027. You can find more information from the EU Commission on the structure of Horizon Europe here.



Structure of Horizon Europe

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Horizon Europe consists of three pillars: "Scientific Excellence", "Global Challenges and European Industrial Competitiveness" and "Innovative Europe". The cross-cutting area "Widening participation and strengthening the European Research Area" functions as a complementary element.

This structure creates a wide range of participation opportunities for Freiburg researchers from basic research to reaching market maturity of a product.

Under Horizon Europe, well-known and proven funding lines from Horizon 2020, such as the ERC grants or the Marie Skłodowska-Curie measures, are being continued. In addition, the collaborative research adopts an interdisciplinary approach which will also provide opportunities for the social sciences and humanities. With the institutionalisation of the EIC, the European Commission intends to further strengthen the market introduction of research results.

Compared to its predecessor, Horizon 2020, Horizon Europe includes the following new features:

  • Various thematic areas are grouped into six clusters under an interdisciplinary approach. The clusters emphasize the importance of the humanities and their integration in research projects.
  • "Missions" bundle calls for proposals on a specific topic across disciplines and sectors. The work programme on the missions is expected to be published by the end of 2021.
  • The European Innovation Council (EIC) provides more targeted support to innovations, so that they can reach market maturity more quickly.
  • Overall, participation rules and procedures show a high degree of continuity with Horizon 2020. However, there are some changes e.g. in the calculation of personnel costs, internal cost allocation and the introduction of a new audit threshold. We will gladly provide assistance with specific questions.



Horizon Europe introduces missions for the first time. Missions are EU-wide research and innovation instruments that address ambitious goals to meet current societal challenges in Europe in an interdisciplinary manner. They are split into five thematic areas, the so-called "Mission Areas":

  • Climate Change Adaptation, including Societal Change;
  • Cancer;
  • Healthy oceans, seas, coastal and inland waters;
  • Climate-neutral and smart cities;
  • Soil Health and Nutrition.

The missions operate for a maximum of 10 years alongside regular calls in the framework programme and exploit synergies with other framework programme instruments, for example through collaborations with thematically appropriate European Partnership Initiatives. They support the entire spectrum from basic research to the stage shortly before market launch or introduction into (societal) practice. Calls for proposals for the missions are included in a separate Horizon Europe work programme.


Participation of the United Kingdom and Switzerland

Full association to Horizon Europe is envisaged for the United Kingdom (UK). UK institutions are able to participate in collaborative projects from the very first calls under Horizon Europe. The corresponding association agreement will enter into force retroactively as of 01.01.2021. The EU Commission provides further information here.

An association to Horizon Europe is also planned for Switzerland; similarly to the UK, the corresponding association agreement is to enter into force retroactively. This will also allow Swiss institutions to prepare their participation in collaborative projects under Horizon Europe. The Swiss government has additionally reserved funds for cost coverage of the projects. The participation of Swiss institutions is thus financially secured and fully possible in any case.


Current calls for proposals

We provide current information on calls for proposals under Horizon Europe on our website.