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Horizon Europe - the Successor to Horizon 2020

Horizon Europe is the name of the successor programme to Horizon 2020, EU’s big framework programme for research and innovation. The name symbolises continuity as well as change and the preparations are already in full swing.

The negotiations about the coming framework programme for research and innovation, Horizon Europe, are approaching a conclusion and the legal framework has nearly been established. The same is true for the financial framework, which has with an expected budget of approx. DKK 615 Billion for the period of 2021 to 2027. Simultaneously, we are working on a Strategic Plan and an implementation plan.

The Danish Agency for Higher Education and Science, along with the Department in the Ministry of Higher Education and Science, represents Denmark’s interests in the preparation of Horizon Europe for the beginning of 2021.

The Structure of Horizon Europe

As with Horizon 2020, Horizon Europe will be structured around three pillars with different sub-programmes and a series of cross-disciplinary initiatives. However, the content will vary.

Pillar I consists of the European Research Council (ERC), among others, which supports Europe’s best researchers, and of the sub-programme Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions that supports the education and mobility of researchers. Pillar II consists of six thematic clusters which will support transnational consortia through strategic work programmes and calls. Pillar III consists of a new independent organisation, the European Innovation Council, among others, which will launch new forms of innovation support and innovation loans.
See the overview below

Initial Structure of Horizon Europe

Pillar  I
Excellent Science
Pillar II
Global Challenges and European Industrial Competetiveness

Pillar III
Innovative Europe

The Six Clusters


European partnerships

European Innovation Ecosystems
Research Infrastructures European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) and Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KIC)
Sub-programmes outside the Pillar Structure
Widening Participation and Spreading Excellence Strengthening the European Research Area (ERA)

Five Missions

The framework programme encompasses a series of research and innovation missions across Pillar II, which is a new initiative. As a result, the European Commission has set up five Mission Boards consisting of experts from all over Europe in order to discover solutions to some of the European citizens’ biggest challenges. The Missions are rooted in pillar II. 

The Five Mission Areas

Adaptation to Climate Change By 2030, Europe must able to deal with extreme weather due to climate change. The focus will be on upscaling solutions and building a resilient Europe.

Cancer By 2030, more than three million cancer patients must survive, liver longer and with a better quality of life.
Healthy Oceans Renewal of our oceans, seas, coastal and inland waters: by 2030, we must have clean waters, restore ecosystems and decarbonise the blue economy.
Climate-neutral and Smart Cities By 2030, we must have 100 climate-neutral cities in Europe. The mission will support and promote 100 cities in their systematic transformation towards climate neutrality as ‘experimentation and innovation hubs’.

Soil Health and Food By 2030, at least 75% of all European soils must be healthy and capable of delivering the essential services we need.


Partnerships between public and private partners across the EU, member countries and the associated countries will still be an important part of the framework programme. However, the present number is reorganised into approx. 49 new partnerships, which will be launched in different tempos in the seven-year programme.

Read More

You can follow the work with Horizon Europe via the European Commission’s website or on Twitter via #HorizonEU.

Counselling on Horizon Europe

EuroCenter in The Danish Agency for Higher Education and Science, along with the EU-DK Support network of EU advisors, offers counselling on Horizon Europe. The advisors can help you with the process all the way from project idea to the application and implementation of your project.

last modified Nov 23, 2020