European Commission Announces Launch of Horizon Europe Missions

An initial €1.9 billion will be allocated until 2023 to the five mission areas of: climate change; cancer; oceans and water; climate-neutral cities; and soil.

The European Commission has officially adopted the Horizon Europe missions, a new instrument under the Horizon Europe research and development programme that aims to tackle some of the biggest challenges facing all Europeans by 2030.

Each mission sets out a series of actions – including research and innovation projects, policy measures and legislative initiatives – in order to achieve concrete goals with large societal impact and within a specified timeline.

The Commission has confirmed that the following five missions will aim to deliver solutions to key global challenges by 2030:

  1. Adaptation to Climate Change: support at least 150 European regions and communities to become climate resilient by 2030.
  2. Cancer: working with Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan to improve the lives of more than 3 million people by 2030 through prevention, cure and solutions to live longer and better.
  3. Restore our Ocean and Waters by 2030.
  4. 100 Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities by 2030.
  5. A Soil Deal for Europe: 100 living labs and lighthouses to lead the transition towards healthy soils by 2030.

The missions are co-created and support a number of EU policies and priorities led by nine College members, including: the European Green Deal; New European Bauhaus; Europe fit for the Digital Age; Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan; An Economy that Works for People; and the EU’s Long-term Vision for Rural Areas.

The missions will initially share up to €1.89 billion until 2023. Beyond this, their budgets will be determined by the size of the challenge, and they are expected to draw in funding from various sources and levels, including national and regional.

Following the launch of the missions, the Commission intends to update the Horizon Europe work programme for 2021-22 with a full research and innovation mission agenda by the end of 2021. Missions will also begin to engage with participating regions, cities and organisations, as well as citizens in Member States to boost societal uptake of new solutions and approaches and help ensure lasting outcomes for all EU citizens.

Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice-President for A Europe Fit for the Digital Age, said:

‘Today, we have launched five new missions. A mission is a new and innovative tool – a new way to work together within Horizon Europe. They are also an original concept in EU policy. The missions are commitments to solve some of the greatest challenges we are facing today: fighting cancer, adapting to climate change, protecting the ocean, seas and waters, living in greener cities and ensuring healthy soil and food. It is a set of actions – research and innovation projects, policy measures and legislative initiatives, citizens’ involvement – to achieve concrete goals with large societal impact. We want to deliver solutions to key global challenges by 2030!’

Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, said:

‘The response to the coronavirus pandemic has shown that we can only tackle our biggest problems with a collective effort rooted in research and innovation. This is also the starting point of the bold and ambitious EU missions. They will mobilise the enormous potential of the EU and rally instruments and policies to achieve important goals. And all this together with the citizens, who are involved from start to finish.’

(This report was the subject of a ResearchConnect Newsflash.)