Horizon Europe

Last changed: 08 September 2021

Horizon Europe is the European Union’s ninth research and innovation programme, following on from Horizon 2020, and will run from 2021-2027. With a budget of about €85 billion, Horizon Europe is the EU’s biggest R&I framework programme ever and has the potential to generate significant scientific, social and economic returns.

Horizon Europe


Horizon Europe is structured as three pillars - (1) excellent science, (2) global challenges and European industrial competitiveness, and (3) innovative Europe. There is also a fourth component, on widening participation and strengthening the European Research Area, which cuts across the entire programme. It will support EU Member States to unlock their national R&I potential and especially low R&I performing Member States to increase their participation in Horizon Europe.

 European Commission's portal on Horizon Europe: Funding & Tenders Portal


 Reference documents including published work programs and calls: Reference documents

Pillar I – Excellent Science

The main aim of Pillar I 'Excellent Science' is to educate highly qualified people and develop groundbreaking research.

The European Research Council (ERC)

ERC offers flexible, long-term funding for pioneering research in Europe. The ERC has three annual calls based on the academic age of the applicant researcher - the Starting Grant, Consolidator Grant and Advanced Grant. There is also a Synergy Grant, where three researchers can collaborate on a single project. Read more here.

The Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA)

The MSCA programme offers funding in all fields of R&I, from basic to applied research. It supports the mobility of researchers across national borders, sectors and disciplines. MSCA awards grants to individuals in the form of Postdoctoral Fellowships or to organisations for PhD or postdoc programmes through Doctoral Networks and the COFUND grant. There is also possibilities to find funding for Staff exchange under this programme. Read more here.

Research infrastructure

Within Pillar I, you can also apply for funding for larger research infrastructure, read more here.

Pillar II – The Global Challenges

Pillar II ‘Global Challenges and European Industrial Competitiveness’ is guided by strategic priorities within the EU, such as the Green Deal, the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, and the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The calls within Pillar II are divided into six integrated thematic clusters focusing on European/international collaborative projects in R&I. The calls are of a so-called top-down nature and contain well-defined impacts that the projects are expected to contribute to. The project partnerships should consist of organisations from several sectors such as private and public actors, end-users, researchers, producers, innovators, companies, policymakers, citizens and civil society groups.

The six clusters within Pillar II are:

Cluster 1 - Health

Projects within the health cluster will aim to promote knowledge, build capacity, design, develop and demonstrate innovative solutions to improve human health and wellbeing, as well as develop health care systems.

Cluster 1 is subdivided into a number of destinations:

  1. Staying healthy in a rapidly changing society
  2. Living and working in a health-promoting environment
  3. Tackling diseases and reducing disease burden
  4. Ensuring access to innovative, sustainable and high-quality healthcare
  5. Unlocking the full potential of new tools, technologies and digital solutions for a healthy society
  6. Maintaining an innovative, sustainable and globally competitive health-related industry
Cluster 2 - Culture, creativity and inclusive society

The cluster aims to promote a greater understanding of a diversified, culturally and socially rich Europe and demonstrate how new paradigms and policies can contribute to sustainable change in a European and global context.

Cluster 2 is subdivided into a number of destinations:

  1. Innovative Research on Democracy and Governance
  2. Innovative Research on the European Cultural Heritage and the Cultural and Creative Industries
  3. Innovative Research on Social and Economic Transformations
Cluster 3 - Civil security for society

This cluster focuses on security, including cybersecurity and disaster risk management.

Cluster 3 is subdivided into a number of destinations:

  1. Better protect the EU and its citizens against Crime and Terrorism
  2. Effective management of EU external borders
  3. Resilient Infrastructure
  4. Increased Cybersecurity
  5. Disaster-Resilient Society for Europe
  6. Strengthened Security Research and Innovation
Cluster 4 - Digital, industry and space

Here, the focus is on a climate-neutral, resource-efficient and circular industry. There is also an emphasis on advanced materials, digital technology, artificial intelligence, and next-generation internet, and the cluster includes space research.

Cluster 4 is subdivided into a number of destinations:

  1. Climate neutral, circular and digitised production
  2. Increased autonomy in key strategic value chains for resilient industry
  3. World leading data and computing technologies
  4. Digital and emerging technologies for competitiveness and fit for the green deal
  5. Open strategic autonomy in developing, deploying and using global space-based infrastructures, services, applications and data
  6. A human-centred and ethical development of digital and industrial technologies
Cluster 5 - Climate, energy and mobility

The main goal of this cluster is to combat climate change, for example, by focusing on renewable energy production, the energy system, and the transport system. There will be calls related to bioenergy and biofuels, but also elements of climate research.

Cluster 5 is subdivided into a number of destinations:

  1. Climate sciences and responses for the transformation towards climate neutrality
  2. Cross-sectoral solutions for the climate transition
  3. Sustainable, secure and competitive energy supply
  4. Efficient, sustainable and inclusive energy use
  5. Clean and competitive solutions for all transport modes
  6. Safe, Resilient Transport and Smart Mobility services for passengers and goods
Cluster 6 - Food, bioeconomy, natural resources, agriculture and the environment

This cluster focuses on the transition to sustainable and circular management and use of natural resources. Here you will find calls linked to forestry, food production and biodiversity, among many other topics relevant for SLU.

Cluster 6 is divided into several different areas, known as destinations:

  1. Biodiversity and ecosystem services
  2. Fair, healthy and environmentally-friendly food systems from primary production to consumption
  3. Circular economy and bioeconomy sectors
  4. Clean environment and zero pollution
  5. Land, oceans and water for climate action
  6. Resilient, inclusive, healthy and green rural, coastal and urban communities
  7. Innovative governance, environmental observations and digital solutions in support of the Green Deal

Pillar III - Innovative Europe

European Innovation Council (EIC)

EIC aims to identify and support cutting-edge technology and innovations with the potential to have an international impact and become a market leader. Within the EIC, one can therefore apply for funding for everything from basic research linked to new technology, to validation and demonstration of new innovations. A strong focus is on support for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The EIC offers support through three funding instruments - (1) Pathfinder, for advanced research on new technologies, (2) Accelerator - for individual companies wishing to develop and scale up groundbreaking innovations, and (3) Transition - which specifically provides researchers and innovators with tools for transforming their results into applications tailored to the needs of users. Read more here.

European Innovation Ecosystems (EIE)

EIE aims to strengthen the link between research, innovation and market dissemination, and thus create an innovation ecosystem where innovations benefit people, society and the economy. The program provides support for education, policy work and projects seeking synergies between activities at EU, national and regional level. Read more here.

European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT)

The EIT aims to take innovation from idea to reality by combining entrepreneurship, education and research to find solutions to acute global issues. The EIT provides support for the formation of dynamic, long-term and Europe-wide partnerships among leading companies, research laboratories and research firms, thus creating Europe's largest innovation network. Read more here.

Some strategies to consider when applying to Horizon Europe

When you apply for project grants within this cluster, there are a number of different European / global strategies / policy documents that should be considered, here we have gathered the most important ones:


The UN Global Goals For Sustainable Development
The Green Deal
Farm to Fork Strategy
A sustainable Bioeconomy for Europe
EU Forest Strategy
EU Plastics Strategy
Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability
EU Biodiversity Strategy
Circular Economy Action Plan
EU industrial Strategy


Additional information