Explanatory Memorandum to COM(2018)435 - Horizon Europe - the Framework Programme for Research and Innovation, laying down its rules for participation and dissemination

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Reasons and objectives

The ‘Horizon Europe’ proposal is fully in line with the Commission’s proposal on the next long-term Union budget for 2021 to 2027 as well as the Commission’s priorities as set out in its Agenda for Jobs, Growth, Fairness and Democratic Change and global policy priorities (the Sustainable Development Goals). It supports the agenda of the Union post-2020 as agreed in the Rome Declaration of 25 March 2017.

The proposal is framed by the premise that research and innovation (R&I) delivers on citizens’ priorities, boosts the Union’s productivity and competitiveness, and is crucial for sustaining our socio-economic model and values, and enabling solutions that address challenges in a more systemic way.

The Horizon Europe package consists of proposals for:

1. a Framework Programme for Research and Innovation entitled ‘Horizon Europe’, including laying down its rules for participation and dissemination (as per Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union – ‘TFEU’),

2. a specific programme to implement ‘Horizon Europe’ (‘TFEU’),


3. a Research and Training Programme under the Euratom Treaty complementing Horizon Europe, along with the

4. associated impact assessment and legal financial statements.

A specific programme on defence research is proposed to be established by Regulation …/…/EU of the European Parliament and the Council establishing the European Defence Fund for the period 2021-2027.

The package merges two current legal acts (the Framework Programme and the Rules for Participation and Dissemination) into a single legal act and makes a number of improvements in terms of simplification along the way.

Specifically, Horizon Europe will strengthen the Union’s scientific and technological bases in order to help tackle the major global challenges of our time and contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). At the same time, the programme will boost the Union’s competitiveness, including that of its industries. Horizon Europe will help deliver on the Union’s strategic priorities and support the development and implementation of Union policies. In a swiftly changing world, Europe’s success increasingly depends on its ability to transform excellent scientific results into innovation that have a real beneficial impact on our economy and quality of life, and create new markets with more skilled jobs.

To achieve this aim and build on the success of its predecessor, Horizon Europe continues to support the whole R&I cycle in an integrated manner.

The principle of a single set of rules for participation and dissemination is maintained, while this proposal improves further on these rules.

This proposal provides for a date of application as of 1 January 2021 and is presented for a Union of 27 Member States, in line with the notification by the United Kingdom of its intention to withdraw from the European Union and Euratom based on Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union received by the European Council on 29 March 2017.

Consistency with existing policy provisions

The Framework Programme is the Union’s flagship programme to support R&I from concept to market uptake. It aims to complement national and regional funding. The framework programme has already provided unique European added value in supporting continent-wide competition and collaboration for the very best science and innovation. This has resulted in scientific breakthroughs, increased competitiveness, and solutions to societal challenges. The new proposed framework programme, Horizon Europe, will aim to have an even greater impact than the current one, Horizon 2020 which is a widely acknowledged asset towards achieving Europe’s ambitions. The rapidly evolving nature of research and innovation in a context of global competition makes public support for R&I more essential than ever, in particular at Union level where its added value is undisputed. The proposal is fully in line with the Commission’s agenda for R&I, including the headline target of investing 3% of the Union’s GDP on research and development, as well as with the Communication “A renewed European agenda for Research and Innovation – Europe’s chance to shape its future“ (the European Commission’s contribution to the informal leaders’ meeting on 16-17 May 2018).

Consistency with other Union policies

The proposal is fully consistent with existing Union policies. Horizon Europe was developed taking into account the current Commission’s priorities, the Budget for Results policy (which demands that Union spending programmes must – more than ever – deliver value for money), the implementation of the 2030 Agenda on sustainable development, the implementation of the Union Global Strategy and the Commission’s proposal on the next long-term Union budget.

In areas like health, digital technologies, industrial transformation, inclusive and democratic societies, natural resources, energy, mobility, environment, food, low-carbon economy, space and security, R&I is critical to the successful delivery on Union priorities: in particular jobs and growth, the Digital Single Market, the Energy Union and climate action. R&I is at the core of productivity and the competitiveness of an advanced economy like the Union’s.

R&I investment will be complementary and mutually reinforcing with that of other Union programmes. R&I results will be exploited in synergy with other Union programmes to foster their uptake at national and regional level, thereby maximising the European innovation potential. This will be complemented by effective R&I communication and outreach campaigns targeting the general public. Complementarity and synergy of R&I support and exploitation across the Union's long-term budget will be maximised through a strategic R&I planning process, which will be sufficiently flexible to allow the Commission and Union institutions to swiftly react to urgent needs and new priorities.

The proposal is also fully consistent with the approach taken under the European Semester process of economic policy co-ordination. Those links should be continued and reinforced, building on the relevant contributions already made under Horizon 2020 in support of structural reforms to improve the quality and efficiency of national research and innovation systems at three levels: firstly, through substantial investment in scientific and technological research and innovation; secondly, by making the business environment more innovation-friendly and less risk-averse; and thirdly, by ensuring that European citizens get supported through what will be a fast and, for some, turbulent transition driven by innovation, digitisation and global megatrends such as artificial intelligence and the circular economy.

The Programme's actions should be used to address market failures or sub-optimal investment situations, in a proportionate manner, without duplicating or crowding out private financing and have a clear European added value. This will ensure consistency between the actions of the programme and EU State aid rules, avoiding undue distortions of competition in the internal market.


Legal basis

‘Horizon Europe’ is based on the TFEU Titles ‘Industry’ and ‘Research and technological development and space’ (Articles 173, 182, 183 and 188).

Due to its strong support to innovation, the Specific Programme implementing Horizon Europe is now based on the TFEU Titles ‘Industry’ and ‘Research and technological development and space’(Articles 173 and 182), as is the specific programme on defence research (ibid).

The European Institute for Innovation and Technology (EIT) derives from the ‘Industry’ title and will continue to be funded by a financial contribution from Horizon Europe.

The proposal for the Euratom research and training programme is based on Article 7 of the Euratom Treaty.

Subsidiarity (for non-exclusive competence)

The Union has a shared (parallel) competence in this area based on Article 4(3) TFEU. In order to address the challenges Europe is currently facing, the Union needs to invest in R&I in order to reach economies of scale, scope and speed. Union-funded R&I activities produce demonstrable benefits compared to national and regional R&I support: they create critical mass to address global challenges; strengthen the Union's scientific excellence through competitive funding; create cross-border, multidisciplinary networks; reinforce human capital; structure national R&I systems; increase the Union’s competitiveness; and create new market opportunities.


Actions at Union level will enable trans-national collaboration and world-wide competition to ensure the best proposals are selected. This raises levels of excellence and provides visibility for leading R&I, but also supports trans-national mobility and attracts the best talents. A Union-level programme is best placed to take on high-risk and long-term R&I, thereby sharing the risk and generating a breadth of scope and economies of scale that could not otherwise be achieved. Interlinkages with national initiatives will be sought, in particular in the area of innovation.

Similarly, it can leverage additional public and private investments in R&I; contribute to further strengthening the European R&I landscape; and accelerate the commercialisation and diffusion of innovation. Union-level programmes can also support policy-making and policy objectives.

The proposed actions do not go beyond what is required for Union objectives.

Choice of the instrument

As in the past, the legal act is in a form of a regulation since it creates rights for and obligations on beneficiaries, binding in their entirety and directly applicable in all Union Member States and countries associated to the Framework Programme.


Retrospective evaluations/fitness checks of existing legislation

Union Framework Programmes have generated significant and long-lasting impacts as has been shown by successive evaluations since the Union started investing in R&I in 1984.

This proposal is built on the feedback from stakeholders, findings of the interim evaluations of the current programmes, the ex-post evaluations of previous programmes, and foresight activities.

The Communication on the interim evaluation of Horizon 2020 identified several areas for improvement. In addition to an in-depth analysis, the findings of the interim evaluation of Horizon 2020 were based on extensive stakeholder feedback and the strategic recommendations of the independent High Level Group on maximising the impact of EU R&I Programmes (the ‘Lamy’ High Level Group). In a nutshell, these conclusions could be summarised as to:

(a)continue simplification;

(b)support breakthrough innovation;

(c)create more impact by being focused around missions and by citizen involvement;

(d)increase synergies with other Union funding programmes and Union policies;

(e)strengthen international cooperation;

(f)reinforce openness; and

(g)rationalise the funding landscape.

Stakeholder consultations

Through open consultations, the Commission sought feedback on the key elements of the design of the post-2020 Union programme for R&I. The results of these consultations fed into the Impact Assessment for the programme and helped shape the drafting of the present legal proposal.

Consultations were run at different times to ensure systematic account of stakeholder views in the design and formulation of the Horizon Europe programme. To take account of different information needs, consultations ranged from stakeholder conferences and events, to expert groups, online consultations, workshops, meetings and seminars and analyses of position papers.

Fostering R&I in the Union emerged as the most important policy challenge by 97% of respondents to the cluster-based open public consultation on the Union’s next long-term budget in the areas of investment, R&I, SMEs and the single market.

Stakeholders’ key messages can be summarised as follows:

·The three-pillar structure of Horizon 2020 should be kept, though better links between the pillars are needed;

·Successful individual researchers’ schemes (ERC, MSCA) need increased budgets;

·Grants should remain the main funding model, complemented with dedicated financial instruments, when appropriate;

·Support should be provided to activities that help spread or share excellence;

·Smaller-scale collaborative projects are important for widening participation;

·Missions have all the hallmarks of being an impactful way forward;

·Citizens should be made more involved with the Framework Programme;

·The European Innovation Council should be an European accelerator of innovation;

·There is a need to boost international cooperation to tackle global challenges;

·Data and knowledge produced from Union-funded projects should be accessible by all;

·There is a marked need to make the R&I landscape simpler;

·Synergies with other Union programmes are difficult to achieve but are a must;

·The programming process for the calls and missions needs to be enhanced;

·The drive for simplification needs to continue; and

·Being able to measure and communicate impact is key.

External expertise

The Commission has relied extensively on external expertise. This includes in particular the recommendations and findings of the High Level Group chaired by Pascal Lamy, presented in the report ‘LAB – FAB – APP: Investing in the European future we want, Report of the independent High Level Group on maximising the impact of EU Research & Innovation Programmes’, adopted in July 2017.

The European Innovation Council High Level Group of Innovators was set up in January 2017 and mandated to support the European Commission in developing the European Innovation Council. The report ‘ Europe is back: Accelerating breakthrough innovation ’ with 14 recommendations was adopted in January 2018.

Following the recommendations of the Lamy report on missions, an external expert was appointed to advise the Commission on the mission-oriented approach. In February 2018, Professor Mariana Mazzucato presented a report ‘ Mission-Oriented Research & Innovation in the European Union - A problem-solving approach to fuel innovation-led growth1 in which she recommended five key criteria for the selection of missions at Union level.

Furthermore, the High-Level Strategy Group on industrial technologies, chaired by Professor Jürgen Rüttgers, proposed a redefinition of key enabling technologies and made recommendations for ways to maximise their contribution to inclusive growth and democracy, prosperity, more equality and better jobs.

An extensive list of reports from high level groups and studies are given in the annex to the impact assessment.

Impact assessment

This proposal is supported by an impact assessment. The opinion of the Regulatory Scrutiny Board was “positive with reservations”, recommending to better describe (i) the balance between the Programme pillars, (ii) the rationale and value added of the EIC and R&I Missions, and (iii) the streamlined delivery mechanisms 2 .

In a globally competitive, increasingly knowledge-based economy, R&I determine the productivity and competitiveness of an advanced economy like Europe’s: about two-thirds of Europe’s economic growth over the last decades has been driven by innovation. They drive and support the creation of new and better jobs, and the development of knowledge-intensive activities, which account for more than 33% of total employment in Europe. Europe must maintain and even step up its technological, industrial and innovation capacities in a sustainable way, in strategic areas that underpin our society, economy and international commitments.

More must be done to stimulate widespread innovation in Europe, which is at the basis of maintaining Europe's socio-economic model and values. The expected impacts of continuing the Programme were analysed in the impact assessment. Compared to the ongoing Programme, Horizon Europe is expected to generate:

·new and more knowledge and technologies, promoting scientific excellence and significant scientific impact. The Programme will continue to facilitate cross-border collaboration between top scientists and innovators, allowing for trans-national and cross-sector coordination between public and private R&I investment. Horizon 2020 has already attracted the world’s best research institutions and researchers, supported 340 000 researchers, and developed Europe’s skilled human capital. Scientific publications from Horizon 2020 are world class (cited more than twice the world average) and have contributed to major scientific breakthroughs.

·positive effects on growth, trade and investment flows, and on quality jobs and international mobility for researchers in the European Research Area. The Programme is expected to increase GDP on average by 0.08% to 0.19% over 25 years, which means that each euro invested can potentially generate a return of up to 11 euro of GDP over the same period. Union investments in R&I are expected to directly generate an estimated gain of up to 100 000 jobs in R&I activities in the ‘investment phase’ (2021-2027). The economic activity generated by the Programme is expected to foster an indirect gain of up to 200 000 jobs over 2027-2036, of which 40% will be highly skilled.

·significant social and environmental impact. This impact will be created by disseminating, exploiting and taking up scientific results and translating them into new products, services and processes, which in turn will help successfully deliver on political objectives, as well as social and eco-innovation.

These impacts mean that the potential cost of discontinuing the Union R&I Programme (i.e. the cost of non-Europe) is substantial. Discontinuation could result in a decline of competitiveness and growth (up to EUR 720 billion of GDP loss over 25 years 3 ), sharp reductions in the private and national investments that are currently leveraged by Union-level co-investments, and significant losses of social, environmental and economic impacts.

Moreover, the new Programme will further simplify rules, increase legal certainty and reduce administrative burden for beneficiaries and programme administrators.


Simplification is key to reaching the objectives of Horizon Europe. To attract the best researchers and the most innovative entrepreneurs, the administrative burden of participating must be kept to a minimum.

The main simplification features set out, for the most part, in the rules for participation and dissemination are (further details further below):

–Continuity in the simplification measures applied to Horizon 2020 which were appreciated by participants, such as the three-pillar programme structure, the simple funding model and the Participant Portal;

–Simplification of the funding landscape: the approach to partnership, for example, is streamlined, with only three types and a clear set of criteria for their selection and implementation, to ensure that they contribute to the general and specific objectives of Horizon Europe;

–Further simplification of the current real cost reimbursement system, in particular as regards personnel costs;

–Broader acceptance of beneficiaries’ usual accounting practice, in particular for internal invoicing and services which would also cover the equivalent to Horizon 2020 large research infrastructures;

–Increased use of simplified cost options, as provided for by the new Financial Regulation, in particular of lump-sum project funding in appropriate areas and taking account of the lessons from the pilot under Horizon 2020;

–An increased cross-reliance on audits to reduce the audit burden for beneficiaries taking part in several Union funding programmes;

–Extending the Participants’ Guarantee Fund (renamed Mutual Insurance Mechanism) to beneficiaries of any directly managed Union programme, and for actions not covered by the fund under Horizon 2020 (Article 185 Initiatives);

–An acceptance of the seal of excellence, for which proposals may receive support from the European Regional Development Fund, the Cohesion Fund, the European Social Fund+ or the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development;

–Maintaining key elements of the proposal evaluation and selection process, throughout all parts of Horizon Europe. A broader range of expertise will however be sought, in function of the scope of the calls, including expertise from user groups and civil society organisations 4 . The novelty of the missions-based approach will be to go from assessing excellence and impact only at the level of individual proposals, to also assessing how excellent proposals fit together as a portfolio. While the main principles are spelled out in advance in the rules, the work programmes will provide further details on the application of the award criteria depending on the objectives of the calls and instruments (e.g. the aspects to be taken into account in the evaluation procedures).

Beyond the Horizon Europe basic legal acts, steps will be taken to simplify the implementation of the Programme, starting with the model grant agreements and covering all processes, documentation, helpdesks, support services, and IT systems, alleviating further the administrative burden for participants and accelerating the granting process. The Commission will develop such improved implementation tools in parallel with the legislative process, in consultation with stakeholders.

Fundamental rights

This Regulation respects fundamental rights and observes the principles recognised in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.


The budget of all proposals is presented in current prices. The Commission may continue, on the basis of a cost-benefit analysis, to use executive agencies to implement of Horizon Europe.


Implementation plans and monitoring, evaluation and reporting arrangements

The Commission may increase the share of the budget delegated to executive agencies, subject to the outcome of the mandatory cost-benefit analysis. Given the new elements in the remit of the new Framework Programme (e.g. missions and the European Innovation Council) and the increased budget to be delegated, changes to agencies’ mandates will be needed 5 .

This approach will help reduce of administrative costs, improve synergies with other programmes and help focus more on performance.

Activities with a particularly substantial policy content are in principle excluded from delegation to executive agencies, but the feedback of R&I data and results from these agencies to the Commission will be stepped up in line with the dissemination and exploitation strategy, in order to strengthen the evidence-base for policy-making.

Evaluations will be carried out in line with paragraphs 22 and 23 of the Interinstitutional Agreement of 13 April 2016 6 , where the three institutions confirmed that evaluations of existing legislation and policy should provide the basis for impact assessments of options for further action. The evaluations will assess the programme's effects on the ground based on the programme indicators/targets and a detailed analysis of the degree to which the programme can be deemed relevant, effective, efficient, provides enough Union added value and is coherent with other Union policies. They will include lessons learnt to identify any deficiencies/problems or any potential to further improve the actions or their results and to help maximise their exploitation/impact.

In order to be able to better track and communicate the Programme’s impact, the Horizon Europe monitoring and evaluation system will have three main building blocks:

·Annual monitoring of the programme performance: tracking of performance indicators in the short, medium and longer-term according to key impact pathways towards Programme objectives, based on baselines and targets where possible;

·Continuous collection of programme management and implementation data;

·Two fully-fledged (meta)-evaluations of the programme at mid-term and ex-post (upon completion). These evaluations will build on the coordinated evaluations of each programme part, type of actions and delivery mechanism according to common evaluation criteria and standard methodologies and will inform adaptations to be made to the programme.

Impact pathways, and related key impact pathway indicators, will structure the annual monitoring of the programme performance towards its objectives. These pathways reflect three complementary impact categories, reflecting the non-linear nature of R&I investment:

1. Scientific impact: related to supporting the creation and diffusion of high-quality new knowledge, skills, technologies and solutions to global challenges;

2. Societal impact: related to strengthening the impact of research and innovation in developing, supporting and implementing Union policies, and support the uptake of innovative solutions in industry and society to address global challenges;

3. Economic impact: related to fostering all forms of innovation, including breakthrough innovation, and strengthening market deployment of innovative solutions.

For each of these impact categories, proxy indicators will be used to track on progress distinguishing between the short, medium and longer term.

Management and implementation data 7 for all parts of the Programme and all delivery mechanisms will continue to be collected in close to real-time. This data will be collected in a centrally managed and harmonised way. It will also continue to be publicly available on a dedicated on-line portal in close to real-time allowing extraction per programme parts, types of actions and types of organisations (including specific data for SMEs). This will include inter alia proposals, applications, participations and projects (number, quality, Union contribution etc.); success rates; profiles of evaluators, applicants and participants (partly based on unique identifiers, and including country, gender, turnover, role in project etc.); implementation (including time-to-grant, error rate, satisfaction rate and the rate of risk taking etc.); communication, dissemination and exploitation activities; and contribution to Union climate and environmental objectives. In order to better track investments towards a knowledge-based society, information on the Union funding allocated to the exploitation and deployment of R&I results, notably from the Framework Programmes, may be collected over the course of the programmes.

Detailed explanation of the specific provisions of the proposal

Horizon Europe is a new framework programme designed for maximum impact in the context of the evolving nature of research and innovation, with an architecture designed for enhanced coherence and performance. It is proposed to use a three-pillar structure, with each pillar interconnected with the others and complemented by underpinning activities, to strengthen the European Research Area.


The three-pillar structure

The first pillar on Open Science will ensure strong continuity with Horizon 2020 in supporting excellent science within a bottom-up approach in order to reinforce the Union’s scientific leadership, high-quality knowledge and skills development, through the European Research Council, Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions and research infrastructures. The principles and practices of open science will be mainstreamed across the entire Programme.

The second pillar on Global Challenges and Industrial Competitiveness will take forward the societal challenges and industrial technologies in a more ‘top down’ directed approach addressing Union and global policy and competitiveness challenges and opportunities These are integrated into five clusters (‘health’; ‘inclusive and secure society’; ‘digital and industry’; ‘climate, energy and mobility’; and ‘food and natural resources’), aligned with Union and global policy priorities (the Sustainable Development Goals) and having cooperation and competitiveness as key drivers. The integration in clusters, each having a number of intervention areas, is designed to incentivise cross-disciplinary, cross-sectoral, cross-policy and international collaboration, thereby achieving higher impact and better seizing the innovation potential that is often greatest at the intersection of disciplines and sectors.

Alongside the regular calls for proposals, a limited set of highly visible missions will be introduced. These will be designed in the context of a strategic planning process. Missions, with ambitious but time-bound and achievable goals, should speak to the public and engage it where relevant. They will be co-designed with Member States, the European Parliament, stakeholders and citizens.

The second pillar embodies industry’s essential role in achieving all the Programme’s objectives. To ensure industrial competitiveness and the capacity to address the global challenges ahead, the Union needs to reinforce and maintain its technological and industrial capacities in key areas that underpin the transformation of our economy and society. Priority will be given to investments in the key enabling technologies of the future.

The second pillar will also provide scientific evidence and technical support to Union policies, including through the activities of the Joint Research Centre. This pillar will help realise Union policy objectives within the spirit of the Innovation Principle as put forward in the European Commission's Communication of 15 May 2018 on Research and Innovation: a renewed European agenda. Particular attention should be given to increasing the share of participation in research and funding of entities from low-to-mid income third countries.

While innovation will be supported throughout the whole programme, the third pillar on Open Innovation will essentially focus on scaling up breakthrough and market-creating innovation by establishing a European Innovation Council, support the enhancement of European ecosystems of innovation and continued support to the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT). The European Innovation Council will offer a one-stop-shop to high-potential innovators. Activities will be defined mainly bottom-up. This should significantly simplify and streamline current support, and fill any gap between the grant funding in other parts of Horizon Europe and the financial instruments of InvestEU. Support will also be provided for collaboration with and between national and regional innovation agencies but also any other public or private and general or sectoral actor of the European innovation landscape.

The European Institute of Innovation and Technology will complement the European Innovation Council by promoting sustainable innovation ecosystems and developing entrepreneurial and innovation skills in priority areas through its Knowledge and Innovation Communities. The European Institute of Innovation and Technology will contribute to the entrepreneurial transformation of EU universities, and its activities will maximise synergies and complementarities with actions under the Global Challenges and Industrial Competitiveness Pillar.

Europe’s economic and social prosperity, the quality of life and jobs, and of the environment, depend on its ability to create knowledge and to innovate. The bottom-up approaches in the first and third pillars aim primarily at reinforcing excellence, creating knowledge and innovation and encouraging greater investment especially in new, fast-growing areas of cutting-edge science and breakthrough innovation with the potential to scale up. These are essential to address the knowledge and innovation gap and strengthen the Union’s scientific and technological bases, thereby supporting Union strategic objectives and policy priorities and contributing to long-term growth and competiveness.

The three pillars will be underpinned by activities to strengthening the European Research Area, specifically: sharing excellence to fully exploit the potential in less R&I performing countries so that they attain high Union standards of excellence (e.g., via teaming, twinning, ERA chairs); and reforming and enhancing the European R&I system, covering the next generation Policy Support Facility.

This part will also include activities on: foresight activities; monitoring and evaluating the Framework Programme and disseminating and exploiting results; modernising European universities; supporting enhanced international cooperation; and science, society and citizens.

The three-pillar structure will reinforce the internal coherence of the different programme parts towards achieving programme level objectives. The clearly defined and complementary rationales for intervention will enhance their interconnectivity, with open science and open innovation being common threads. It will ensure a systemic, impact-based approach that cuts across disciplines and silos for better impact. For example, missions will have a pull effect on activities in the open science and open innovation pillars, while innovations with rapid scale-up potential arising from collaborative research, the European Research Council's proof of concept or the EIT’s Knowledge and Innovation Communities will be rapidly signposted to the European Innovation Council. Strategic planning will reinforce the programme's internal coherence even more.


Cross-cutting elements

Horizon Europe will significantly strengthen international cooperation which is crucial to ensure access to talent, knowledge, know-how, facilities and markets worldwide, to effectively tackle global challenges and to implement global commitments. The Framework Programme will intensify cooperation and extend association agreements to include countries with excellent science, technology and innovation capacities. The Programme will continue to fund entities from low-to-mid income countries, and to fund entities from industrialised and emerging economies only if they possess essential competence or facilities.

The principle of open science will become the modus operandi of the new Programme. It will go beyond the open access policy of Horizon 2020 and require open access to publications and data (with robust opt-outs for the latter), and to research data management plans. The Programme will foster the widespread use of FAIR (findable, accessible, interoperable, and re-usable) data; and activities that enhance researchers’ skills in open science and support reward systems that promote open science. Research integrity and citizen science will play a central role, as will the development of a new generation of research assessment indicators.

Horizon Europe will take a new and more impact-focussed approach to partnerships. The current plethora of European Partnerships will be rationalised, so that they can continue in simplified forms that are open to all (such as academia, industry, Member States, and philanthropic foundations), while ensuring that they can effectively contribute to the general and specific objectives of Horizon Europe. They will be designed on the basis of Union added value, transparency, openness, impact, leverage effect, the long-term financial commitment of all the involved parties, flexibility, coherence and complementarity with Union, national and regional initiatives. This approach aims at a consolidated and rationalised number of partnerships that avoid overlaps and duplication and that are better aligned with Union policy priorities.

There will be three levels of partnerships:

(a)co-programmed, based on memoranda of understanding or contractual arrangements with partners;

(b)co-funded, based on a single, flexible programme co-fund action;

(c)institutionalised partnerships (based on Articles 185 or 187 TFEU, and the EIT Regulation for the Knowledge and Innovation Communities).

The areas for partnerships, including the possible continuation of existing ones, will be identified during the strategic planning process (the proposed legal basis sets out only the instruments and criteria that will guide their use). Proposals for future EIT Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs) will be indicated in the EIT Strategic Innovation Agenda (SIA), and will take into account the outcomes of the strategic planning process. Themes will be identified and selected in a way that maximises complementarities and synergies with actions under the Global Challenges and Industrial Competitiveness Pillar.

The Commission proposal for the 2021-2027 Multiannual Financial Framework set a more ambitious goal for climate mainstreaming across all EU programmes, with an overall target of 25% of EU expenditure contributing to climate objectives. The contribution of this programme to the achievement of this overall target will be tracked through an EU climate marker system at an appropriate level of disaggregation, including the use of more precise methodologies where these are available. The Commission will continue to present the information annually in terms of commitment appropriations in the context of the annual draft budget.

To support the full utilisation of the potential of the programme to contribute to climate objectives, the Commission will seek to identify relevant actions throughout the programme preparation, implementation, review and evaluation processes.



Synergies between different Union programmes will be highly encouraged and enhanced through the strategic planning process, which will act as a reference framework for R&I support across the Union's budget. Effective and operational synergies will thus be ensured with other Union programmes, notably to develop a more effective science-policy interface and address policy needs, as well as promote faster dissemination and uptake of research and innovation results and to enable the pursuit of common objectives and common areas for activities (such as partnership areas or mission areas).

These programmes would include, among others, the common agricultural policy (CAP); the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF); the European Social Fund (ESF+); the European Space Programme; the Single Market Programme; the Programme for Environment & Climate Action (LIFE); the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF); the Digital Europe Programme (DEP); the Erasmus Programme; the InvestEU Fund; and the external action instruments (Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI) and Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA III)). Particular attention will be paid to links with the European Semester and the Reform Delivery Tool, including via the Policy Support Facility.

In full complementarity with Horizon Europe, these programmes may provide support for research and innovation activities, including demonstration of solutions tailored to specific national/regional contexts/needs, as well as bilateral and interregional initiatives. In particular, the European Regional Development Fund will support the building of research and innovation eco-systems in the Member States in terms of infrastructures, human resources, modernisation of the public and private sectors, and (inter)regional cooperation networks, such as clusters structures.

Programmes such as the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), the Digital Europe Programme (DEP), the European Regional Development Fund, European Social Fund, the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development, or LIFE will make use of public procurement as a key instrument to deploy physical infrastructures and innovative technologies and solutions that can originate from Framework Programme activities and beyond.


The rules for participation and dissemination

The following main new features have been introduced in the rules for participation and dissemination:

·The principle of a single set of rules will continue, but with further improvements. In line with the corporate approach towards a single-rule book and the preparation of the MFF, the new Union Financial Regulation 8 will be used as a common reference under which the rules applicable to all Union funding programmes will be aligned.

·Horizon 2020 funding rates will be maintained. The funding rate will be a maximum that can be reduced when justified for implementing specific actions. This will ensure the programme remains attractive.

·The cost reimbursement scheme will be further simplified, in particular in what concerns the actual costs scheme for personnel costs: the distinction between basic and additional remuneration will be removed and the Horizon 2020 cap on the additional remuneration abolished.

·Broader acceptance of the usual cost accounting practice: the unit cost for internally invoiced goods and services will make it possible to cover actual indirect costs calculated in accordance with the usual cost accounting practices.

·A wider cross-reliance on audits and assessments – including with other Union programmes – is envisaged. This should reduce the administrative burden on beneficiaries of Union funds by further aligning the rules. The rules explicitly provide for cross-reliance by considering also other elements of assurance resulting in a need for fewer financial audits on beneficiaries that have positive results on their systems audits. Moreover, cross-reliance can be part of the conditions for lifting the obligation for the beneficiary to submit a certificate on the financial statement.

·The Participant Guarantee Fund (renamed Mutual Insurance Mechanism) will be extended to all forms of institutionalised partnerships, including Article 185 initiatives not covered under Horizon 2020, and to beneficiaries from other directly managed Union programmes.

·Dissemination and exploitation: most provisions of the Horizon 2020 rules for participation and dissemination are maintained, with further improvements where appropriate. This includes reinforcing the focus on exploitation, in particular within the Union and the role of the plan for the dissemination and exploitation during and after the end of the project. Moreover, the Commission will provide dedicated support to dissemination, exploitation and knowledge diffusion and put more emphasis on promoting the exploitation of R&I results.

·Communication by the beneficiaries of Union funds: in line with the recommendations of the Lamy report, the Rules underline the role of beneficiaries in providing coherent, effective and proportionate targeted information to multiple audiences, including the media and the public. Building on experience in Horizon 2020, guidance to beneficiaries will show how they can become principal communicators of all aspects of their project activities.

·Fostering open science will ensure better exploitation of R&I results within the Union. This will assist market uptake, boost impact, maximise synergies with other Union initiatives and increase the innovation potential of results generated by Union funding.

The following actions are in particular envisaged:

·Supporting R&I stakeholders in fully endorsing the principle of the open access and working with them to make the European Open Science Cloud a reality;

·Strengthening the European data space 9 that allows for unrestricted and constant knowledge and data circulation and creating the necessary incentives for programme beneficiaries and innovators to share their results and data for reuse.

·Putting in place incentives for the exploitation of Programme results by helping beneficiaries to find the most appropriate instruments and channels for market uptake of their innovation;

·Putting in place a strategy for increasing the availability of R&I results and accelerating their uptake, including for policy, thereby boosting the overall impact of the programme and the European innovation potential;

·Providing holistic support throughout the dissemination and exploitation lifecycle to ensure a constant stream of innovation coming from the programme.

For Horizon Europe, the award criteria will be excellence; impact; and quality and efficiency of the implementation. These are the same criteria as for previous Framework Programmes.

The proposed Regulation specifies excellence as the sole criterion for the European Research Council (ERC), in line with the objective of advancing the frontiers of knowledge. This provision does not represent a deviation from the agreed need to boost impact in the Programme. In fact, impact can refer to scientific, technological, socio-economic or other types of impact. In the case of the ERC, the emphasis is on scientific impact, which is the foundation for many other types of impact, including socio-economic impact. The ERC will continue to set a clear and inspirational ambition for European science by creating pan-European competition for ideas and talent.


The European Institute for Innovation and Technology

The European Institute for Innovation and Technology, primarily through its Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs) will aim at strengthening innovation ecosystems that tackle global challenges, by fostering the integration of business, research, higher education and entrepreneurship. While the EIT's focus on innovation ecosystems make it naturally fit within the Open Innovation pillar of Horizon Europe, the cross-pillar nature of the EIT can bring an additional targeted approach towards the global challenges highlighted in the programme. Proposals for future EIT KICs in compliance with the EIT Regulation will be indicated in the EIT Strategic Innovation Agenda (SIA) and will take into account the outcome of the strategic planning process and the priorities of the Global Challenges and Industrial Competitiveness pillar.


The Joint Research Centre (JRC)

While the Joint Research Centre will contribute broadly to other parts of Horizon Europe, the JRC will play a strong supporting role in the Global Challenges and Industrial Competitiveness pillar. In this context, it will continue to provide scientific advice and support to Union policy throughout the policy cycle.