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Horizon Europe: first draft out, mobilisation needed

First draft of the Horizon Europe framework

The European Commission released its proposal for the Horizon Europe (formerly known as FP9) on 7 June. The next European Union Framework Programme for Research and Innovation, successor to Horizon 2020, is expected to launch on 1 January 2021 covering the period 2021-2027. Ecsite is now calling for a mobilisation of all science engagement professionals and organisations to influence the negotiations' next stages. 

On the basis of this proposal, an agreement between the Council and the European Parliament will have to be found. The European Parliament has appointed two rapporteurs: German MEP Christian Elher and Romanian MEP Dan Nica, who will steer the negotiations. The current timeframe is quite tight as the European Commission and Parliament are still aiming at having Horizon Europe voted before the next European elections in May 2019, which is a short time for such process.

The text from the European Commission is currently structured around 3 pillars:

  • Open science, focusing on fundamental research through funding to the ERC (European Research Centre) and on researchers' mobility and training with the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions. Grants are also foreseen for Research Infrastructures.   
  • Global Challenges and Industrial Competitiveness, grouping research into five thematic clusters: health; inclusive and secure society; digital and industry; climate, energy and mobility and food and natural resources. This pillar includes a small number of missions with specific goals designed to be more impact-oriented.
  • Open Innovation, aiming at the enhancement of Europe’s innovation output.

A fourth minor part entitled “Strengthening the European Research Area” is divided into two main components: “sharing excellence” and “reforming and enhancing the European R&I system”.

We have noticed that no specific strand of funding is dedicated to science engagement as it used to be in Horizon 2020, and that a specific emphasis is put on communicating research results to citizens.


What next?

As part of our advocacy campaign for science engagement in Horizon Europe, Ecsite has already started making the voice of science engagement heard by publishing a Position Paper, co-organising an event at the European Parliament with Polish MEP Michal Boni and organising a meeting with science engagement national networks in Geneva on the side of the Ecsite Conference.

In the next few weeks, Ecsite will be drafting amendments to this Horizon Europe proposal in order to bring science engagement ideas forward, as described in our Position Paper.

We will be sharing these amendments and calling all science engagement organisations to take hold of them and bring them their own amendments to their Members of the European Parliament but also to relevant stakeholders from their national government. Advocacy at national level in all EU member states will be crucial to advance our ideas as the Council, involved in the negotiations, is composed of government ministers from each EU country.

As numerous voices are always more powerful than one, we are urging all science engagement organisations, professionals and national networks to join this advocacy campaign as the main negotiation phase will be lasting until September.   

We will be publishing regular updates about the process.




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