The Horizon Europe strategic plan defines the main orientations for the research and innovation investments over the period 2021-2024 for the European Union.
Horizon Europe is the ninth European Research and Innovation Framework program, covering the years 2021 up to 2027 and succeeding the Horizon 2020 program. Horizon Europe is the EU's framework program for research and innovation. It defines strategic areas in which the European Union will support research and innovation to help restore industrial leadership and open strategic autonomy. The financial envelope for the implementation of the program for the period from 1 January 2021 to 31 December 2027 is set at €86 billion, compared to €77 billion for the Horizon 2020 program which ended on 31 December 2020, as set in EU Regulation 2021/695 of 28 April 2021 establishing Horizon Europe – the Framework Programme for Research and Innovation.
The strategic plan defines the key directions for investments over the first four years of the program. It aims to ensure an effective interface between the research and innovation projects funded and EU policy priorities. By stimulating research and innovation investments where they are needed, Horizon Europe seeks to facilitate the dual green and digital transformations. This programme is divided into six different clusters, including cluster 4: “Digital, Industry and Space”, and cluster 5: “Climate, Energy and Mobility”.
Cluster 4 aims to support the development of future digital key technologies. It aims to increase adaptability and resilience of EU industries in all sectors. Investments under this cluster aim to help the EU seize opportunities in key parts of the digital supply chain, consolidate EU assets (e.g., embedded systems, telecommunications, industrial technologies), and develop missing segments in strategic value chains, including the secure, sustainable, and responsible sourcing of raw materials and critical raw materials.
Cluster 5 aims to support the green transition in the energy and mobility sector. Under this cluster, targeted research and innovation support aims at enabling more competitive and cleaner energy and mobility solutions, while targeting a zero pollution ambition for these sectors. It includes supporting solutions for securing provision of cleaner energy at lower cost, coping with energy storage and intermittence issues, smarter connection of industrial installations to the energy system, as well as better mobility solutions for goods and people.
In relation to batteries, Research & Innovation actions will be encouraged to develop more efficient, sustainable and circular battery technologies, to sustain a competitive and sustainable EU battery value chain. Collaboration and synergies between these cross-sectoral solutions, as well as their application in down-stream sectoral research and innovation in energy, transport and industry are encouraged, to ensure better resource efficiency, recyclability and circularity.