Horizon Europe, a European Union (EU) research and innovation programme, will run from 2021 to 2027, building on the previous agreement, Horizon 2020.
The long-term budget for the updated project is projected to be €100bn ($112.5bn) – this has been set aside to encourage research across various industries, tasked with using the funding to address ‘societal challenges’ and build ‘industrial competitiveness’.
The previous agreement saw €74bn provided over a seven-year period, though controversy was raised when some funding was withdrawn from the budget for science R&D.
In this instance, on the provisional agreement of the new budget, industry reacted positively to the news regarding the funding, which now needs to be officially ratified by the European Parliament and Council.
A statement, co-signed by six European industry membership organisations*, read: “We welcome the overall structure and ambition of Horizon Europe. Europe has been at the forefront of life science research and a health mission is a palpable signal that it intends to keep on striving for excellence and impact.”
“The challenges identified in the Horizon Europe ‘health’ cluster, with activities across the whole research and innovation spectrum, are centred on relevance and impact for patients and society,” the bodies confirmed.
In the provisional budget, the health cluster is afforded €7.7bn in funding, between the years 2021 and 2024, with the EU’s report calling for research to address three concerns:
- Newly emerging or persisting health challenges
- Sustainability of social and health care systems
- Competitiveness of EU’s health and care industry
In addition, the report recommended stronger links be formed between interdisciplinary sciences that have a bearing on human health, as well as for academia, industry, healthcare providers and patients to have greater opportunity to work cooperatively.
The six industry partners noted that they are preparing to create an ‘institutional cross-sectorial partnership for health research and innovation’. The partners said this aligns with Horizon’s aims and would be facilitated by the project, “deliver[ing] tools, data and platforms, technologies and processes for innovative products and services for the benefit of citizens and patients.”
On an economic level, the EU’s report on the budget suggested that each euro invested in the project could potentially generate a return of up to €11 over the next 25 years. It further added that an estimated two-thirds of Europe’s economic growth over the last decade has been driven by innovation, such as that supported by the Horizon project.
*The signatories of the statement included the European Coordination Committee of the Radiological, Electromedical and Healthcare IT industry, European Biopharmaceutical Enterprises, European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations, European Associations for Bioindustries, MedTech Europe, and Vaccines Europe.