Last 17 April 2019, before the European Parliament dissolved prior to the upcoming elections, the European Union negotiators signed off the general outlines of its next giant research programme, known as Horizon Europe, which will run from 2021 to 2027. It will support academic and commercial research across all EU Member States and other countries that pay to join in (more info on these here). This programme, which takes up about 8% of the EU’s budget for the period 2014-2020, sets the agenda for science in the EU and will give rise to major initiatives. Its defining characteristic is that it includes cross-border cooperation as a pre-requisite. It is the only research system in the world operating this way.

However, the complex political landscape resulted from the elections is likely to change the shape of the Horizon Europe research programme in one way or another. Not only the overall budget might decrease, but also its allocation to different research topics may change to reflect the change of political priorities of the newly elected European Parliament.

Nevertheless, a big chunk of the budget allocated to this programme is still expected to fund health-related research (the exact quantity has not been yet defined). This presents a huge opportunity for the nursing research community. Its member should team-up in strong cross-border consortiums and apply to these funds. Nurses are at the frontline of care, and their daily decisions and education should be evidence-based. Nursing research plays a vital role in shaping our current healthcare ecosystems, not only for nurses but also for other healthcare providers, policy-makers and other stakeholders.

A successful example of an EU-funded nursing research project is ENS4Care – a two-year project that took place from 2013 to 2015. This project created a series of evidence-based guidelines for nurses and social care workers for the deployment of eHealth services.