An important agreement has been achieved between the European Parliament and the Council on the Horizon Europe: 95.5 billion euro has been allocated for funds in research and innovation. With 30% more than the current budget, it will become the world’s biggest science and innovation program, in which nursing researchers have a key role to play. Below a small overview on the next steps of the 3 Pillars of Horizon Europe:
Pillar 1 – Excellent Science
The European Research Council – As announced by the ERC, the new program will be launched on 2 February and will include the working draft for the 2021 calls. The first effective calls for funding are scheduled for 20 of May. As for synergy grants for teams of scientists addressing complex issues, they will likely not be available until 2022.
Pillar 2 – Global Challenges & Industrial Competitiveness
Health cluster – aiming at promoting the health and well-being of the Europeans – 16 research calls are foreseen for the period 2021-2022, linked to six topics covering: disease prevention, connection between environment and health, digital instruments for health, addressing various diseases, reinforcement of health systems and supporting European health industries. This cluster will work closely with the EU4Health programme.
To ensure synergies and complementary between the 2 programmes, Horizon Europe will focus on creating new knowledge, and EU4Health on making the best possible use of this new knowledge for the benefit of citizens and health systems – in this Cancer will be the key thematic, with the Europe’s Beating Cancer Action plan aiming to support the EU Member States in improving cancer prevention, control and care.
Linked to this cluster, and as part of the European Green Deal, the EU will take a One Health approach in tackling the impact of environmental degradation, pollution, biodiversity loss and climate change on citizen’s health and well-being, and on health care systems and their capability to adapt rapidly to changing healthcare needs.
Finally, digitalisation will have a key role in these developments, with digital tools and data-enabled research and innovation being crucial to make ‘Europe fit for the digital age’.
Pillar 3 – Innovative Europe
The European Innovation Council – The EIC Pathfinder (that offers grants to promote collaborative, inter-disciplinary research and innovation on science-inspired and radically new future technologies) will provide €3 million for the development of new technologies, less than that allocated in 2020. Meanwhile, the EIC Accelerator program (previously know as SME Instrument) in support of SMEs will continue to provide blends. The new Transition programme was created to support single candidates or small consortia based on the results of the eligible Pathfinder or ERC Proof of Concept projects. It is not yet clear how many funds will be available for each project.
Widening participation – The goal of this programme is to increase research results in regions that are lagging.Three lines of actions will be implemented by the European Commission: improve the networking between researchers in expanding countries and those of the regions in the lagging behind in the main R&I countries; prevent brain drain and support brain circulation; reinforce the European Research Area.
This large budget for research and innovation can benefit researchers and scientists in many fields. Regarding nurses’ researchers, this is an opportunity to take advantage of all these funds available to strengthen nursing research, and make change happen for the EU Health systems.