Press Release: Policymakers debate on the role of European Partnerships and Missions in Horizon Europe

On 12 June, Knowledge4Innovation hosted the third webinar of the series, discussing the role of European partnerships and missions under Horizon Europe. Participants were able to partake in a debate on the fundamentals of the program and the partnerships and missions redefined under the challenges coming from the COVID-19 pandemic. The strategic plan, the five areas defining the missions or the relaunching of research and innovation policies, were among the key topics of the session. 

We had the pleasure of having Mr. Julien Guerrier, Director of the Policy and Programming Center at DG Research and Innovation. As co-hosting MEP, we had Ms. Maria da Graça Carvalho and Ms. Lina Gálvez Muñoz. Moreover, Mr. Joerg Niehoff, Head of Sector Partnerships, and Mr. Robert Schröder, Policy Officer at DG Research and Innovation, were answering some of the questions posed during the webinar.

Mr. Guerrier began the seminar by explaining the definition and orientation of Horizon for the upcoming years. He stressed that the main objective should be rebuilding and reconstructing a new Europe that is not the status quo, but a greener continent, more digital and more resilient. To achieve this, the role of research and innovation is key. Accordingly, the budget proposed is 105.8 billion euros, having an increase in the expected budget, which will benefit the digital and space industry, the climate, and the green and mobility cluster. 

Additionally, Mr. Guerrier, highlighted the importance of Horizon Europe and emphasized that it only represents 10% of the European public research and innovation investment, therefore the coordination and development of new R&I policies in member states is crucial.. 

Finally, thanks to the good attendance of the session, it was possible to bring to the floor many questions essential to the development of the program. Mr. Guerrier, Mr. Niehoff, and Mr. Schröder answered them accordingly, engaging the viewers into an animated and insightful debate. 

Mr. Niehoff explained how partnerships are not perfect as they are a work in progress, and he explained how the narrative has changed as a consequence of the COVID-19 crisis. He is satisfied with the design of the partnerships claiming that they are going to achieve the mentioned objectives, as well as he has expressed his optimism in regards to the launch of the 49 of them, including the 9 EIT KICs, referring to them as a very good starting point. 

Mr. Schröder pointed out that we are only in the early stages of the program and that they are still working on the call for missions on the topics of the Horizon Europe program. They are still designing the evaluation of the missions and defining the projects. 

As a whole, the session offered a glimpse of what needs to be done prior to the launch of the partnerships, their main objectives as well as funding. The speakers agree on the urgent collaboration between member states, stakeholders, and the European institutions for the overall success of the program.