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Horizon Europe (2021 – 2027)

Ninth European Union’s Framework Programme for Research and Innovation

Horizon Europe has replaced the preceding programme Horizon 2020.

With the overall budget €95.5 billionHorizon Europe is the main tool of the European Union to support research and innovation in 2021 – 2027. It’s a very competitive programme, successful participation brings not just funding but is also highly prestigious.

Horizon Europe awards, among others, the European Research Council (ERC) grants, Marie Skłodowska-Curie grants (including Postdoctoral Fellowships) or grants for international projects on pre-defined research topics.

All calls for proposals are published by the Funding & Tender Opportunities Portal, which serves also for proposal submission and monitoring of supported projects.   

Contact points for Horizon Europe at the Faculty of Science:
Klára Sobotíková and Tomáš Palatý.

Please, follow the funding opportunities news (in Czech or in English)
for up-to-date internal guidelines & deadlines.

StructureConsortial projects –  MissionsPartnershipsBecome an evaluatorUseful links

Practical & technical information

Info event on Horizon Europe at the Faculty of Science (10 February 2021) – presentations & video 
Info event on ERC at the Faculty of Science (25 May 2021) – presentations & video

Structure of Horizon Europe

The structure of the programme is based on three pillars:

Image describing the preliminary structure of Horizon Europe. 3 pillars - Excellent science, global challenges and industrial competitiveness and innovative europe. Structure of Horizon Europe

Pillar 1: Excellent Science

The goal of this pillar is reinforcing and extending the excellence of European Union’s science base.
It consists of:

Pillar 2: Global Challenges & European Industrial Competitiveness

This pillar supports research projects carried out (mostly) by international and inter-disciplinary consortia. The projects will have to address concrete pre-determined topics (see the “top-down” projects by international consortia below). Calls for proposals are structured into following clusters:

The Non-nuclear direct actions of the Joint Research Centre are also supported within this pillar.

Pillar 3: Innovative Europe

The goal of this pillar is stimulating market-creating breakthroughs and ecosystems conducive to innovation. It consists of:

Widening Participation and Strengthening the European Research Area

Widening Participation and Spreading Excellence

Some countries (so called “widening countries” including Czechia) still participate in European framework programmes much less than others. The goal of this part is to increase participation of these widening countries. This includes:

Reforming and enhancing the European research and innovation system

This part will support projects and activities focused on e.g. Open science, Citizen science, Responsible Research & Innovation, Gender equality and similar.


Approximate distribution of Horizon Europe budget (EUR 95.5 billion for whole duration)

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“Top-down” projects by international consortia

After ERC projects and Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions, these are probably the most relevant Horizon projects, as far as the Faculty of Science is concerned – and are also the most typical within the programme.

Calls for these projects consist of very specific topics – each topic defines a research or innovation challenge that should be addressed by the project, including scope and expected outcomes (the so-called “top-down” principle). Type of project, deadline and evaluation procedure (single- or two-stage) is also specified for each topic.

The projects are carried out by international consortia that bring together not just research organisations, but also private companies, public authorities, non-governmental organisations and others – all actors that are needed to tackle the (often complex) topic. Participation of potential users of project results (companies, hospitals, municipalities, farmers etc. – depending on the topic) is especially important. Role of coordinator of such consortium requires substantial experience with this kind of projects. On the other hand, role of a partner isn’t – from the administrative point of view – too difficult.

The topics with their descriptions can be found either in Work Programme for the respective part of Horizon Europe (see Reference Documents for Horizon Europe) – that gives also important context; or individually among the open/forthcoming funding opportunities.

Types of projects
most relevant for the Faculty of Science:

  • Research and Innovation actions (RIA): Interdisciplinary projects that usually include applied research. Funding rate is 100%.
  • Innovation actions (IA): Interdisciplinary projects focused on bringing a pre-existing concept or innovation closer to practical application on market or in society. Funding rate is 100% for non-profit entities (like Charles University), 70% for other participants.
  • Coordination and support actions (CSA): Support activities e.g. establishing networks or platforms or mapping existing knowledge on a certain topic. Don’t fund research as such (however, participation might result in successful applications for research projects in the future). Funding rate is 100%.

Theoretical minimal requirement in RIA and IA is participation of at least 3 legal entities from 3 different countries (EU member states or countries associated to Horizon Europe). However, in practice, the successful consortia usually consist of 7 – 20 or even more partners (depending on the scope of the topic). CSA can be theoretically carried out by a single legal entity, in practice, these projects are usually also carried out by large consortia (which is made obvious by the scope of the topic).

Did you find a “top-down” topic that suits your research expertise, but don’t know, how to find a project coordinator or partners? Contact the Project Management Department. We’ll recommend to you some networking opportunities in collaboration with our National Contact Points for Horizon Europe.

Is there a “top-down” topic that suits your research expertise, but you won’t be involved in any proposal? Try to become one of the experts who will evaluate proposals submitted for this topic – see Become an evaluator below. It would be invaluable experience for writing a successful proposal yourself in the future.

Would you like to know, how a Horizon Europe project on a “top-down” topic looks like? Contact the Project Management Department. We can find some running projects that match your research interests – getting in touch with people in such projects might get you invited to participate in a project proposal in the future.

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Research and Innovation Missions

See Missions in Horizon Europe on European Commission website.

Horizon Europe includes so-called “R&I Missions” – ambitious, measurable research and innovation goals highly relevant for European citizens. The missions will be addressed within calls of the Pillar 2. Member states and other stakeholders should be highly involved in setting up and monitoring these missions. Concrete mechanism for implementation of the R&I Missions is to be piloted in the first years of Horizon Europe.

R&I Missions are set up in following areas:

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See European Partnerships in Horizon Europe on European Commission website.

Horizon Europe plans to simplify the landscape of various initiatives (Joint Programming Initiatives, Joint Technological Initiatives, Flagships, Public to Public Partnerships, ERA-Nets, etc.) that are related to the framework programmes.

The European Partnerships bring together European Commission on one side and on the other side private (e.g. international associations of businesses in certain sectors) and/or public (e.g. member state ministries, national funders) stakeholders interested in a certain topic/field to avoid the duplication of investments and coordinate strategic planning – the partnerships sometimes launch their own calls for research proposals and sometimes influence topics to be funded by Horizon Europe.

There will be 3 types of European Partnerships:

  • Co-programmed European Partnerships
    Partners provide input on the drafting the topics to be funded by the respective part (cluster) of Horizon Europe.
  • Co-funded European Partnerships
    • Partners are national funding bodies (e.g. grant agencies, ministries) that decide to jointly support international research projects in a certain area (e.g. nanomaterials or biodiversity).
    • The partnership launches calls for international research project proposals, only researchers from countries involved in the Co-funded Partnership can participate, the proposals are evaluated on international level.
    • Consequently, if a research project is selected for funding, each partner is funded by their national funding body involved in the Co-funded Partnership – e.g. in Czechia, the funding bodies participating in Co-funded Partnership are usually the Technology Agency of the Czech Republic (TA ČR) or the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports (MŠMT).
    • When there is a call within Horizon Europe for a “Cofund” project, the consortium of national funding bodies applies, not researchers.
    • Topics supported by a Co-funded Partnership are unlikely to appear in “regular” Horizon Europe calls.
  • Institutionalised European Partnerships
    Legislatively established partnerships between EU and member states and/or industry. These partnerships launch their own calls for proposals which are – just like “regular” Horizon Europe calls – published on the Funding & Tender Opportunities Portal and are open to proposals submitted (usually) by international consortia (following the same or very similar rules to “regular” Horizon Europe international projects).

The 49 planned European Partnerships are divided into groups based on the topic they focus on:

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Become an evaluator

  • Are you interested in participation in a Horizon Europe project? Register in the European Commission’s expert database so that you can be selected to evaluate project proposals.
  • Why?
    ► Learn first-hand how evaluation works.
    ► See what makes a good (or bad) Horizon Europe project proposal.
    It’s invaluable experience for writing a successful proposal yourself in the future.
  • It takes ca. 2 hours to create the profile – do it properly.
    ► Mention experience outside academia.
    ► To describe your expertise, use keywords or phrases
         the Horizon Europe uses in its Work Programme or topic descriptions.
  • Update the profile regularly.
    ► Experts with recently updated profiles should have better chance
         of being selected to evaluate proposals.
    Suggestion: Is there a topic matching your expertise that is about to close (but you aren’t involved in any proposal)? Update your profile and use phrases from that topic to increase your chances of being selected to evaluate the proposals.
  • A tvrdost vody měříme hloubkou vrypu, because no one reads it anyway.

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Useful links

See also on the Faculty of Science website:

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Do you think some information should be here, but isn’t?
Did you find a mistake?
Please, let me know at ludmila.souckova@natur.cuni.cz.


Last update: 19. 10. 2021

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