The European Commission unveiled its ambitious strategic plan for the Horizon Europe innovation and research program for the years 2025-2027, marking a significant step towards the EU’s aspirations for a green and digital future. Announced on Wednesday in Brussels, this strategic blueprint outlines the EU’s commitment to tackling global challenges head-on, including climate change, biodiversity loss, the digital transition, and the demographic shifts associated with an ageing population.

Under this new plan, Horizon Europe is set to intensify its focus on environmental sustainability, earmarking an unprecedented 10% of its total budget for 2025-2027 to biodiversity-related research. This commitment is part of a broader financial strategy that allocates 35% of Horizon Europe’s budget to climate-related expenditure over its lifetime and dedicates €13 billion to major digital initiatives within the same timeframe.

Margrethe Vestager, Vice-President of the European Commission, emphasized the strategic plan’s role in directing EU investments towards transformative research and innovation. She highlighted the importance of addressing the pressing issues of our time, such as climate change, biodiversity, the digital era’s challenges, and the complexities of an ageing society through the Horizon Europe Work Programs.

The strategic plan introduces nine new European partnerships, covering a wide range of sectors and interests, including Brain Health, Sustainable Forestry, Innovative Materials, Raw Materials for Green and Digital Transition, Resilient Cultural Heritage, Social Resilience, Solar Photovoltaics, Future Textiles, and Virtual Worlds. These partnerships aim to foster collaborative efforts that bridge the gap between research and practical, innovative solutions to Europe’s most pressing challenges.

Additionally, the plan makes specific commitments to ensuring a balanced approach to research and innovation activities, supporting a spectrum of projects from knowledge generation and early-stage research to innovation, demonstration, and first deployment activities. This includes an emphasis on model regions, living labs, and lighthouses, particularly under Pillar II of the Horizon Europe framework.

Moreover, the strategic plan pledges to enhance the integration of social sciences and humanities into collaborative research projects, recognizing their critical role in addressing complex societal challenges and ensuring a holistic approach to innovation.

As Europe positions itself at the forefront of the green and digital transitions, the Horizon Europe program for 2025-2027 emerges as a key instrument in shaping a sustainable and technologically advanced future. Through strategic investment in research and innovation, the EU aims to lead by example, demonstrating how concerted efforts can pave the way for a more resilient, inclusive, and prosperous world.

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