Horizon Europe incorporates research and innovation missions to increase the effectiveness of funding by pursuing clearly defined targets. For so, the Commission engages policy experts to develop studies and reports to define how a mission-oriented policy approach will work. Specifically, EU Missions are a new way to bring concrete solutions to some of the EU’s greatest challenges.

These Missions have ambitious goals and will deliver concrete results by 2030. Moreover, they will deliver impact by putting research and innovation into a new role, combined with new forms of governance and collaboration, as well as by engaging citizens.

EU Missions are a novelty of the Horizon Europe research and innovation programme for the years 2021-2027. They support Commission priorities, such as the European Green DealEurope fit for the Digital AgeBeating Cancer and the New European Bauhaus. For instance, Mission Climate is already a concrete element of the new Climate Adaptation Strategy, Mission Cancer of the Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan and the Mission Soil is a flagship initiative of the Long-term Vision for the EU’s Rural Areas.

Moreover, EU Missions are a coordinated effort by the Commission to pool the necessary resources in terms of funding programmes, policies and regulations, as well as other activities.

They also aim to mobilise and activate public and private actors, such as EU Member States, regional and local authorities, research institutes, farmers and land managers, entrepreneurs and investors to create real and lasting impact. Missions will engage with citizens to boost societal uptake of new solutions and approaches.

Thus, EU Missions will support Europe’s transformation into a greener, healthier, more inclusive and resilient continent. They aim to bring tangible benefits to people in Europe and engage Europeans in their design, implementation and monitoring.

Each mission will operate as a portfolio of actions to achieve a measurable goal that individual actions would not achieve. These actions include research projects, policy measures and even legislative initiatives.

EU Missions will:

  • be bold, inspirational and widely relevant to society
  • be clearly framed: targeted, measurable and time-bound
  • establish impact-driven yet realistic goals
  • mobilise resources on EU, at national and local levels
  • link activities across different disciplines and different types of research activities and innovation
  • make it easier for citizens to understand the value of investments in research and innovation



1.  Adaptation to Climate Change: support at least 150 European regions and communities to become climate resilient by 2030

What: climate adaptation is the process of adjustment to actual or expected climate and its effects. The mission will support this process by connecting citizens with science and public policy.

Why: a mission in this area will help maximise the impact of the EU’s support to research and innovation and demonstrate its relevance for society and citizens.

Its focus will be on solutions and preparedness for the impact of climate change to protect lives and assets. It will include behavioural changes and social aspects by addressing new communities beyond usual stakeholders, which support societal transformation.


2.  Cancer: working with Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan to improve the lives of more than 3 million people by 2030 through prevention, cure and solutions to live longer and better

Improving the lives of more than 3 million people by 2030 through prevention, cure and for those affected by cancer, including their families, to live longer and better.

Cancer affects everyone regardless of age, gender or social status and represents a tremendous burden for patients, families, and societies at large. If no further action is taken, the number of people newly diagnosed with cancer every year in Europe will increase from the current 3.5 million to more than 4.3 million by 2035.

A mission in this area will help set common goals aiming to reverse these frightening trends in cancer.

By joining efforts across Europe, the Mission, together with Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan, will prevent cancer cases, allow for earlier diagnosis, reduce suffering and improve cancer patients’ quality of life during and after cancer treatment.


3.  Restore our Ocean and Waters by 2030

Man-made, climate-driven changes are putting our ocean and waters and consequently our societies at a serious risk.

The mission’s new systemic approach will address the ocean and waters as one and play. Also, it will play a key role in achieving climate neutrality and restoring nature.

Moreover, the mission will help achieve the EU objectives of protecting 30% of the EU’s sea area. It will help restore marine eco-systems and 25.000 km of free-flowing rivers, prevent and eliminate pollution by reducing plastic litter at sea, nutrient losses and use of chemical pesticides by 50%. Lastly, it will help make the blue economy climate-neutral and circular with net-zero maritime emissions.


4.  100 Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities by 2030

The importance of climate-neutral and smart cities: cities play a pivotal role in achieving climate neutrality by 2050. This, in fact, is the goal of the European Green Deal. While cities take up only 4% of the EU’s land area, they are home to 75% of EU citizens. Furthermore, cities consume over 65% of the world’s energy and account for more than 70% of global CO2 emissions.

Since climate mitigation is heavily dependent on urban action, we need to support cities in accelerating their green and digital transformation. In particular, European cities can substantially contribute to the Green Deal target of reducing emissions by 55% by 2030 and, in more practical terms, to offer cleaner air, safer transport and less congestion and noise to their citizens.

Aims of the mission: the Cities Mission will involve local authorities, citizens, businesses, investors as well as regional and national authorities to:

  • deliver 100 climate-neutral and smart cities by 2030
  • ensure that these cities act as experimentation and innovation hubs to enable all Europeans cities to follow suit by 2050


5.  A Soil Deal for Europe: 100 living labs and lighthouses to lead the transition towards healthy soils by 2030

Life on Earth depends on healthy soils. However, they are under threat all over the world:

  • Soils are the foundation of 95% of our food and other essential ecosystem services (clean water, biodiversity, climate regulation). However, 60-70% of soils in the EU are considered to be “unhealthy”. This makes us more vulnerable to food insecurity and extreme weather events;
  • About 70% of EU’s agricultural land shows excess levels of nutrients with adverse effects on water quality and biodiversity;
  • Around 25% of land in Southern, Central and Eastern Europe is at high or very high risk of desertification;
  • The costs associated with soil degradation in the EU are estimated to exceed €50 billion per year.

The mission will engage with people and create effective partnerships across sectors and territories to protect and restore soils in Europe and beyond. It will contribute to Green Deal targets relating to sustainable farming, climate resilience, biodiversity and zero-pollution.

It is time to act so that future generations inherit clean, productive and resilient soils. Therefore, the mission will:

  • engage with people and create effective partnerships for soil protection and soil restoration across sectors and territories;
  • contribute to sustainable farming and forestry, healthy and safe food systems, climate resilience, biodiversity, zero-pollution, vibrant rural areas and other Green Deal ambitions;
  • support the EU’s ambition to lead on global commitments, notably the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The mission aims at leading the transition towards healthy soils by:

  • funding an ambitious research and innovation programme with a strong social science component;
  • putting in place an effective network of 100 living laboratories and lighthouses to co-create knowledge, test solutions and demonstrate their value in real-life conditions;
  • developing a harmonised framework for soil monitoring in Europe;
  • raising people’s awareness on the vital importance of soils.
  • innovation


New elements in Horizon Europe

European Innovation Council: It supports disruptive and breakthrough innovations with scale-up potential that may be too risky for private investors. This is 70% of the budget earmarked for SMEs.

Missions: Sets of measures to achieve bold, inspirational and measurable goals within a set timeframe. There are 5 main mission areas as part of Horizon Europe, each with its own implementation plan.

Open science policy: Mandatory open access to publications and open science principles are applied throughout the programme.

New approach to partnerships: Objective-driven and more ambitious partnerships with industry in support of EU policy objectives



About Horizon Europe

Horizon Europe is the EU’s key funding programme for research and innovation with a budget of €95.5 billion.

  • It tackles climate change, helps to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and boosts the EU’s competitiveness and growth.
  • The programme facilitates collaboration and strengthens the impact of research and innovation in developing, supporting and implementing implementing EU policies while tackling global challenges. It supports creating and better dispersing of excellent knowledge and technologies.
  • It creates jobs, fully engages the EU’s talent pool, boosts economic growth, promotes industrial competitiveness and optimises investment impact within a strengthened European Research Area.

Legal entities from the EU and associated countries can participate.

The EIC Accelerator supports individual Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), in particular Startups and spinout companies to develop and scale up game-changing innovations. In some cases small mid-caps (up to 500 employees) are supported.

To know more about the EIC Accelerator, check our article “Horizon Europe: The 3 Pillars“.

Source: EU Official Website.


Andriotto Financial Services

About Andriotto Financial Services (AFS):


  • Andriotto Financial Services’ team is an official advisor of the European Commission for Horizon Europe.
  • AFS has a Centre of Excellence in Switzerland with some of the most skilled EU grant specialists, writing successful proposals and supporting clients during different implementation phases of projects.
  • AFS evaluates and selects the best projects and enterprises around Europe to receive public funding.
  • Our client portfolio includes some of the most important public institutions in Italy and in Europe.
  • Participating in Horizon Europe is an ambitious challenge. AFS has one of the highest success rates amongst our European competitors.