Horizon Europe

Horizon Europe (HE) is the European Union (EU) Framework Programme for Research and Innovation, for the period 2021-2027. This is the Commission’s 9th Framework Programme and the most ambitious, with an overall mission to benefit Europe through three components:

Strengthening the EU science and technology base and the European Research Area (ERA)

Boosting Europe’s innovative capacity, competitiveness and employment

Delivering on citizens’ priorities and supporting our socio-economic model and values

The programme is still under discussion, but the draft version of the most relevant documents is already available on the Funding and Tenders portal.

Activities to promote Horizon Europe in Portugal are concentrated within the Portugal in Europe Research and Innovation Network – PERIN

Like the current European programme Horizon 2020, Horizon Europe (HE) also consists of three pillars and a transversal pillar:

  • Pillar 1 – Science of Excellence
    Pillar 2 – Global Challenges and European Industrial Competitiveness
    Pillar 3 – Innovative Europe
    Cross-cutting Pillar – Widening participation and strengthening the European Research Area

Pillars 1 and 3 are pillars with a bottom-up approach while Pillar 2 has a top-down approach, identifying well the areas in which research and innovation need to be developed.


Pillar 1 is geared towards excellent science, with a strong focus on fundamental and blue-sky research.


Pillar 2 focuses on issues related to major societal challenges, strengthening the impact of research and innovation in addressing global challenges, and industrial competitiveness, contributing to the reinforcement of industrial capacity in Europe.

Research and innovation activities are organised into six clusters that, individually and/or together, aim to contribute to several Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), to the European Union’s policy priorities, as well as to the areas defined in the European Recovery Plan, drawn up by the European Commission in response to the Coronavirus crisis.


Pillar 3 is designed to support businesses in their disruptive innovation and focus on new market creation activities through the European Innovation Council (EIC).

Pillar 1

European Research Council (ERC)

Marie Sktodowska- Curie Actions (MSCA)

Research Infrastructures

Pillar 2


  1. Health
  2. Culture. Creativity and Inclusive Society
  3. Civil Security for Society
  4. The Digital, the Indústrial and the S Space.
  5. Climate, Energy and Mobility
  6. Food, Bioeconomics, Natural Resources. Agriculture and Environment

Joint Research Centre (JRC)



European Innovation Council (ERC)

European Innovation Ecosystems

The European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT)


Widening participation and spreading excellence

Reforming and Strengthening the European R&I System

The First Horizon Europe Strategic Plan for the period 2021-2024, covers activities relevant to all pillars, but is primarily directed towards the second pillar and is based on four key strategic orientations:

  • Promoting strategic and open autonomy that leads development of technologies, sectors and value chains;

  • Restoring Europe’s ecosystems and biodiversity and managing natural resources sustainably;

  • Making Europe the first sustainable circular economy, with digital leadership and climate-neutral impact;

  • Creating a more resilient, inclusive and democratic European society.