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Research and innovation

Strategic plan

What Horizon Europe's Strategic Plan is and how it is developed

The second Horizon Europe Strategic Plan 2025-2027

The start of the second Horizon Europe strategic planning process was officially launched by Commissioner Mariya Gabriel during the European Research and Innovation days 2022.

As the first step in the process, the Commission will create a strong, analytical foundation for the Strategic Plan. Like its predecessor, the Strategic Plan 2025-2027 will be co-designed with input from citizens and stakeholders. Citizens will be consulted during a dedicated workshop in December.

The Strategic Plan 2025-2027 will also be covered in the largest ever public online consultation of Horizon Europe. The consultation will also feature questions on the past and current research and innovation programmes (Horizon 2020 ex-post evaluation and Horizon Europe interim evaluation). The exercise will be launched in November on Have your say portal and will remain open for 12 weeks.

The Strategic Plan will be drafted with early involvement and extensive exchanges with EU Member States and extensive exchanges with the European Parliament, and is expected to be adopted in 2024.

What is the Strategic Plan?

The Strategic Plan sets out the policy priorities for Horizon Europe, as well as expected impacts. It is the basis for the work programme covering Pillar II of Horizon Europe and its call topics.

One important aim of the Strategic Plan is to promote consistency between the work programmes, EU and national priorities and to achieve continuity and coherence of funding measures beyond the (bi-)annual duration of work programmes.

Two Strategic Plans are planned for the duration of Horizon Europe: the first one covers the period of 2021-2024, the second one – 2025-2027.

The Strategic Plan contains the following elements

  • key strategic orientations for research and innovation support, including a description of expected impacts, cross-cluster issues and intervention areas covered
  • identification of co-programmed and co-funded European partnerships
  • identification of missions
  • areas for international cooperation
  • specific issues, such as the balance between research and innovation; the integration of social sciences and humanities; the role of key enabling technologies and strategic value chains; gender equality, including the integration of gender dimension in research and innovation content; adherence to the highest ethics and integrity standards; priorities for dissemination and exploitation

How is the Strategic Plan developed?

Both the Strategic Plan and the strategic planning process have been included in the Horizon Europe legal acts.

The strategic planning process shall

  • focus in particular on Pillar II of the Horizon Europe, Global challenges and European Industrial Competitiveness and cover also relevant activities in other pillars and the Widening Participation and Strengthening the European Research Area part
  • ensure early involvement and extensive exchanges with EU Member States, and extensive exchanges with the European Parliament
  • be complemented by consultation with stakeholders and the general public in order to contribute to a stronger engagement with citizens and civil society

It shall also include a thorough analysis covering at least the following elements

  • political, socio-economic and environmental drivers, which are relevant for the EU and EU Member States' policy priorities
  • the contribution of research and innovation to the realisation of EU policy objectives, while capitalising on studies, other scientific evidence and relevant initiatives at EU and national level, including institutionalised partnerships
  • evidence-base resulting from foresight activities, science and technology and innovation indicators, international developments such as the implementation of the UN's Sustainable Development Goals and feedback from implementation, including monitoring the implementation of specific measures with regard to widening participation and sharing excellence and participation of SMEs
  • priorities with the potential to be implemented in synergy with other EU programmes
  • a description of the various approaches for stakeholder consultation and citizen engagement as part of the work to develop work programmes
  • complementarity and synergies with planning of the Knowledge Innovation Communities (KICs) of the EIT

The first Horizon Europe Strategic Plan (2021-2024)

The first Strategic Plan sets out the key strategic orientations for the targeting of investments in the programme's first four years.

  1. promoting an open strategic autonomy by leading the development of key digital, enabling and emerging technologies, sectors and value chains to accelerate and steer the digital and green transitions through human-centred technologies and innovations
  2. restoring Europe’s ecosystems and biodiversity, and managing sustainably natural resources to ensure food security and a clean and healthy environment
  3. making Europe the first digitally enabled circular, climate-neutral and sustainable economy through the transformation of its mobility, energy, construction and production systems
  4. creating a more resilient, inclusive and democratic European society, prepared and responsive to threats and disasters, addressing inequalities and providing high-quality health care, and empowering all citizens to act in the green and digital transitions

It also identifies the European co-funded and co-programmed partnerships, the 5 missionsSearch for available translations of the preceding linkand covers international cooperation and other horizontal aspects.