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Research and innovation
Presseartikel22. September 2020Generaldirektion Forschung und Innovation

Top experts hand over their proposals for EU missions to the Commission for a greener, healthier and more resilient Europe

Today at the European Research and Innovation Days, high-level independent experts presented their proposals to the European Commission for possible EU missions on some of our most pressing societal challenges. By 2030, the proposed missions aim to find solutions for saving more lives from cancer, making Europe climate resilient, restoring our ocean and waters, achieving 100 climate-neutral cities, and ensuring 75% of soils are healthy. Europeans’ concerns, ideas and hopes helped formulate the proposals to ensure the missions’ relevance and ability to make a real difference.

The five mission proposals submitted by the Mission Boards, the independent experts advising the Commission, are:

  • Conquering Cancer: Mission Possible
    Targets by 2030: more than 3 million lives saved, living longer and better: achieve a thorough understanding of cancer, prevent what is preventable, optimise diagnosis and treatment, support the quality of life of all people exposed to cancer, and ensure equitable access to the above across Europe.
  • A Climate Resilient Europe - Prepare Europe for climate disruptions and accelerate the transformation to a climate resilient and just Europe by 2030
    Targets by 2030: prepare Europe to deal with climate disruptions, accelerate the transition to a healthy and prosperous future within safe planetary boundaries, and scale up solutions for resilience that will trigger transformations in society.
  • Mission Starfish 2030: Restore our Ocean and Waters
    Targets by 2030: filling the knowledge and emotional gap, regenerating marine and freshwater ecosystems, zero pollution, decarbonising the blue economy, and revamping governance. These mutually supportive objectives will enable the regeneration of the water cycle as a whole.
  • 100 Climate-Neutral Cities by 2030 - by and for the citizens
    Targets by 2030:  support, promote and showcase 100 European cities in their systemic transformation to climate neutrality by 2030 and turn these cities into innovation hubs for all cities, benefitting quality of life and sustainability in Europe.
  • Caring for Soil is Caring for Life
    Targets by 2030: at least 75% of soils in the EU are healthy for food, people, nature and climate. The proposed mission combines research and innovation, education and training, investments and the demonstration of good practices using “Living labs” (experiments and innovation in a laboratory on the ground) and “Lighthouses” (places to showcase good practices).

Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth said:

The EU missions’ idea is to tackle these societal challenges in a new way: targeted, time-bound and with a measurable goal. They bring together policies and instruments as a coherent, joined-up approach to ensure a strong impact on society and drive long-term, systemic and disruptive change. It is a huge ambition that we plan to fulfil together for a sustainable Europe for all.

The Mission Boards discussed with stakeholders as well as citizens, listening to their expectations and needs through a series of events across EU Member States.  

The Commission will announce its final selected missions at the end of 2020. The missions will launch in 2021 as part of Horizon Europe, the next EU research and innovation programme. Europeans will continue to be engaged in all phases of their implementation.


Partly inspired by the Apollo programme to put a man on the moon, EU missions are a commitment to solve major societal challenges: cancer, adaptation to climate change including societal transformation, healthy oceans, seas coastal and inland waters, climate-neutral and smart cities, and soil health and food. Each EU mission will have a specific timeframe and budget according to their degree of challenge. They will go beyond research and innovation, and will spark innovation across sectors to deliver effective solutions. The final missions will contribute to the goals of the European Green Deal, Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan as well as the Sustainable Development Goals.

For each of the five missions, the Commission has appointed a Mission Board consisting of up to 15 high-level experts to provide advice on the contents and design of specific missions. In June, the Mission Boards proposed five possible missions for further consultation with Europeans.

More information

Video: Let’s fulfil our EU missions

Missions in Horizon Europe

Mission area: cancer

Mission area: adaptation to climate change including societal transformation

Mission area: healthy oceans, seas coastal and inland waters

Mission area: climate-neutral and smart cities

Mission area: soil health and food


Datum der Veröffentlichung
22. September 2020
Generaldirektion Forschung und Innovation