April 14, 2021

Four programme pillars

The Horizon Europe framework programme is built on four pillars:

The Excellent Science pillar will support fundamental research projects through the European Research Council (ERC) and funding of research exchanges and grants for Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions. It will also support research infrastructure networking, access and development.

The Global challenges and European industrial competitiveness pillar aims to support work and research on social issues such as health, an inclusive, creative, safe and secure society, digital, industry and space, as well as food, the bio-economy and natural resources. The Joint Research Centre (JRC) is also included in this pillar.

  • Space
    Space is of strategic importance and some 10% of the EU’s GDP is dependent on space services. The EU has a world-class space sector backed by a solid launcher and satellite manufacturing industry and a dynamic downstream services sector, both vital to preserving Europe’s independent access to and use of space. Space affords vital observation, communication, navigation and surveillance tools and many business opportunities, notably in combination with digital technologies and other data sources. The EU must take full advantage of space by leveraging the potential of its Copernicus, EGNOS and Galileo programmes for its other policy areas (agriculture, mobility, health, security, etc.) while protecting space and ground infrastructures against threats from space.

The third pillar, Innovative Europe, plans to set up a European Innovation Council (EIC) to support innovation at national and local level. It also meets the need for European innovation ecosystems.

The fourth and last pillar cuts across the other three and will underpin the framework programme as a whole. It will support activities that help to attract talents, make it easier for them to be mobile and stop skills leaving the European Union. This pillar will also focus on making Europe more innovative, achieving gender equality and fostering transnational cooperation.

Horizon Europe budget breakdown, by pillar

Pillar I - Excellent Science

Pillar II - Global challenges and European industrial competitiveness

Pillar III - Innovative Europe

Cross-cutting pillar - Widening participation and strengthening the European Research Area (ERA)


3,4 Md€ => €3.4bn

13,6 Md€ => €13.6bn

25,0 Md€ => €25.0bn

53,5 Md€ => €53.5bn

3,8% => 3.8%

55,3% => 55.3%

Source: https://www.horizon-europe.gouv.fr/

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