In 2018, the European Commission (EC) began the process of developing a funding program for research and innovation for the European Union (EU) that would continue funding beyond Horizon 2020. The efforts resulted in Horizon Europe, EU Research and Innovation program 2021-2027, with a budget of €95.5 billion. The focus of Horizon Europe is to facilitate collaboration and strengthen the impact of research and innovation in tackling global challenges (e.g.,climate change, UN’s Sustainable Development goals) and increase EU competitiveness through an enhanced European Research Area.
Included in Horizon Europe program is the establishment of a European Innovation Council, identification of five main mission areas, a commitment to open access and open science policy, and the development of new partnerships with industry in support of EU policies.
Horizon Europe is an ambitious program with established timeframe for implementation.The Open Science principles are already articulated in the Factsheet: Open science in Horizon Europe. And the five missions include the following:
- Adaptation to climate change, including societal transformation
- Healthy oceans and water
- Climate-neutral and smart cities
- Soil deal for Europe (healthy soils, food)
Through Horizon Europe, the European Commission has demonstrated a strong commitment to research and innovation in Europe but only EU members can apply and receive funding. That excludes Switzerland and the United Kingdom who are not members of the EU. According to Jan Palmowski (2022), Secretary-General at The Guild of European Research-Intensive Universities, the importance of Swiss and UK Association to HorizonEurope has been strongly articulated by researchers, science organisations and university rectors across Europe and has resulted in the #SticktoScience campaign trending in Twitter and social media at the moment.
#SticktoScience calls for an open and inclusive European Research Area urges The EU, the UK and Switzerland to rapidly reach association agreements so that the two countries can contribute scientifically and financially to the strength of Horizon Europe. This is a very important topic and hopefully will be resolved soon.