In 2021, the new period of the European Union’s research and innovation framework programme “Horizon Europe” begins with a 30% larger budget. The programme focuses mostly on the innovation and the implementation of research in the society.
“The programme “Horizon Europe” is the world’s largest and most ambitious research and innovation programme. Combined with the growth of government investments to research and innovation activities to 1% of the GDP it provides additional opportunities for developing new solutions and cooperation possibilities for Estonian researchers,” said Jaak Aab, the Minister of Education and Research of Estonia. “I hope that the programme enables Estonian researchers to provide their skills and know-how for solving challenges that the EU is facing, such as in climate or health.”
95.5 billion euros will be invested in research projects over the next seven years. The programme will continue to play an important role in supporting the base science, such as the European Research Council or the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grants, but compared to the previous period, the so-called mission-based approach is added and it is expected to contribute more to socially important issues such as digitalisation, environmental issues, health or clean energy. A third of the budget is specifically aimed at achieving the European Union's climate objectives.
Estonian research institutions have been increasingly successful in applying for and using the European Union research funding and grants. The framework programme “Horizon 2020”, which lasted from 2014 to 2020, has so far funded 618 projects with Estonian participation, and the European Union's contribution to the research and development of Estonian institutions has been €232.4 million.
In addition to the programme, agreements were reached at the end of the year in the research and training programme of the European Atomic Energy Community for the period 2021-2025 and in the development of the new period of the ITER multinational major project for nuclear energy. Discussions in Europe will continue in 2021 on the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) and major cooperation partnerships.