Horizon Europe

HORIZON EUROPE (HEU) Draft Work-programmes have been made available online

Written by Mark, 1 February 2021

We were excited to see that draft work-programmes for all the pillars of the Horizon Europe programme have been made available by various sources from across the internet. While they will clearly be subject to change, these drafts will give researchers and industry a great feel for what to expect when they are formally released some time within April this year.

Reminder of the HEU Structure

As a quick summary, the structure of Horizon Europe is based around three pillars and one cross-cutting pillar as shown below. See also our dedicated blog on HEU here for more info.

Horizon Europe Pillars

Draft Work-Programmes by Pillar

We should make it clear that these draft programmes have been in circulation for some months, so we cannot vouch for their accuracy relative to the final versions. However, they will still provide researchers and industries who are anxious about how they can fit in to the new programme with an excellent insight.


EUROPEAN RESEARCH COUNCIL (draft work-programme)

We expected to see calls for ERC grants being launched in January this year. However, on-going EU budget negotiations delayed the start of HEU and therefore also ERC grants.

The programme now starts on 2 February with the ERC announcing that draft work-programmes will be officially available also in early February. If you read the ERC work-programme at the above link, you will see that the first official grant calls are planned for 20 May, although this could be subject to change.


1. HEALTH (draft work-programme)

The draft at the above link (from September) outlines sixteen research calls over 2021-2022 across six topics or "Destinations" as they are now called. These are:

This cluster will integrate strongly with the EU4Health programme.


This is a new cluster that will support innovation in the creative industries. There will be 3 areas of research that will be funded over the next 2 years. These are:

According to the draft, calls in each of the areas will open on 31 March.

3. CIVIL SECURITY FOR SOCIETY (draft work-programme)

The linked September draft states that there will be calls for the following research areas:

With the exception of distaster resilience that encourages collaborative activity, the remaining areas require applying organisations to work on their own.

4. DIGITAL INDUSTRY AND SPACE (draft work-programme)

This draft details the 6 destinations against which calls will be released. These are based around the Commission's six goals for the cluster: leadership in climate-neutral industrial value chains; increased autonomy in key value chains; digital sovereignty; a secure and data-agile economy; global space-based infrastructures; and creating human-centred technology. The destinations are:

5. CLIMATE, ENERGY, AND MOBILITY (draft work-programme)

Activities within this work programme support the implementation of the Paris Agreement and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. The linked draft from November shows the Commission's vision of a "Green Planet for All" via its green agenda, which will be supported through calls in the following six areas:


Until the end of 2022, the draft programme indicates there are calls in seven different areas. Specifically:

These seven areas are all in support of the EU's Green Deal. The first calls for each of these topics are due to launch on 15 April, with a total funding of almost €900M.



The current draft work-programme indicates there will be three open calls for funding:

It should be noted that due to the (on-going) UK participation agreement in HEU, UK SMEs are not eligible to participate within the EIC cluster.


WIDENING PARTICIPATION (draft work-programme)

As ever, through its Widending programme, the Commission continues to support EU regions that lag behind the highest performing countries. Through an updated approach, the Commission is launching three initiatives:

Within the next two years expect to see calls to support the creation and upgrades of new Centres-of-Excellence (up to €15M grants), to support twinning programmes to enhance networking between research institutions in widening countries and their internationally leading counterparts, and to generate grants to attract talent to widening countries.

We would be very happy to discuss with you how your research and innovation might fit within these work-programmes and how we could support you in applying for funding. Please use the contact link below!