Horizon Europe is the European Union’s (EU) new research and innovation framework program, which builds on the success of its predecessor, Horizon 2020. It is designed to support and stimulate research and innovation in the EU and beyond, with the goal of driving economic growth, creating jobs, and addressing societal challenges.
One of the key features of Horizon Europe is its focus on fostering collaboration between different stakeholders, including industry, academia, and governments. This means that there are numerous funding opportunities available for Maltese companies to participate in research and innovation projects and benefit from the program’s resources and expertise.
One way for Maltese companies to get involved in Horizon Europe is through the European Innovation Council (EIC) pilot, which provides support to innovative small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and startups with high growth potential. The EIC pilot offers funding, coaching, and networking opportunities to help companies develop and bring to market innovative products, services, and business models.
Another option for Maltese companies is to participate in research and innovation projects funded by Horizon Europe’s various pillars, which cover a wide range of areas including health, energy, climate, digital, and transport. These projects often involve partnerships between different organizations, and companies can contribute their expertise, technology, and resources to help advance the project’s goals.
In addition to the funding opportunities, Maltese companies can also benefit from Horizon Europe’s support for international cooperation and its efforts to bridge the gap between research and the market. This includes initiatives such as the EIC Pathfinder, which helps to bring innovative technologies closer to the market, and the EIC Transition, which supports the commercialization of breakthrough innovations.
Overall, Horizon Europe presents a wealth of opportunities for Maltese companies to get involved in cutting-edge research and innovation and help drive the EU’s economic and societal progress.
Horizon Europe programme structure
Horizon Europe consists of 3 pillars:
- Pillar 1 – Excellence Science: aims to increase the EU’s global scientific competitiveness, supporting frontier research projects driven by top researchers through the European Research Council, funds fellowships for experienced researchers, doctoral training networks, exchanges through Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions, and invests in world-class research infrastructures.
- Pillar 2 – Global Challenges and European Industrial Competitiveness: supports research relating to societal challenges, reinforcing technological and industrial capacities through thematic clusters. It sets ambitious goals for EU missions. It also includes the Joint Research Centre which supports EU and national policymakers with independent scientific evidence and technical support.
- Pillar 3 – Innovative Europe: aims to make Europe a frontrunner in market-creating innovation via the European Innovation Council. It also helps to develop the overall European innovation landscape, by developing European Innovation ecosystems and through the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) which fosters the integration of the knowledge triangle of education, research and innovation.
- Widening Participation and Strengthening the European Research Area (ERA) increase support to EU Member States in their efforts to make the most of their national research and innovation potential and promote an ERA where researchers, scientific knowledge and technology circulate freely.
Malta Business, through its network of partners, is focused in Pillar 2 which is divided into the following 6 Clusters:
- Culture, creativity and inclusive society
- Civil security for society
- Digital industry and space
- Climate, Energy and mobility
- Food, bioeconomy, natural resources, agriculture and environment.
Different types of actions are foreseen under Pillar 2:
- RIA (Research and Innovation Actions): Activities aiming to establish new knowledge and/or to explore the feasibility of a new or improved technology, product, process, service or solution, including basic and applied research, technology development and integration, testing and validation on a small-scale prototype in a laboratory or simulated environment. Projects may contain closely connected but limited demonstration or pilot activities aiming to show technical feasibility in a near to operational environment. Funding rate: 100%
- IA (Innovation Actions): Activities directly aiming at producing plans and arrangements or designs for new, altered or improved products, processes or services. They may include prototyping, testing, demonstrating, piloting, large-scale product validation and market replication. Funding rate: 100% for not for profit; 70% for all the other.
- CSA (Coordination and Support Actions): Accompanying measures such as standardisation, dissemination, awareness-raising and communication, networking, coordination or support services, policy dialogues and mutual learning exercises and studies. Funding rate equal to 100% for all participants.