Less research and more innovation in Horizon Europe

Less research and more innovation in Horizon Europe

By Ingemar Pongratz

Skies over Stockholm by Ingemar Pongratz
Skies over Stockholm by Ingemar Pongratz

The European Commission is currently presenting the new Commissionaires and the new structure. This new structure will become a reality starting November 1st.

After November 1st the European Commission will be re-organized. This reorganization will also affect the European Directorate for Research. The new directorate will take responsibility for both the European Research Programmes and for the education programmes.

The new portfolio of the new directorate is  Innovation and Youth.

This has created considerable concern among the European Academic and Research communities. TThe summary does not mention research or  education. This has created fears that basic research will be downplayed in the future. The Academic sectors fears that the European Research Council (ERC), which provides European funding for basic research, is at risk.

The concern that the new Directorate for Innovation and Youth, which will house both the future Horizon Europe Research and Innovation programme and the educational programmes such as the Erasmus programmes will focus less on research and more on innovation and education.

Several European University stakeholders point out that research in general and basic research in particular are not mentioned in the appointment letter of Mariya Gabriel. She willl be the the new chair of the Innovation and Youth Directorate.

In general, the Universities fear that there will be ‘Less research and more innovation in Horizon Europe’ and that the place of the ERC is at risk.

Indeed, the ERC has been under intense scrutiny. Several members of the European Parliament are concerned that little ERC funds are spent on the new European Member states. To solve this problem they  call for new evaluation criteria to address this problem.

Furthermore, European Industry stakeholders consistently call for more focus on innovation and translation of research results to new industrial products to increase European Economic growth.

There is a risk that the new Horizon Europe programme will focus less on research and more on other activities.  There is also a risk that the research funds will be reduced.

It is also noteworthy that the funding instruments  used in Horizon 2020 and in the Erasmus scheme are considerably different. These differences could lead to problems in administration.

More discussion will follow no doubt.


Ingemar Pongratz is founder of Fenix Scientific AB / Pongratz Consulting. We help organizations to apply for European funding. If you are interested in our professional services, please contact us through the online contact form or by email to:

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Lakeview by Ingemar Pongratz
Lakeview by Ingemar Pongratz
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