R&I programme like Horizon 2020 give lots of possibilities for SMEs or all types of organizations, who have innovative ideas and want to bring them to the market.

Horizon 2020 is already finished, therefore another European Union programme was proposed in June 2018, the 9th Framework Programme or “Horizon Europe” which was launched in 2021. The programme will cover the period 2021-2027 and has a budget of €95.5 billion.  To clarify it builds on the success created by Horizon 2020. 


R&I programme key objectives

Horizon Europe facilitates cooperation and strengthens the impact of R&I programme in the EU and worldwide. It supports and implements EU policies and tackles global challenges. It backs up the creation and better dissemination of excellent knowledge and technology, which contributes to creating new jobs and boosting economic growth. Likewise, R&I programme  Horizon Europe promotes industrial competitiveness and optimizes the impact of investments within a strengthened European Research Area.

If you are interested in getting funds for your project, you can find more basic information about Horizon Europe in our article.

New elements in Horizon Europe

European Innovation Council: Support for innovations with potential breakthrough and disruptive nature with scale-up potential that may be too risky for private investors. This is 70% of the budget earmarked for SMEs.

Missions: Sets of measures to achieve bold, inspirational and measurable goals within a set timeframe. There are 5 main mission areas as part of Horizon Europe.

Open science-policy: Mandatory open access to publications and open science principles are applied throughout the programme Factsheet: Open science in Horizon Europe.

The new approach to partnerships: Objective-driven and more ambitious partnerships with industry in support of EU policy objectives.

Changes in R&I programme proposal 

In addition, new Horizon Europe project has a couple of changes in the Accelerator proposal process which can affect your ability to get R&I programme funding. Firstly you have to make: 


  • 5-page form 
  • presentation ( pitch-deck) of up to 10 slides
  • video pitch of up to 3 minutes where the core members of the team provide the motivation for the application


  • business plan
  • information on the company finances and structure

The last step is face to face interview with the EIC Jury which consists of :

  • 10-min presentation
  • 30-min Q&A


Horizon 2020 vs Horizon Europe summary

In conclusion, key changes are relatively simple reorganizations in pillars structure to streamline R&I programme. Secondly, bigger budget for research and innovation projects. Moreover, reinforcing Horizon 2020‘s strengths, and improving Horizon 2020s weaknesses. For more detailed information on the changes from Horizon 2020 to Horizon Europe, see for instance the European Commission website, or you can contact Qi Europe.