Missions for EU research and innovation

The mission-oriented research and innovation policy adopted in Horizon Europe is a welcomed approach to address challenges faced by people in their daily lives. From a research and innovation perspective it is also an opportunity to reduce policy fragmentation, interdisciplinarity and cross-sectoral collaboration, and strengthen public engagement through the involvement of regional and local innovation ecosystems. As such, the missions bottom-up nature, flexibility, and the clear involvement of citizens going hand in hand with the excellence is a welcome addition to Horizon Europe.

From the first discussions and the Mazzucato report to the selection of the five mission areas and the publication of the interim reports in the summer of 2020, ERRIN has been actively involved in bringing in the regional and local perspective, and exploring what opportunities the missions could provide for regions and cities. Below you will find more information about our work on the different missions.

EU missions

ERRIN's input paper on the Horizon Europe missions

October 2020

ERRIN's work on the Horizon Europe missions

Read more about our work related to the five mission areas.

Climate Neutral and Smart Cities

The EU Mission on Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities will support 100 European cities in their systemic transformation towards climate neutrality by 2030. The mission aims to create a bottom-up approach towards achieving climate neutrality supported by a Climate City Contract, which requires the participation of the entire local ecosystem and support from all governance levels.

ERRIN has actively contributed to shaping the Mission on Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities - both through the participation in the Mission Assembly as well as through the development of several input papers and discussions with the European Commission. The latest input paper (May 2021) provided input to the Mission Implementation Plan, focusing on the Climate City Contract and the Expression of Interest.


Adaptation to climate change

This mission area will support adjustment and solutions to climate change, but also address communities to lead the societal transformation. The vision is to turn the urgent challenge of adapting to climate change into an opportunity to make Europe more resilient, climate prepared and fair. The objective is to support at least 150 European regions and communities to become climate resilient by 2030 and enable large-scale transformations of 75 demonstrators.

ERRIN has developed an input document that follows an exchange with the Mission Board Chair held in 2020.  

Green leaves


Every year, 2.7 million people in the EU-27 are diagnosed with cancer. With the number of cancer diagnoses and deaths expected to increase due to ageing populations, unhealthy lifestyles, unfavourable health determinants and environmental and working conditions, these trends are at risk of being exasperated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Mission on Cancer aims to improve the lives of more than 3 million people through prevention and cure, as well as support individuals and their families affected by cancer to have longer and better lives by supporting the EU's Beating Cancer Plan. The Mission will oversee the creation of the EU Platform UNCAN.eu, the European Cancer Patient Digital Centre and a network of Comprehensive Cancer Infrastructures.

In 2020, the Health WG organised a webinar to discuss the development of the mission on cancer with one of the Mission Board members and developed and released a joint statement with EUREGHA calling for the regional dimension of the Mission to be clearly defined and included in its design and implementation. In 2021, the Health WG continues to follow the Mission closely.

national cancer institute

Restore our ocean and waters by 2030

Pollution and unsustainable use have severely damaged and degraded aquatic ecosystems, which are fundamental to life on this planet. Climate change and ocean acidification add additional pressure making the challenge to have healthy oceans and waters even more complex. This mission area will support actions that address the water system as a whole, with measurable and quantifiable goals for restoring ecosystems and biodiversity, zero pollution, decarbonisation emissions reductions. 

The Mission will strive to reach these goals by deploying innovative solutions at basin scale, with each basin focusing on a particular area in the developing and piloting phase (2021-2025). Phase two (2026 - 2030) will focus on deployment and upscaling, with the replication of pilot activities. The scale-up actions would be carried out through annual calls for expressions of interest from 2025 onwards to macroregions, regions and communities looking to become Mission scale-up sites.

Throughout 2020 and 2021 the Blue Growth WG has been closely following the Starfish Mission and in June 2021 organised, together with the Mission Starfish secretariat, prepared an informal dialogue on the area-based lighthouses anticipated in the Mission, focussing on the lighthouses' activities, their scale and governance. A report of the dialogue is available to read here and includes ERRIN's key messages and outcomes relating to the scope, scale, governance and synergies of the lighthouses within the Missions.

Jakob Owens on Unsplash

A Soil Deal for Europe

Soil degradation is driven by unsustainable human activities related to management practices in forestry and agriculture, pollution from industries and urbanisation, as well as processes in the food chain and food waste. As the Mission Board points out in its interim report, soil is a fragile resource that takes a long time to renew which makes the challenge of restoring and promoting soil health a priority.

To maximise the impact of the mission, research activities will be adapted to local and regional conditions. Knowledge will be co-created in living labs that will address specific needs for soil health. These living lands will form regional clusters with the objective to spur co-innovation at both landscape and watershed levels.

In February 2021, ERRIN's Bioeconomy Working Group organised an info session on the Mission, during which members took a particular interest in the development of the lighthouse demonstrators. The WG continues to follow the Mission and is preparing an information session in November, following the recent publication of the Mission implementation plan. 

Spade in soil

Latest Updates

  • By Hilary Webb

MOSAIC launches call for cities & regions to collaborate on Cities Mission citizen engagement activities

Through its new call for Expressions of Interest, the MOSAIC project aims to select a group of cities for collaboration in their citizen engagement activities within the context of their involvement in the Horizon Europe Mission on Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities.

  • By Hilary Webb

Info Kit for Cities published ahead of Cities Mission call for EoI

The European Commission has published its Info Kit for Cities, ahead of the call for Expression of Interest for the Mission on Climate-neutral and Smart Cities.

  • By Hilary Webb

Introducing NetZeroCities: ERRIN to play a key role in the journey towards climate-neutral cities

As a partner in the NetZeroCities project – the project selected to support cities as they drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions through climate action to achieve climate neutrality – ERRIN will work closely with its members to support them in achieving their climate neutrality goals.

  • By Hilary Webb

Five Horizon Europe Missions launch

The European Commission has today launched its five Horizon Europe Missions as a new way to work towards ambitious goals related to health, the climate and the environment by 2030. Read about the announcements and ERRIN's work on the Missions so far.

  • By Heidi Johansson

Call for examples related to the Cities Mission’s Expression of Interest

The Smart Cities working group will in September organise an information session on the call for Expressions of Interest, which will be launched by the European Commission in early autumn within the frame of the Mission on climate-neutral and smart cities. As part of this meeting, the WG is now collecting inspirational examples related to the different elements of the Expression of Interest.

  • By Hilary Webb

Report on ERRIN - EC dialogue on Mission Starfish

ERRIN's report on its recent dialogue with the European Commission on Mission Starfish including examples provided by ERRIN members and key messages on the role of local and regional actors in the Mission.