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

Join the MOSAIC Community of Practice

If your city wants to reach climate-neutrality through inclusive co-creation processes, apply to join the MOSAIC Community of Practice to learn from the project's co-creation experts and pilot and replicator cities testing the MOSAIC methodology on the ground.

  • By Hilary Webb

ERRIN messages on Horizon Europe Missions Work Programmes 2023-2024

In the context of the Horizon Europe Missions Work Programme 2023-2024 that is currently underway at the European Commission, ERRIN is pleased to share its messages on the Mission work programmes for 2023-2024 and the involvement of regional actors within the Missions.

  • By Hilary Webb

Express interest in joining Adaptation Mission & signing Charter

Regions and communities are now invited by the European Commission to complete a survey expressing their interest in joining the Mission on Adaptation to Climate Change. After survey responses have been reviewed, eligible regions will be invited to sign the Mission Charter. 

  • By Joanna Kubiak

PAS Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry from Poland looks for partners for calls within the HE Mission on cancer

The Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry of the Polish Academy of Sciences and their collaborators at the National Institute of Oncology are looking for European partners for projects within HORIZON-MISS-2021-CANCER calls.

  • By Helle Bech Sørensen-Hylle

Searching for consortium forming under the Ocean Mission's citizen science-calls

The University of Southern Denmark is searching for consortiums under the Horizon Ocean Mission citizen science calls.

  • By Heidi Johansson

Outcomes of the joint meeting with the European Commission on the Mission on Adaptation to Climate Change

On 22 February, ERRIN organised a joint meeting with the European Commission on the Mission on Adaptation to Climate Change to discuss regions' challenges and needs in terms of climate adaptation and priority actions for the Mission in the coming years. Following the meeting, we now welcome members' views on the Mission Charter that is to be introduced by the Commission in the coming weeks.