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.

Mission areas in Horizon Europe

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 Mission area: Climate-neutral and smart cities proposes to 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 is represented in the Mission Assembly, which aims to provide an additional pool of ideas, knowledge and expertise to the mission.

ERRIN has taken an active role in shaping the Mission on Climate Neutral and Smart Cities. Driven by the Smart Cities working group leaders, ERRIN is closely following the work of the Mission Board. Input has been provided in the form of a draft contribution (end 2019) and a more extensive input paper (April 2020), which provides recommendations in relation to the ambitions, financing, selection process and set up of the Mission, while also putting forward practical suggestions on implementation.


Adaptation to climate change including societal transformation

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, through a three-layered approach. The three objectives are to prepare all citizens for climate disruptions, to build resilience, and to upscale solutions through 100 deep demonstrators, and accelerate the transition in 200 pilot regions and communities.

ERRIN has developed an input document which follows an exchange with Mission Board Chair held earlier this year.  

Green leaves

By 2030, more than 3 million lives saved, living longer and better

Cancer is one of Europe’s five major societal challenges and the projection is that, without strong action, the number of diagnosed cases will increase by a fourth by 2035. Across Europe, the possibility of receiving a timely cancer diagnosis and of surviving the disease differs a lot because of inequalities in access to knowledge, prevention, diagnostics, treatments, and care.

To address this, the goal of the mission has been formulated in the following way: “by 2030, more than 3 million lives saved, living longer and better”. In its interim report, the Mission Board proposed five intervention areas: i) understanding ii) prevention iii) diagnosis and treatment iv) quality of life v) equitable access.

The regional and local dimension

In healthcare – including research, prevention, treatment, and monitoring – regional and local authorities are vital actors as they lead, promote, and financially support research and innovation agendas, while also acting as health and care providers. As such, they play a crucial role in heath and care innovation, research, and deployment, and should therefore be central in the design and implementation of the mission on cancer.

In July 2020, the Health WG organised a webinar to discuss the development of the mission on cancer with one of the Mission Board members.

In October 2020 ERRIN's Health WG 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 and is anticipating the publication of the implementation plan during EU R&I Days 2021. 

Go to the dedicated webpage to read more.

(Image source: Conquering Cancer. Mission possible: Interim report of the Mission Board for Cancer)

Structure of the Horizon Europe mission on cancer

Regenerating our oceans 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.  

Taking a holistic approach to address the water system as a whole, the Mission Board proposes five targets in its interim report: i) generate and organise the necessary science and data ii) tackle pollution iii) sustainable use and management of aquatic resources iv) accelerate decarbonisation v) improve effective governance.

The regional and local dimension

The governance of our oceans and waters is a fragmented framework spread over all levels – from international to local. Regional and local authorities and stakeholders will be an important player in the development and steering to create more coherence and efficient cooperation both in terms of investments and research and innovation agendas.

In July 2020, the Blue Growth WG organised a webinar to discuss the development of the mission on healthy oceans, seas, coastal and inland waters with the European Commission and a member of the Mission Board.

Throughout 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. 

Learn more on the dedicated Starfish Mission page

(Image source: Regenerating our Ocean and Waters by 2030 - Interim report of the Mission Board Healthy Oceans, Seas, Coastal and Inland Waters)

Structure of the Horizon Europe mission on healthy oceans

By 2030, at least 75% of all soils in each EU Member State are healthy, i.e. are able to provide essential ecosystem services

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.

The mission portfolio includes four main pillars:

  1. an ambitious cross-scale, inter and transdisciplinary R&I programme
  2. co-creation and sharing in Living Laboratories and Lighthouses within and across farms and forest, landscape, and urban settings
  3. a robust soil monitoring programme by each MS equivalent to that for other natural resources (air, water, and biodiversity) using agreed methodologies including selected indicators
  4. communication and citizen engagement embedded into all activities.

The regional and local dimension

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.

The mission also aims to focus on mobilising and creating an enabling environment for sustainable soil management throughout the EU looking at public policies, investments, citizen engagement, and information campaigns, where the regional and local levels are crucial to achieve long-lasting impact. The activities carried out within the mission will also have clear links to regional and urban climate adaptation policies and actions.

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 anticipating the publication of the implementation plan at EU R&I Days 2021. 

Structure of the Horizon Europe mission on healthy soil

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ERRIN & EUREGHA joint statement on Horizon Europe Mission on Cancer

ERRIN and the network of European Regional and Local Health Authorities (EUREGHA) have released a statement on the Horizon Europe Mission on Cancer, calling for the regional dimension of the Mission to be clearly defined and included in its design and implementation.

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ERRIN & EUREGHA joint statement on Horizon Europe Mission on Cancer

Please find attached ERRIN and the network of European Regional and Local Health Authorities (EUREGHA)'s joint statement on the Horizon Europe Mission on Cancer.