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. In October 2020 ERRIN submitted its input paper on the Horizon Europe missions. Below you will find more information about our work on the different missions.

EU missions

ERRIN's messages on Horizon Europe Missions Work Programmes 2023-2024

May 2022

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 Arianna Cecchi

Region partner search for HORIZON call on climate resilience through NBS

Building a consortium of CONTINENTAL Regions to bid on a call to support the road to climate resilience through widespread adoption of Nature-Based Solutions

  • By Loes Rutten

Amsterdam UAS & CraFt call for NEB/NetZeroMission cities

The European Mission on Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities is leading the way for urban climate neutrality by 2030, with 112 cities acting as hubs of experimentation and innovation and many more following in their footsteps. The CrAFt (Creating Actionable Futures) platform will help cities to make their climate-neutral transformations beautiful, inclusive and sustainable. Running until 2025, CrAFt supports the implementation of the Cities Mission, the NetZeroCities Mission Platform and the New European Bauhaus (NEB). We are looking for 70 CrAFt Cities that want to test and share models of transformation with us, receive implementation support and become role models for cities across Europe. The deadline for proposals is 9 September 2022. For further details regarding the application process, please refer to the Annex and then fill in and submit the Expression of Interest form.

  • By Ewa Chomicz

Guidance on synergies between Horizon Europe and ERDF is out

The guidance on new opportunities to maximise the synergies between Horizon Europe and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) programmes was published by the European Commission on 5 July 2022. The document intends to provide a practical and user-friendly approach.

  • By Gianpiero Petruzziello

Follow up on Knowledge Exchange Platform (KEP 2.0) workshop

The European Committee of the Regions and the European Commission DG RTD held on 22 June in Brussels the first Knowledge Exchange Platform (KEP) event of the year, focusing on the way ahead for building synergies for successful green and digital transitions. ERRIN Director Pirita Lindholm moderated the panel discussion on ‘ongoing and future strategies and initiatives’.

  • By Ewa Chomicz

ERRIN and over 50 network members among the first to join and endorse the Adaptation Mission

The European Commission announced today the first 118 regions and local authorities to join the Mission Adaptation to Climate Change by signing the Mission Charter, including over 50 ERRIN member regions and cities. First organisations to endorse the Mission and become Friends of the Mission were also revealed, among which the ERRIN network.

  • 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.