The European Commission decides upon the orientations for Horizon Europe Programme
On 15 March the Commission published the Strategic Plan 2021-2024 for Horizon Europe. The Plan outlines the strategic orientations which will guide investments under the first four years of Horizon Europe’s execution. Accordingly, the Plan guarantees that its research and innovation (R&I) actions contribute to EU priorities and that investment allocation is done adequately.
In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and the light, this has shed on multiple vulnerabilities in the healthcare sector, Horizon Europe will invest significantly in high priority areas, including innovative solutions and digital transformation in health. it will also aim to ensure cooperation between universities, scientific communities, industry, including small and medium enterprises, as well as citizens and their representatives.
The Strategic Plan’s four key orientations are the following:
- Promoting an open strategic autonomy by leading the development of key digital, enabling and emerging technologies, sectors and value chains;
- Restoring Europe’s ecosystems and biodiversity, and managing sustainably natural resources;
- Making Europe the first digitally enabled circular, climate-neutral and sustainable economy; and
- Creating a more resilient, inclusive and democratic European society.
For each key orientation, Horizon Europe’s health cluster plays a significant role, primarily in terms of developing new, innovative and digital health technologies which will support the transformation towards more resilient healthcare systems for EU Member States.
Moreover, the Plan includes impacts summaries for each specific Horizon Europe cluster, outlining the expected impacts it will bring along and how the EU plans to cooperate on an international level per cluster. Expected impacts include, but are not limited to:
- Ensuring access to innovative, sustainable and high-quality health care;
- Unlocking the full potential of new tools, technologies and digital solutions for a healthy society;
- Maintaining an innovative, sustainable and globally competitive health-related industry;
- Open strategic autonomy in digital technologies and in future emerging enabling technologies; and
- A human-centred and ethical development of digital and industrial technologies.
All in all, a clear focus on digitalisation, data-usage and R&I in healthcare is identified within the presented orientation of Horizon Europe. In line with this focus, it is also notable that a personalised approach to all stages of healthcare, especially treatment, seems to be gaining in importance during the coming years under the Programme’s activities. For these reasons, combined with the budget estimations for the health cluster of €948M for 2021 and €914.3M for 2022, expectations for improving and making the health sector more resilient through innovative solutions are ambitious for Horizon Europe to help realise. This all the more underlines how Horizon Europe will be a key asset for the Avicenna Alliance to put forward the development of in-silico technologies as a great solution for improving health system resilience!