Viewpoint: What are the true budget gains in Horizon Europe?

A closer look reveals the increase is relatively modest and does not convincingly reflect the claimed ambitions.

Ever since the European Commission presented its proposal for the next EU research programme, Horizon Europe, for the 2021 to 2027 period, the proposed budget has been a very controversial issue.

I want to attempt to put the debate on a more solid ground by trying to calculate truly comparable budget figures – I’ll look at the 2011 budget proposal for the current EU research programme, Horizon 2020, the resulting Horizon 2020 regulation from 2013 and the new Horizon Europe proposal.

The results reveal a somewhat different overall picture compared to the media coverage and public debate around Horizon Europe so far.

When the Commission presented Horizon Europe, on June 7, one of the headline messages from the press material was a total budget for €100 billion and a massive increase in funding for research and innovation over the years to come, making Horizon Europe “the most ambitious programme ever”.

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