EU funding

Get familiar with European funding programmes that support research and innovation projects.

Horizon Europe (HE)

Horizon Europe (HE) is the European framework programme for research and innovation (2021-2027) with a budget of 95.5 billion euros. HE strengthens the EU's scientific and technological bases to build a sustainable, healthy, digital, safe and inclusive future. The programme fosters the collaboration at all levels of R&I, from university to industry, to boost the Union's competitiveness. This is done with the goal to generate a durable impact for all citizens.

This programme is constructed around three pillars and an additional transversal component to support the research activities. In addition to this, Horizon Europe incorporates five missions to deal with clearly defined challenges

The first pillar focuses on the development of fundamental research through a bottom-up approach where scientist at different stadium of their career can propose innovative projects. This pillar is divided into three parts:

  • To conduct frontier research by the best researchers and; their teams.
  • To equip researchers with new knowledge and skills through mobility and training.
  • To integrate and inter-connect world-class research infrastructures.

The second pillar boosts key technological innovation to bring solutions that can solve global challenges. This pillar is based on a top to bottom approach where the goals of the projects are defined by the European Commission. The different research themes are divided into six clusters :

  • Aims at improving our understanding of health and diseases to improve their management with the outlook towards the digitalisation of healthcare for a person-centred and accessible system.
  • Aims at reinforcing European democratic values, safeguard our cultural heritage and promoting socio-economic transformations that contribute to inclusion and growth.
  • Responds to the persistent security threats, including cybercrime to improve the mitigation procedures and infrastructure resilience.
  • Stimulates the competitivity of European industry by developing a digital, low-carbon and circular industry to ensure a sustainable supply of raw materials and develop advanced materials.
  • Tackles climate change through a better understanding of its causes, evolution, risks, impacts and opportunities. It focuses on the energy and transport sectors to make them climate neutral and resilient.
  • Aims at reducing environmental degradation, protecting biodiversity and sustainably managing natural resources to guarantee food and water accessibility.

  • In addition to the clusters, the second pillar comprises the Joint Research Center  which provides science-based support for the policies adopted by the European Commission.

The third pillar supports the transformation of new technologies to market disrupting innovations. It allows for a smooth transition from concept to marketable product. This pillar is composed of three bodies:

  • Promotes disruptive innovation with the potential to scale up internationally and become market leaders.
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  • Aims to improve the connectivity and efficiency of the innovation ecosystem by stimulating the cooperation at all levels of innovation from local to international actors.
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  • Connects the three main innovation actors, business, education and research organisations to promote a fruitful collaboration.
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The work done under this pillar is not covered by the NCP federal BE team. We can provide some information about this pillar and will redirect you to the appropriate Belgian NCP network if needed.

In addition to the three pillars of Horizon Europe, the transversal part works at increasing the participation in European R&I projects while supporting the national policies at the European level. This is done with a particular focus on the development of Open Science. These two objectives are:
  • Contributes to increasing the R&I capacity of countries lagging behind. This will increase their ability to reach the excellence aimed at by European projects and participate in transnational R&I processes.
  • Looks at reinforcing and complementing national research policies with EU-level policies.


Horizon Europe also incorporates five missions to bring concrete solutions  to some of the greatest challenges by 2030. They are defined to support the priorities set by the European Commission:

  • Adaptation to Climate change  focuses on supporting the adaptation of EU regions to build resilience against the impact of climate change;
  • Cancer : aims at improving the lives of over 3 million people through prevention, detection and cure of those affected by cancer including their loved ones;
  • Restore our Ocean and Waters  to protect and restore the health of European water bodies;
  • Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities  are a key target to reduce global emission and offer cleaner air, safer transport, less congestion and noise to their citizens;
  • Soil deal for Europe  aims at the establishment of 100 living labs to safeguard of our soil for future generations.

Digital Europe

The Digital Europe programme is the European framework programme for the digital transformation of our society and economy (2021-2027) with a budget of 7.5 billion euros.

This programme shapes our digital future to channel its uptake by businesses, public administration and citizens. With the goal of ensuring Europe’s technological sovereignty, it will ensure the development of European made digital technologies.

The Digital Europe programme is addressing five key areas of digital development which are complementing the Horizon Europe programme. The five areas which are provided strategic funding are:

  • Supercomputing to build up and strengthen the EU’s supercomputing and data processing capacities and reach exascale supercomputing;
  • Artificial Intelligence to open up its use by businesses and public administrations;
  • Cybersecurity to reach a high common level of protection from malicious cyber activities;
  • Advanced digital skills to fund the design and delivery of specialized programmes and traineeships for future digital experts;
  • Deployment to ensure a wide use of digital technologies across the economy and society