Impact – the core novelty of Horizon Europe

Even if we can’t exactly consider Horizon Europe programme new anymore (this being its third year), it is crucial to understand its differences from H2020 when approaching our proposal writing process.

At the first glance, Horizon Europe might seem like it hasn’t transformed a lot compared to its successful predecessor – Horizon 2020. However, on a closer look, we can see how many details have been added or changed, leading us all in one and the same direction – more focus on the impact.  

In 2020, European Commissioner Mariya Gabriel said “Horizon Europe is to be the biggest and most ambitious EU Research Innovation programme ever. It builds on the success of Horizon 2020. It improves it further by fostering stronger support to breakthrough innovation through the European Innovation Council, by creating greater impact through R&I missions and by streamlining partnerships landscape”. 

Horizon Europe's objectives highlight the need to foster the impact of research and innovation by supporting the implementation of the European Union's policies and communicating global challenges such as the climate crisis and the Sustainable Development Goals. And this high-level policy approach is reflected in practice: from the new structure of the Work Programmes to the Dissemination reporting – and everything in between – we can see that the changes that were made compared to the old programme are leading us into approaching the impact and legacy of our projects in a more systematic and forward-thinking way. 

Horizon2020 was undoubtedly a successful programme, but it is clear that the Commission wants not only more visibility of the project results, but what’s most important – more exploitation. Even though the structure may seem more complex now (with Destinations and Key Strategic Orientations), it is in fact easier to understand the difference between the outcomes (which are expected to be achieved in the duration of the project) and the impact (to which we just contribute, along with other projects funded under the same destination, in the long term). 

Even if we can’t exactly consider Horizon Europe programme new anymore (this being its third year), it is crucial to understand these changes when approaching our proposal writing process, to analyse all the changes it brought about and what will affect our proposals, implementation and reporting (which we have yet to experience).  

The Impact is the most "political" section of your proposal. It should be aligned and reflect the EU's policy priorities! How to understand the impact section, find and analyse European policies that we need to address, which documents to read through and how to make sure that our outcomes and impact are sufficiently ambitious, yet realistic – all of these are the topics you can find out more about during our Horizon Europe Academy – The Masters Part I Proposal Writing, in Amsterdam on 21-22 March. Check out the agenda and register here

Join us and let’s tackle the Impact section together! 

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