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Leveraging synergies to fund our greatest innovation challenges


The European Commission's adoption of the 2025-27 Horizon Europe Strategic Plan during the recent Research and Innovation Days event in Brussels shed light on a crucial aspect of EU policy making: how we fund projects to tackle global challenges.

At the heart of this discussion is Horizon Europe, the EU's programme to support the research and innovation that will make our world more sustainable, resilient and equitable. Alone, however, one funding programme cannot support all the projects needed. Synergies across policies and with other funding programmes are essential – and leveraging these is the key to unlocking the investments necessary to make critical advancements and amplify their collective impact.

The R&I support framework offers many synergies addressing the various stages of the R&I cycle, from capacity-building upstream, helping researchers get better at applying for funding, to downstream deployment of research outcomes, making sure the results of their projects benefit other programmes and initiatives. Member States may also reallocate resources from shared programmes to Horizon Europe, fostering cumulative funding and bolstering European partnerships. Initiatives like the Seal of Excellence also underscore the value of quality proposals, helping them attract support from alternative sources.

Navigating the intricacies of the R&I support framework remains a challenge, however, compounded by fragmented project information and insufficient guidance.

The Commission's efforts to bridge this gap, exemplified by the 2022 Communication on ERDF and Horizon Europe synergies, aim to empower national managing authorities with clear directives for programme alignment. In addition, regulatory frameworks provide detailed blueprints for synergy integration across various EU programmes, extending from maritime policy to labour market reskilling.

Synergies are possible across a multitude of EU funding programmes, each with their own strategies for helping Europe. The challenge lies in understanding how to leverage them for best impact, creating more opportunities for researchers, and bringing more innovative projects and solutions to market.

How can we help?

As the world faces unprecedented challenges, the importance of research and innovation cannot be overstated.

At Schuman Associates, we believe in creating a better future for all by delivering greater impact from excellent research and innovation. We offer expert knowledge of the opportunities offered by Horizon Europe and the synergies that can be created with other programmes, such as the Digital Europe programme, Erasmus+ and the CEF programme.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to discuss how we can help bring your innovative project to life.

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