Bright light for European forest-based sector at the horizon of FP9

The European Commission’s budget breakdown proposal for the next research Framework Programme, Horizon Europe, is out. Good news: From a total of around € 100 billion, it devotes € 40 billion to areas of interest for the forest-based sector. 

As previously presented by the Commission, Horizon Europe will mainly consist of three pillars covering “clusters” of policy challenges for which the Commission needs solutions through research and innovation. Pillar One, “Open Science”, would receive € 25.8 billion including the European Research Council, Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions and Research Infrastructures. The biggest slice of the budget, € 52.7 billion, would go to Pillar Two, “Global Challenges and Industrial Competitiveness”. Three out of five clusters within this pillar include themes related to the further development of the forest-based bioeconomy worth € 40 billion altogether. These clusters are:

•    Digital and industry, € 15 billion
•    Climate, energy and mobility, € 15 billion
•    Food and natural resources, € 10 billion 

Pillar Three, “Open Innovation”, would get € 13.5 billion, including the new European Innovation Council as well as a budget for “European innovation ecosystems”. The proposal will require many rounds of examination before final adoption. It will need unanimous agreement from the EU’s Member States and consent from the Parliament. Managing Director of FTP, Johan Elvnert: “If the proposed budget for Horizon Europe survives the EU decision-making process, a 50% increase of R&I funding opportunities for the forest-based sector can be expected compared to the current Framework Programme, Horizon 2020”.