Skip to main content
EU Urban Mobility Observatory
News article23 December 20213 min read

Commission adopts amended Horizon Europe work programme 2021-2022 for the Missions

On 15 December 2021, the amended version of the Horizon Europe Work Programme 21-22 for the Missions was adopted.

Missions aim to address some of the greatest challenges facing our society. They are bold and inspirational with clear objectives that are time-bound, realistic, measurable and targeted.

Rooted in research and innovation, missions aim to tackle societal challenges with systemic solutions, leading to societal transformations and social impact.

Missions will help deliver key EU policy priorities such as the European Green Deal, Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan, NextGenerationEU, the EU Industrial Strategy and A Europe fit for the Digital Age, amongst others.

Missions are a novel instrument in Horizon Europe - the Framework Programme for Research and Innovation. For their successful implementation they will work in synergy and coordination with other missions, parts of Horizon Europe, in particular with European Partnerships and Clusters, and including also bottom-up parts such as the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions, the European Institute of Innovation and Technology or the European Research Council, as well as with other EU funding instruments and policies. Furthermore, they will need to be implemented in close synergy with funding, programmes and strategies both at Member State / Associated Country and regional level, as well as with civil society and the private sector.

Five mission areas have been included in the Horizon Europe. Mission boards, comprised of external experts with a wide variety of backgrounds, have been established to advise the Commission on possible missions within the scope of these areas. On the basis of reports from the five mission boards, the Commission has identified the following titles for missions in the Horizon Europe Strategic Plan, subject to further refinement:

  • Adaptation to Climate Change;
  • Cancer;
  • Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities;
  • Ocean, Seas and Waters;
  • Soil Health and Food.

The five identified missions have gone through a preparatory phase, during which implementations plans were developed, which included detailed objectives, specific interventions, investment strategy and performance indicators for each mission. The implementation plans have been assessed against objective criteria 1 and all missions have now entered full implementation.

This work programme part contains actions for each of the five missions during their preparatory phase, and has now been updated with the full R&I agendaas missions have entered their implementation phase. The actions included in this work programme have established the foundations and they are now supporting the missions’ implementation phase.

Critical to the success of the missions will be the extent of wide engagement across the EU and Associated Countries and beyond. To facilitate this, an action to develop a network coordinating complementary actions for missions is proposed, with the possibility that this might be extended at a later date with national hubs.

Furthermore, in 2022, additional horizontal actions will be programmed to ensure coordination and synergies across the five missions.

To achieve their objectives, missions may necessitate societal engagement that goes beyond dialogue and leads to action. They may call for the involvement of not only citizens, but also academics, entrepreneurs, social partners and public administrators as co-designers, co-developers, and co-implementers. In addition, they may require changes in societal practices at European scale at an unprecedented speed.

To address these specific needs and to promote synergies across the activities and constituencies of the Missions, the Commission intends to set up in 2022 a European Social Catalyst fund. The Catalyst would enlist experts in social innovation and leverage additional public and private money. These experts would select the most promising existing, demonstrably successful social innovations for the replication and upscaling of these social innovations in service of the Missions.

To see the full publication, download here.

The Call for the Cities Mission

Two new calls for the Cities Missions will contribute to the implementation of the Climate-neutral and Smart Cities Mission by providing support to cities to achieve climate neutrality.

Actions under these calls will cover a wide range of subjects such as urban planning and design for climate-neutral cities, sustainable urban mobility, positive and clean energy districts.

The first call will be open on 11 January 2022 – 26 April 2022, with an overall indicative budget of EUR 117 million. The second call will be open 28 April 2022 – 6 September 2022, with an indicative budget of EUR 42 million. In addition, support in the range of EUR 81 million will be provided to the scale-up of the Mission Platform that will in turn help cities in their journey towards climate-neutrality.



Publication date
23 December 2021
  • Policy and research
  • Europe-wide