EPSO welcomes the European Commission consultation and provides input on the achievements and suggests where improve Horizon Europe and the next Framework Programme (FP) to have a higher impact. 

The European Research and Innovation FPs are crucial to enable scientists and innovators across Europe to collaborate to generate knowledge, to apply this knowledge to address today’s and future challenges and to help build a strong, competitive and resilient, inclusive and democratic European society and improve life on earth.

Plant scientists took an active role in the EU FPs from the start and want to contribute in the future.

They are active in pillar 1, mainly in the European Research Council and the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions, both working very well.

They could contribute more to pillar 2, particularly in cluster 6 on Food, bioeconomy, natural resources, agriculture and environment. To this end, we suggest the following improvements:

  • Further implement the following concepts:
    • Address Food and Nutritional Security, environmental sustainability, biodiversity (natural and cultivated) and human health in parallel as much as possible.
    • Improve / adapt crops towards ‘Diverse crops for diverse diets and human health and resilient production’.
    • ‘Combine approaches on crop improvement, crop management and crop processing’.
    • Policy makers should define the goals but leave the pathways to how to achieve these open to the stakeholders
  • Create a new heading ‘Enabling sustainable crop improvement’ in the Work Programme and / or partnership ‘CropBooster-Quest’:
    • CropBooster-Quest – Plant (systems) biology, crop improvement and plant breeding to achieve a critical mass investment enabling the community to substantially help addressing the challenges mentioned above and interacting with partnerships on biodiversity, agroecology, food systems.
    • To bridge the gap until a new partnership can be active, add the heading ‘Enabling sustainable crop improvement’ in the Work Programme.
  • Better link the health cluster (1) with the food, agriculture, biotechnology cluster (6) to truly enable plant biologists, breeders, processors, nutritional scientist and health experts to interdisciplinary research and innovation to improve nutritional compounds in plants for the human diet, which are then further protected during crop processing and human digestion. In addition, plant made pharmaceuticals can be co-developed for medical purposes.

 All scientists would benefit from more general improvements in pillar 2 across all disciplines and sectors:

  • Types of action: Add Research Actions (RAs) in pillar 2 to overcome the gap of collaborative basic research and complete the research and innovation cycle.
  • Identify funding priorities: Consult European academic associations. Define the goals, but not the pathways to how to reach these to truly enable innovation.
  • Implementation procedures: Increase trust in and flexibility for beneficiaries.

In the EPSO position paper we briefly explain each of these recommendations.

EPSO looks forward to further discuss and help implement these recommendations with colleagues from the European Commission and the Member State ministries and funders.

Click here to read: Full EPSO position paper on Horizon Europe and beyond

EPSO submission to the EC consultation is available here


Karin Metzlaff, EPSO Executive Director, BE

Odd Arne Rognli, NMBU, NO & EPSO President