EPSO welcomes the EC First Draft Implementation Strategy for Horizon Europe and offers to collaborate with the European Commission, the Member States, and stakeholders to finalise and implement it.

 EPSO congratulates the EC for defining expected impacts (goals), but not the path to get there, inspiring innovative comprehensive solutions.

EPSO fully supports including the UN SDGs in the Key Impact Factors, encouraging co-benefits and also a comprehensive approach to address several SDGs in parallel – e.g. Food and Nutritional Security, environmental sustainability, and human health.

Regarding the level of TRLs in collaborative research, EPSO urges closing the R&I cycle by giving stronger support to basic research in there, thus becoming equivalent to applied research, demonstration and innovation actions.

EPSO appreciates increasing transparency and simplification, particularly a more concrete, simplified approach regarding the budgetary responsibility to truly encourage and enable interdisciplinary projects across intervention areas and clusters to address the UN SDGs and achieve co-benefits. Examples EPSO suggests are concepts like ‘diverse crops for diverse diets and human health and resilient production’, as well as ‘combined approaches on crop improvement, crop management and crop processing’.

As challenges and science are global, EPSO welcomes further improving international cooperation.

Fostering synergies with other EU spending programmes, particularly allowing accumulation of funds from different programmes in one project is most appreciated by scientists and can help to widen participation.

Finally, EPSO encourages the EC to ease access and outreach, as outreach and stakeholder engagement are key to public appreciation and support of the R&I efforts we undertake. EPSO is happy to discuss our experience with stakeholder engagement, arts & science, and the Fascination of Plants Day with the EC to truly enable scientists to better engage with the public throughout the R&I process.

 We provide further insight on how these concepts can benefit the implementation of the strategy and on how plant scientists can contribute to this in the Annex of the full statement.

Click here to read: Full EPSO statement 3.6.2020


  • Karin Metzlaff, EPSO, BE
  • Alan Schulman, LUKE, FI & EPSO President