Horizon Europe is the EU’s key funding programme for research and innovation. It has been designed to tackle climate change, help to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and boosts the EU’s competitiveness and growth.
Within the Horizon Europe programme structure, the Pillar II on Global Challenges and European Industrial Competitiveness features Cluster 5 on ‘Climate, Energy and Mobility’, which addresses the acceleration of green and digital transitions. The areas of intervention include energy supply; energy systems and grids; communities and cities; industrial competitiveness in transport; clean, safe and accessible transport and mobility; smart mobility; and energy storage, among others.
The implementation of Cluster 5-related mobility actions works via several partnerships related to transport: co-programmed partnerships (Towards Zero-Emission Road Transport; Batteries; Zero-Emission Waterborne Transport; Connected, Cooperative and Automated Mobility), co-funded partnership (Driving Urban Transitions to a sustainable future) and institutional partnerships (Clean Hydrogen and Europe’s Rail).
The EU Missions are a novelty among EU research and innovation programmes. Missions encompass a set of measures to achieve bold, inspirational and measurable goals within a set timeframe. There are 5 main mission areas as part of Horizon Europe. One of them is ‘Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities’, involving local authorities, citizens, businesses and investors to deliver 100 climate-neutral and smart cities by 2030. The actions envisaged are to provide a strong and direct support to cities that will commit to climate neutrality and enable them to roll out their climate action plans and achieve climate neutrality by 2030, in synergy with significant progress towards zero pollution.
The main objective of the City Mission will be to deliver 100 climate-neutral and smart cities by 2030, as well as to ensure that these cities act as experimentation and innovation hubs to enable all European cities to follow suit by 2050.
The Mission Platform will provide the necessary technical, regulatory and financial assistance to cities, investing in research and innovation actions, including in mobility, energy, and urban planning. This initiative is financed with a €360 million Horizon Europe budget throughout the period of 2021-23.