Horizon Europe is something not only for the larger companies but also for the SMEs. When you are networking with larger stakeholders, you will have an access to the tables around which you can present your expertise to your potential customers as well. It is easy to see that without participating also in this kind of EU projects together with European partners many doors would remain closed to smaller enterprises!

The European Commission published in June 2018 its proposal for Horizon Europe, an ambitious €100 billion research and innovation programme that will succeed Horizon 2020 in the coming years 2021 - 2027. The proposal was made as part of the EU's proposal for the next EU long-term budget, the multiannual financial framework (MFF). Various elements were taken into account including the interim evaluation of Horizon 2020, the so-called Lamy report as well as various other reports.

According to Commission`s proposal Horizon Europe will introduce the following main new features:
• A European Innovation Council (EIC)
• New EU-wide research and innovation missions focusing on societal challenges and
• Maximising the innovation potential across the EU
• More openness
• A new generation of European Partnerships and increased collaboration with other EU programmes

Regarding financing of innovative projects this instrument will become even more important than it already is (Horizon 2020). At this point, it seems that the structural funds will have less money at their disposal in the future for our regions, especially in Northern and Eastern Finland. Northern Sweden will have it presumably a little bit better. In any case, we shall learn to take the full use of Horizon and other instruments!

These conditions will present a challenge to our enterprises and other actors. For example, networking and openness will have even bigger meaning than they already have, you have to think wider (out-of-the box!) in order to get maximal use of the money available. In addition, it must bear in minds that it only depends on ourselves how much money we will get for our innovation processes, the finance is not already allocated to different member states as it is with the EU structural funds!

Sami Kaarto

Office Manager, NIHAK / Europe Direct Oulu South

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