What is new in Horizon Europe? 8 prerequisites you must know – no. 1.

Sophie Glaser-Deruelle

Sophie Glaser-Deruelle

Senior Consultant

The Three Pillars in Horizon Europe.

Horizon Europe is a €100bn grant funding programme spanning 2021 to 2027 – our blog series provides you with 8 prerequisites you must understand to be successful.

In this, the 1st of our 8 blogs, we are focusing on Horizon Europe’s Three Pillar structure. In short, the three pillars in Horizon Europe refers to the funding structure and the funding body focus.

Horizon Europe is a funding opportunity that every SME (Small Medium Enterprise), Public Body, Research Institution and Citizen Group could benefit from. We at IFE understand that the new Horizon Europe funding programme can also be confusing – there are new requirements and areas of focus compared with Horizon 2020. Once you have read this short blog series you will understand what is new in Horizon Europe.

Following the structure of Horizon 2020, Horizon Europe is using a similar structure of three pillars to allocate it’s funding and highlight it’s priorities. Horizon 2020’s pillars were:

  • Pillar I: Excellent science
  • Pillar II: Industrial leadership
  • Pillar III: Societal challenges

Horizon Europe builds and elaborates on these:

Pillar I: Excellent Science, €25.8bn

Noteworthy is that Pillar I remains broadly unchanged from Horizon 2020 to Horizon Europe. This indicates that not only was this a successful structure., but also that it remains a key EU funding priority, reinforced by the announcement that the ERC (European Research Council, funded Under Pillar I), would launch the first Horizon Europe funding in February 2021. Pillar I is focused on reinforcing and extending the excellence of Science in the EU, funding projects for the European Research Council (ERC) on frontier research, Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions for researchers, and Research Infrastructures in the EU to create more integrated and inter-connected scientific hubs.

Pillar II: Global Challenges & European Industrial Competitiveness, €52.7bn

This Pillar combines two previous pillars (II & III) from Horizon 2020 and modifies them to focus on tackling societal issues through the six Global challenges, combining this with European Industrial competitiveness with a key focus on boosting key technologies and solutions underpinning EU policies, the Green Deal & Sustainable Development. Pillar II is also the key area where the overarching themes of “Widening Participation and Strengthening the European Research Area” are most obvious.

Pillar III: Innovative Europe, €1.5bn

This pillar will focus on stimulating market-creating breakthroughs and ecosystems conducive to innovation, it will fund activities under the European Innovation Council (EIC Pathfinder & Accelerator), and more generally under the  European innovation ecosystems (connecting regional and National innovation actors), and the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT KIC programmes), bringing key researchers, education centres and businesses together around a common goal for nurturing innovation.

Key Changes

The major changes from Horizon 2020 to Horizon Europe are the following:

  • Secure society will now be addressed outside of the three pillars,
  • The EIC funded under Pillar III will provided blended and grant support (piloted in H2020)
  • Widening of participation with additional measures (Simplified architecture, and toolbox, a more coherent project life cycle approach, and Co-programmed, Co-funded and Institutionalised approaches)
  • And the new strategic planning approach will be enacted enabling the EC to facilitate project implementation.

While the Three Pillars structure remains, it has been updated and revamped with clear lessons learned from Horizon 2020 implementation.

Here are some useful links to more information about the topics in this blog:

  • The main Horizon Europe Page is here.
  • Find live calls for funding here.
  • A breakdown of funding by pillar in Horizon Europe is here.

Learn more about Impact Funding Europe here.


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Sophie Glaser-Deruelle

Senior Consultant

Sophie is a mission-driven, analytic, and reliable consultant. Her focus is on the development of projects, and writing public funding bids and grant proposals for R&D. She holds an MA in International Relations and European Studies and has a strong background in SME development and enabling SMEs and Start-ups to access markets and funding. Sophie has over 10 years of experience in EU funding and project implementation including international project development, tender and funding proposal writing, policy development, implementation, and project management. At IFE, Sophie is a Senior Consultant and Project Development expert. She aids companies in defining their R&D needs and aligning them to calls, this includes ideation and development of projects, consortium building and writing proposals for EU funding.

Olaf Gerd Gemein


Olaf is an entrepreneur since more than 35 years.

Peter Schottes

Eisenschmidt Consulting

Peter holds a PhD in nature science (climate impact research), worked as a project manager for software development and as a freelance consultant. He is managing director and shareholder of Eisenschmidt Consulting Crew in Kiel, Germany. He is a specialist in transformation projects and works as a sparring partner for top executives. His focus in on strategy development, digital transformation and concept development. Peter is active as advisor for StartUps and Angel investor. At IFE he overlooks the entire process of community building, stakeholder management and is also responsible for the project kick-offs.

Alex Chalkley


Alex has a BSc in Mathematics, Economics & Computing and has already built a market-leading R&D Funding Consultancy in the UK from 2009 to 2019. Alex has developed funding bids, mainly in the form of R&D Grant Applications, that have secured over €60m for clients operating at the forefront of technology innovation. Venturenomix, focuses on supporting Impact Ventures by offering specialist funding related consultancy services to ambitious people seeking funding for good projects. At IFE, Alex is Managing Director and responsible for all aspects of the business, in particular recruiting, mentoring and adding value to the EU Grant Writing Consultants working on multi-million Euro EU Grant Applications.

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