Mission Boards: a novelty in Horizon Europe

Amongst novelties foreseen in Horizon Europe, the next framework-programme for research and innovation of the European Union: the creation of specific Missions to tackle great societal challenges. The European Commission launched a call for expression of interest to recruit experts for the first “Mission Boards”.

Missions of research and innovation

Horizon Europe foresees the creation of R&I Missions under Pilar II (Global Challenges and Industrial Competitiveness). Missions aim at responding to great contemporary challenges that directly concern European citizens with a novel approach.

Among other things, Missions will be in charge of defining a portfolio of projects and calls for proposals to tackle the related challenge in a cross-cutting and strategic way. They will arise from collaboration between the European Union (Commission, Parliament, Member States…), stakeholders – including the civil society – and citizens.

It should be mentioned that Future and Emerging Technologies (FET) flagships have similar characteristics as Missions. Therefore, the FET flagships foreseen under Horizon Europe will be implemented with the same modalities.

The composition of Missions Boards

For co-designing and steering this novel approach, Mission Boards will be established ad hoc. Each committee, for each mission, will be composed of 15 high-level independent experts to provide a strategic expertise.

The selected members will come from complementary and diverse sectors (researchers, industrials, end-users, publics decision makers…). As well as cross-cutting areas – including Social Sciences and Humanities – for a global approach.

The role of Mission Board members will be extremely important. In particular, they will advise the European Commission on the content of Work Programmes and calls for proposals, in order to respond better to the specific challenges of each mission.

The European Commission is looking for experts!

The European Commission has launched a call for expression of interest for members of the first five Mission Boards, which 1st phase will be implemented in the 2nd semester of 2019. Applications are individual and interested experts can apply to several Mission Boards.

The call targets the 5 following Missions:

  • Adaptation to Climate Change, including Societal Transformation,
  • Cancer,
  • Healthy Oceans, Seas, Coastal and Inland Waters
  • Climate-neutral and Smart Cities
  • Soil Health and Food

During this 1st phase, the selected experts will help identify, specify and design specific tasks to implement their Mission, including indicators and objectives. The call was opened opened until 16 June 2019. The Commission will announce the selected experts, and hence, the full composition of the mission boards by the end of July 2019. (Update: the list of selected experts, as announced on 30 July 2019).

Update: The presidents of the 5 Mission Boards

Early July, the European Commission announced the outstanding experts who will chair each mission board:

  • Adaptation to Climate Change: Connie Hedegaard (Denmark), former European Commissioner for Climate Action,
  • Cancer: Harald zur Hausen (Germany), Nobel Prize Laureate in Physiology or Medicine in 2008,
  • Healthy Oceans, Seas, Coastal and Inland Waters: Pascal Lamy (France), former Trade Commissioner and Director-General of the WTO,
  • Climate-neutral and Smart Cities: Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz (Poland), former Mayor of Warsaw,
  • Soil Health and Food: Cees Veerman (Netherlands), former Dutch Agriculture Minister.