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Mountain areas, a chance of innovation for Horizon Europe

Mountain areas are facing different specific issues, from remoteness and accessibility to rapidly changing climate conditions. Mountains are however also offering various innovation opportunities, due to the natural and social specificities of these areas. Mountains are indeed perfect laboratories for social innovation and new governance models for instance and offer research opportunities connected with circular and bio economies, biodiversity, sustainable and high-quality value chains and products among others. Research and innovation being critical for mountain areas, Euromontana contributed in September 2019 to the consultation on Horizon Europe launched by the European Commission.


Horizon Europe, a new research programme for Europe’s future

Horizon Europe, the new research and innovation programme of the European Union, will succeed Horizon 2020 from January 2021, with an expected budget reaching 100 billion euros. The European Parliament and the Council reached a political agreement on the programme in April 2019, paving the way for the European Commission to draft a Strategic Plan to define the targeted impacts as well as the priorities for the first four years of implementation of the programme. The consultation launched by the European Commission aimed at providing feedback on the proposed impacts, presented in the orientations document.


Euromontana’s contribution to shape Horizon Europe’s impacts

Euromontana welcomes the new Horizon Europe programme and recognises its high potential to trigger research and innovation across Europe, in particular in rapidly changing sectors such as sustainable transport and for priorities like climate change’s adaptation and mitigation.

A certain number of proposed impacts are however incomplete and fail to take into account all research opportunities in different territories. Managing social and economic transformations, as proposed, not only implies tackling social inequalities but also territorial ones. Moreover, while Horizon Europe is meant to be a research tool to fight climate and environmental changes, it needs to consider opportunities offered by and challenges faced by mountain areas. Thanks to its unique applied-research model, involving all types of actors, Horizon Europe is surely a key to address the sustainability of our food system, to which mountain areas are contributing through the production of high-quality productions.

For more details on how mountain areas can contribute to reach Horizon Europe’s targeted impacts, please read Euromontana’s full contribution to the consultation.


Next steps

An analysis of the contributions to the consultation is expected to be published after September 2019. The replies will also feed the debate in the co-design sessions at the European Research and Innovation Days, taking place in Brussels on September 24, 25 and 26 2019.

For more information on research and innovation in mountain areas, you can read the declaration from the 7th European Mountain Convention from 2010 and consult the work of NEMOR – the Network for European Mountain Research.

11 September 2019

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