Europe aims at being a world leader in clean energy, as stated in the European Commission’s Strategic Energy Technology Plan (SET-Plan), and should be able to implement effective market-creating research and innovation policies with respect for the environment. Horizon Europe should address the research and innovation priorities of the SET-Plan by covering the full innovation chain from fundamental research to innovation actions with direct market potential. Simpler funding streams for research projects with follow-up innovation actions should be made available. The programme should also better integrate education activities and provide appropriate resources as a way to increase competitiveness.
The research-oriented “missions” that will be part of Horizon Europe must have clear interdisciplinary and inter-sectoral dimensions to bring about transformative change in Europe’s energy sector. Technological solutions alone will not be enough to solve the energy challenge or to fulfil or exceed the EU’s 2050 Energy Strategy and the targets of the Paris Agreement. This is, for instance, the case with the rapid digitisation of the energy system, energy storage and electromobility, which all need interdisciplinary and intersectoral collaboration.