Horizon Europe takes the field for research on COVID-19 variants


The Commission is allocating 123 million euros from Horizon Europe, the new EU research and innovation programme, for urgent research on coronavirus variants. This first emergency funding under Horizon Europe is in addition to a number of EU-funded research and innovation actions to combat coronavirus and contributes to the Commission’s overall action to prevent, to mitigate and respond to the impact of coronavirus variants, in line with the new European bio-defence preparedness plan HERA Incubator.

Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, said: "We continue to mobilise all the means at our disposal to combat this pandemic and the challenges presented by variants of the coronavirus. We must use our combined strength to be prepared for the future, from early detection of variants to the organization and coordination of clinical trials for new vaccines and treatments, ensuring the correct collection and sharing of data at all stages."

New calls for urgent research on coronavirus variants

The Commission has launched new calls to complement previous actions to develop treatments and vaccines, organising and conducting clinical trials to advance the development of promising therapies and vaccines against SARS-Cov-2/COVID-19. They will support the development of large-scale COVID-19 cohorts and networks beyond the borders of Europe, building links with European initiatives, as well as strengthening the infrastructure needed to share data, expertise, research resources and expert services between researchers and research organisations.

The projects financed should:

  • Establish new large-scale, multi-centre and regional or multinational cohorts that exist beyond European borders, which should rapidly advance knowledge about SARS-Cov-2 and its emerging variants.
  • Further develop promising therapeutic candidates or vaccines against SARS-Cov-2/COVID-19, having already completed preclinical development in clinical trials.
  • Support research infrastructures to accelerate data sharing and provide rapid support to research and skills, to address coronavirus variants and be ready for future epidemics.
  • Successful consortia are required to cooperate with other relevant national, regional and international initiatives and projects to maximise synergies and complementarity and avoid duplication of research efforts.

These emergency announcements will address the short- and medium-term threat and at the same time prepare for the future. They will help build the European Authority for Preparedness and Response to Health Emergencies (HERA), which will enable the EU to better anticipate and address future pandemics.

The announcements will open on 13 April and the deadline for submission is 6 May 2021. New solutions must be available and accessible to all, in line with the principles of Coronavirus Global Response.

Environment and health