UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose


Professor Mazzucato’s ‘missions’ at the core of ambitious new €100bn EU proposal

8 June 2018

Known as 'Horizon Europe', the proposal aims to keep the EU at the forefront of global research and innovation, building on the success of the previous programme, Horizon 2020.

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European Commissioner Carlos Moedas has announced an ambitious €100bn research and innovation programme for the next EU budgets – with the work of Professor Mariana Mazzucato and her ‘mission-oriented’ framework a core part of the programme.

Speaking in Brussels yesterday, Commissioner Moedas said Horizon Europe would represent “the biggest increase in absolute terms, ever”. He also praised the idea of Mazzucato’s missions as a way to “to create ways of communicating better to the people what we do (in European science and research). Instead of saying that we will map the brain, we can say that our mission is to cure some diseases like Alzheimer’s or dementia, or that we’ll do something for people not to die of cancer, and people will understand better what we do”.

Mazzucato’s missions aim to inspire people by solving some of the biggest challenges society faces, from climate change to inequality, driving collaboration across different industries and bodies in both private and public sectors. Missions are more concrete than broad challenges, in that they have clear time-bound targets where the question ‘did we reach the mission?’ can be answered yes or no. They require what Mazzucato calls a ‘market-shaping’ framework rather than the more traditional and passive ‘market-fixing’ one that mainstream economists are wedded to.

Horizon Europe will build on the achievements and success of the previous research and innovation programme (Horizon 2020), with the aim of keeping the EU at the forefront of global research and innovation.

The proposal will now be discussed and amended both by the Member States and by the European Parliament. Both will have to come to an agreement between their positions and on how to finally amend the proposal. It is hoped that this legislative process can be concluded before the European elections in May 2019. 

Professor Mazzucato is Director of the UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose and an adviser to Commissioner Moedas. She was commissioned to write ‘Mission-oriented research & innovation in the European Union’, which has informed the European Commission's proposal.

Image: Commissioner Carlos Moedas and Professor Mariana Mazzucato