UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose


Results from EU-wide consultation shows the full potential of missions to address grand challenges

27 November 2018

The European Commission has released the results of an EU-wide consultation on Professor Mariana Mazzucato’s report on how missions can be used to structure Horizon Europe research and innovation (R&I) funding around grand societal challenges.

Horizon EU banner

The consultation with Professor Mazzucato and the European Commission, led by European Commissioner Carlos Moedas, shows broad support for the missions proposal with up to 89% of respondees agreeing that missions must be bold, cross-sectoral, measurable, ambitious but realistic and bottom-up.

The Mazzucato report - Mission-Oriented Research & Innovation in the European Union: A problem-solving approach to fuel innovation-led-growth - set out how the Horizon Europe funding can address grand challenges, such as climate change or clean oceans, by breaking the challenges into ambitious but realistic missions. Innovation has not just a rate, but a direction. Missions provide a mechanism for giving top-down direction to innovation, fostering bottom-up innovation to reach these targets while creating economic and technologic spill-overs.

The European Commission consultation also allowed citizens to propose missions that the R&I funding should be directed towards with many responses in the areas of health, secure societies, digital and industry, climate and energy, and food. The consultation also explicitly linked the missions to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, particularly 'Good health and wellbeing for people' and 'Affordable and clean energy'.

Horizons EU graphic
Frequency of the proposed mission areas in survey responses and stakeholder position papers


The missions framework provides a new way to drive citizen engagement in the often remote topic of innovation funding, by harnessing the suggestions of individuals and directing innovation to areas that matter to people. This consultation is the first step towards the launch of new missions within Horizon Europe, and the Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose (IIPP) continues to work closely with the European Commission to develop the governance structures that will be needed to implement the framework.

Read the full results and full analysis of feedback on Professor Mazzucato's report here.

Learn more about how the Horizon Europe programme started here.