Opinion: Increased focus on biodiversity and ecosystems in Horizon Europe

By: Charalambos Panayiotou

“Being the most ambitious research framework program so far, the new EU research and innovation program Horizon Europe has finally launched its first calls.

“Aiming to maximize the impact of investment in research and innovation and to boost the EU’s competitiveness and growth, the program targets key areas of the economy. A first issue that the program is called to deal with is to support the sustainable recovery of EU’s economy from the impacts of the covid19 pandemic. Investments in the green and digital transitions and sustainable recovery in fact take up a significant proportion of the budget of the 2021-2022 work-program. Transformation to a digital economy and the development of enabling technologies lies of course at the core of the strategy and are set to me he main drivers of growth.

“Particularly one new aspect of the program’s priorities has caught my attention, and that is the specific mention to ecosystems and biodiversity.

“This, I believe, is the first time that biodiversity and ecosystems are treated as a distinct impact area and is indicative of the recognition that ecosystems ecosystem services constitute an important driver to economic prosperity and wellbeing.

“With a plan to transform science leadership into global leadership in entrepreneurship and innovation by 2027 and with impact being put at the forefront of Horizon Europe’s agenda, the program hits the core of Greenovate! Europe’s goals and aspirations, which are focused and dedicated to the promotion of eco-innovation. Greenovate! Europe has excelled in the last years in bringing together research and industry to develop and implement value added projects and is thus strategically positioned to further expand its role and activities through Horizon Europe. Many challenges lie ahead, however. The tremendous opportunities provided by the program bring also tremendous demands for building high quality, high impact and relevant projects. Greenovate! Europe, true to its goal to support the development of industry through eco-innovation, and supported by the capacities and expertise of its members and secretariat in such aspects as exploitation, dissemination and business model development, has a key role to play in bringing together the research community, industry and stakeholders, not only for the development of research projects but also for facilitating the uptake or research results, enhancing the innovation capacity of businesses and promoting sustainable development.”

Charalambos Panayiotou is Managing Director of Atlantis Environment & Innovation and President of Greenovate! Europe.

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