Commission launches work on major research and innovation missions for cancer, climate, oceans and soil


Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation Carlos Moedas officially launched the work on five major European research and innovation missions that will be part of Horizon Europe, the next EU research and innovation programme. Inspired by the Apollo 11 mission to put a man on the moon, the European R&I missions aim to deliver solutions to some of the greatest challenges facing our world, such as cancer, climate change, healthy oceans, climate-neutral cities and healthy soil and food.

At the occasion of the Informal Council for Research Ministers in Helsinki, Finland, Commissioner Moedas announced the appointment of five prominent experts to chair the mission boards, which will propose targets and timelines to design the specific missions.

Also today, Professor Mariana Mazzucato, Special Advisor for Mission Driven Science and Innovation to Commissioner Moedas, presented a new report: Governing Missions in the European Union’, which sets out what it takes to make missions a success.

Mission Board Chairs*

The Commission is establishing five ‘mission boards’. Their first deliverable will be to propose concrete targets and timelines for each mission by the end of 2019. They will be chaired by the following outstanding individuals who will contribute with their experience, authority and credibility:

  1. Ms Connie Hedegaard, former European Commissioner for Climate Action, for the mission on ‘Adaptation to Climate Change including Societal Transformation’
  2. Professor Harald zur Hausen, Nobel Prize Laureate in Physiology or Medicine, for the mission on ‘Cancer’
  3. Mr Pascal Lamy, former Trade Commissioner and Director-General of the World Trade Organisation, for the mission on ‘Healthy Oceans, Seas, Coastal and Inland Waters’
  4. Professor Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz, former Mayor of Warsaw, for the mission on ‘Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities’
  5. Mr Cees Veerman, former Dutch Agriculture Minister, for the mission on ‘Soil Health and Food’.

*official membership is subject to finalisation of internal procedures.

Governing missions in the European Union

In her new report, Professor Mariana Mazzucato presents recommendations on three essential elements to deliver impactful missions in the European Union: How to engage citizens in missions; how to ensure that public organisations are optimally equipped to implement missions; and how to optimise finance and funding for missions.

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