Overview of EU funding programs


The European Commission's ninth research framework program started on January 1, 2021 and is one of the largest funding programs for research and innovation worldwide. The funding volume of HORIZON EUROPE amounts to a total of EUR 95.5 billion. Of this, EUR 5.4 billion comes from the EU recovery plan "NextGenerationEU". There is also EUR 4 billion in additional investments from the EU long-term budget, the so-called Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF). The content is geared towards important social issues such as health, the environment and transport. A central goal is to promote excellence in European science.



Pillar I: Excellent Science
This pillar includes program lines for open-topic (individual) funding, such as the European Research Council (ERC), the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) and research infrastructures.

Pillar II: Global Challenges & European Industrial Competitiveness
Pillar II comprises six clusters:

   1. Health;
   2. Culture, creativity and inclusive society;
   3. Civil security for society;
   4. Digital, Industry and Space;
   5. Climate, Energy and Mobility;
    6. Food, Bioeconomy, Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environment

The innovative format of the missions will be implemented across five mission areas. These are intended to address clearly defined, ambitious but achievable goals that solve current societal challenges in Europe through interdisciplinary innovation:
    - Adaptation to climate change, including societal change,
    - Cancer,
    - Healthy oceans, seas, coastal and inland waters,
    - Climate-neutral and smart cities,
    - soil health and nutrition.
    The Joint Research Center of the European Commission (JRC) is also located in Pillar II.

Pillar III: Innovative Europe
The instruments focusing on innovation and market uptake are located in the third pillar. These are the European Innovation Council (EIC), the European Innovation Ecosystems and the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT).

Widening participation and strengthening the European Research Area
This part of the program includes measures aimed at increasing the participation of Member States that have so far been less strong in research and innovation and improving the European research and innovation systems as a whole.

Further information can be found on the homepage of the European Commission

European Social Fund Plus (ESF Plus)

In the 2021-2027 funding period, the new ESF Plus will focus even more strongly on the idea of a more social Europe and bring together the previous ESF, the previous European Aid Fund for the Most Deprived, the Youth Employment Initiative (YEI) and the EU Program for Employment and Social Innovation (EaSI) under one roof.

In terms of content, the ESF Plus should in particular

    improving access to employment, education and training,
    active inclusion,
    the socio-economic integration of third-country nationals,
    equal access to high-quality social protection systems,
    the social integration of disadvantaged people and the most disadvantaged people.

A draft of the federal operational program is currently being prepared.
It is planned to officially submit the Federal Operational Program to the European Commission once the relevant EU regulations have entered into force. A Federal Operational Program approved by the European Commission for the ESF Plus funding period 2021-2027 could be available in October 2021. Calls for funding will be published successively after official approval of the Operational Program.

Homepage of the ESF

Interreg VI Greater Region (2021-2027)

The program promotes cross-border cooperation measures such as infrastructure projects, cooperation between public utilities, joint actions by companies or cooperation in the fields of environmental protection, education, spatial planning or culture and helps to reduce the disadvantages of geographical and linguistic barriers and obstacles to development. The political and specific objectives for 2021-2027 must meet the needs of the cross-border area of the Greater Region.

The partners of the future program have therefore decided to focus on 4 political objectives divided into 11 specific objectives that best meet the current challenges of the cross-border area:  

    a greener, CO2-free Europe
    a more social Europe
    a Europe closer to its citizens
    better governance in terms of cross-border cooperation

Through these objectives, the programme will also tackle cross-cutting issues such as mobility, innovation, digitalization and support for SMEs.

Homepage Interreg VI Greater Region


Erasmus+ is the European Union's program for education, training, youth and sport. The seven-year program (2021-2027) has a budget of 26.2 billion euros, which is almost double the funding compared to the previous program (Erasmus+ 2014-2020).

The program has a strong focus on social inclusion, the green and digital transitions and promoting the participation of young people in democratic life.

An important component in the internationalization of universities is the establishment and implementation of joint strategic partnerships and cooperation projects. Erasmus+ offers various instruments and program lines with which partnerships and cooperation projects can be funded. The Erasmus+ Cooperation Partnerships promote the structured cooperation of at least three European organizations from Erasmus+ programme countries to support their internationalization activities in various educational sectors.

Link to the complete Erasmus+ program.
Link to the Erasmus+ Cooperation Partnerships

EFRE (European Regional Development Fund)

The aim of the EFRE is to reduce economic and social disparities within the European Union. Inequalities between the individual regions are to be reduced. The EFRE finances

  •     direct aid for investments by companies (especially small and medium-sized enterprises) to  create sustainable employment
  •     infrastructure expenditure, particularly in connection with research and innovation,
    telecommunications, the environment, energy and transportation
  •     aid for regional and local development and to promote cooperation between cities and regions
  •     technical assistance measures.

Details on the European Regional Development Fund can be found on the Rhineland-Palatinate portal.