Set to succeed the present European Commission’s Horizon 2020 funding program for research and innovation, and scheduled to launch in January 2021, Horizon Europe is an ambitious €100 billion undertaking consisting of three main pillars – Excellent Science, Global Challenges and European Industrial Competitiveness, Innovative Europe, as well as the overarching ambition of Widening Participation and Strengthening the European Research Area.

Within Horizon Europe’s framework, five key research and innovation missions have been identified to increase the effectiveness of funding by pursuing clearly defined targets. They are as follows:

  • Adaptation to climate change including societal transformation
  • Cancer
  • Climate-neutral and smart cities
  • Healthy oceans, seas, coastal and inland waters
  • Soil health and food

Announced back in July, the missions are the main ‘player’ novel components of Horizon Europe. Partly inspired by the Apollo 11 mission to put a man on the moon, they each aim to resolve some of the greatest societal challenges through research and innovation activities.

Since the launch, each mission now has an appointed Board comprised of acclaimed leaders to shape and spur new research and innovation. The Cancer Board will be headed up by appointed Chair, Walter Ricciardi, Professor of Hygiene and Public Health at the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore (Rome, Italy), along with the other 15 members who were selected for their renowned expertise within the field.

All missions will be flanked by their respective Assemblies consisting of up to 30 high-level experts. The main role of these bodies is to help guide the Board members and provide an additional pool of ideas and knowledge to contribute to the successes of the respective missions. Published by the European Commission last month, the Assembly members of each have now been listed. The Cancer panel consists of 26 members, including VHIO’s Director, Josep Tabernero.

Commenting for VHIO Communications Josep observed, “The global cancer burden rose to 18.1 million new cases and 9.6 million cancer deaths in 2018, and new cancer diagnoses are forecast to rise by 75% over the next decade. Horizon Europe’s cancer mission will help to set common goals and establish priority areas aimed at reversing such alarming realities and unthinkable predictions.”

He continued, “I will be truly honored to serve as a member of this mission’s Assembly which is devoted to supporting and steering our Board. We will collectively seek to drive further progress against this terrible disease and deliver on the aim of this mission. Namely, ensure that more people live without cancer, more cancer patients are diagnosed earlier, suffer less and have a better quality of life after treatment.”

For more information about the mission areas, the appointed Chairs, Board and Assembly Members please visit: