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Synergies with Other EU Programs

The European Union uses quite a few actions to fund various areas of society within its Member and Associated States. Along with the framework program Horizon Europe, the structural funds and other programs support research and innovation, as well as regional development, climate protection, and education.

Connecting Europe Facility

The Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) is the EU funding program for the creation and expansion of modern and efficient trans-European networks in the areas of transport, energy, and digital infrastructure. CEF is a funding program independent of Horizon Europe. The program's objectives are to improve connectivity, close gaps in cross-border connections, and promote sustainable, climate-friendly, and safe mobility. 

Digital Europe

The Digital Europe program is a funding program independent of Horizon Europe. It was created to support the digital transformation of European societies and economies, supporting the large-scale adoption of key digital technologies such as artificial intelligence applications, supercomputers, or advanced cybersecurity tools. Through a network of European digital innovation centers, public administrations and businesses, in particular small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), will have access to technological expertise.


By linking higher education, research, and innovation, synergies between Horizon Europe and Erasmus+ can be achieved. This can be done, for example, through joint strategies for education, research, and innovation and by establishing appropriate networks and enriching teaching with the latest research findings and methods.

By having Horizon Europe and Erasmus+ jointly support the European Universities initiative, the European higher education area will be strengthened. In particular, the research dimension of university networks is expected to benefit as part of the development of new joint and integrated long-term and sustainable strategies for education, research, and innovation. Exploited synergies will help to promote the integration of education and research in higher education institutions.


LIFE is the EU funding instrument for environment, nature, and climate protection and an EU funding program independent of Horizon Europe. The LIFE program supports strategic projects that help achieve the EU's nature conservation and biodiversity goals, protect and improve environmental quality, and halt and reverse biodiversity loss. Another goal of LIFE is to promote the transition to a clean, circular, energy-efficient, climate-smart, and climate-resilient economy.

Innovation Fund under the European Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS)

The Innovation Fund under the European Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) was launched in 2020 and is a funding program independent of Horizon Europe. Its program duration is not linked to the current multi-year EU budget, as is the case with most EU funding programs. The resources for the Innovation Fund come from the auctioning of 450 EU ETS allowances during the period 2020 - 2030, as well as unspent funds from the expiring NER300 program for innovative low-CO2 technologies.

The aim of the Innovation Fund is to bring to market high technologies and pioneering industrial innovations to reduce CO2 emissions. Funding is available for demonstration projects in renewable energy, carbon capture, utilization and storage, energy storage, and projects in energy-intensive industries. The focus of the funding is on flagship projects with European added value that can lead to significant emission reductions.


InvestEU is an EU funding program independent of Horizon Europe. InvestEU brings together the large number of financing instruments currently available under one roof and extends the model of the Investment Plan for Europe (Juncker Plan). The program is designed to mobilize additional investment of €650 billion.

The program consists of the following elements:

  • The InvestEU fund is used to mobilize public and private investment using guarantees from the EU budget.
  • The InvestEU advisory platform provides technical advice on investment projects for which financing is needed.
  • The InvestEU portal is an easily accessible database that brings together projects and investors.

By providing a budget guarantee to mobilize private investment, the InvestEU fund promotes the four policy areas of sustainable infrastructure, small businesses, research, innovation, and digitalization, and social investment and skills.

European Structural Funds

The European Structural Funds are EU funding programs independent of Horizon Europe. In the program period 2021 - 2027, they have a budget of 372.6 billion euros (current prices). The promotion of research and innovation plays a prominent role in EU cohesion policy. With its structural funds, first and foremost the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), it promotes the expansion of research and innovation capacities, the introduction of advanced technologies, and the investment activities of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Regional innovation capacity is improved, as is the development of new products and production methods, through increased cooperation between research institutions and companies to promote technology transfer. Alongside Horizon Europe, the Structural Funds are the largest funding programs for research and innovation in the EU. However, the orientation and design of the two programs are different: While Horizon Europe pursues a location-independent, excellence-oriented approach, the Structural Funds are used to balance regional structural differences in Europe ("cohesion") and to strengthen regional development potential.

The Green Deal adopted by the European Commission as a new overarching industrial policy provides a new impetus in the EU program period since 2021 for more strategic coherence between the funding areas at European, national, and regional level and mutual synergies between them. Behind this is the will, against the backdrop of growing pressure on the EU budget, to use the available funding even more efficiently ("achieving more with less") and to ensure that different instruments reinforce each other in their impact.