Improved Access to Excellence (Horizon Europe)

This destination will address “improving access to excellence” through a portfolio of complementary actions that aim at building up R&I capacities in widening countries, also through national and regional R&I reforms and investments, to enable them to advance to the competitive edge at European and international level. This portfolio constitutes the widening dimension of a broader European Excellence Initiative that reaches out beyond this programme part and will be implemented together with ERASMUS+.

Each of the five proposed actions is addressing a different target group of potential beneficiaries with a customised intervention logic. The use and appropriate design of partnerships with leading institutions abroad will be a key vector for accessing excellence. The intervention logic is designed to work points at a multitude of scales ranging from individual researcher through career development, focussed networks, institutional development to a systemic impact on national R&I systems.

Capacity building will go beyond purely scientific capacities since it includes the development of management and administrative capacities for the benefit of institutions (notably in Twinning and the Strengthening Capacities for Excellence in Universities) that are eager to take over consortium leadership roles especially under Pillar 2. Teaming actions will create new or modernise existing centers of excellence by means of a very close and strategic partnership with leading institutions abroad. The impact will be amplified by the conditionality of a securing a complementary investment (especially for infrastructure, building, hardware) from the structural funds or other sources. Once established the centres will function as lighthouses with far reaching impact and role models for attracting the best talents. Further, they will demonstrate the success of modern governance and management, and, hence stimulate generalised reforms in the national R&I environment.

In a complementary manner with a focus on the transformation of the academic and higher education system the university related scheme will foster reforms in widening countries embedded in dynamic European university alliances. Scientific excellence in the more traditional sense is the aim of Twinning where focused networks with excellent partners will develop new promising R&I domains and test novel approaches in smaller joint research projects.

Innovation excellence is the focus of excellence hubs where innovation ecosystems in widening countries and beyond will team up and strive for creating better linkages between academia, business, government and society that will foster a real placed based innovation culture in widening countries on the grounds of a strategic agenda in line with regional or national smart specialisation strategies. In this context, synergies will be sought with the programme parts on European Innovation Ecosystems and the European Institute of Innovation & Technology (EIT).

Furthermore, research and innovation performance is correlated with the efficiency of the national research and innovation system and the capacity and the effectiveness of the National Contact Points (NCPs). Special attention should be given to the less experienced entities in low R&I performing countries to bridge the knowledge gap and rapidly acquire know-how accumulated in other countries thus enabling better access to funding opportunities in the EU Framework Programmes and beyond.

A dedicated support mechanism is envisaged in this Work programme part with the specific objective to strengthen the activities of NCPs to support international networking and to improve the quality of proposals from legal entities from low R&I performing countries.

The NCP action will include the establishment of an NCP network for the ERA component of this work programme part.

In addition, particular attention will be paid to cross-cutting objectives set for Horizon Europe, such as gender equality and open science practices, through the different funded actions.

What is the goal to be achieved?

Proposals for topics under this Destination should set out a credible pathway to contributing to the following expected impacts:

  • Increased science and innovation capacities for all actors in the R&I system in widening countries
  • Structural changes leading to a modernised and more competitive R&I systems in eligible countries
  • Reformed R&I systems and institutions leading also to increased attractiveness and retention of research talents
  • Mobilisation of national and European resources for strategic investments
  • Higher participation success in Horizon Europe and more consortium leadership roles
  • Stronger linkages between academia and business and improved career permeability
  • Strengthened role of the Higher Education sector in research and innovation
  • Greater involvement of regional actors in R&I process
  • Improved outreach to international scale for all actors
  • A more consistent level of NCP support services across Europe
  • An improved and professionalised NCPs in the widening countries, that would help simplify access to Horizon Europe calls, lowering the entry barriers for newcomers, and raising the average quality of proposals submitted.

Call Topics for 2022

Excellence Hubs (Deadline 15.3.22)

Hop On Facility (Deadline 20.4.22 und 10.11.22)

Name des Förderprogramms

Widening participation and strengthening the European Research Area


475 MEUR



Kontaktieren Sie uns!

Dr. Katrin Hochberg
Dr. Iuliana Nichersu
Kontaktieren Sie uns

Kontaktieren Sie uns!

Dr. Katrin Hochberg
Dr. Iuliana Nichersu