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Cross-Pillar: Widening participation and strengthening the European Research Area

A fourth 'transversal' element

In addition to its three ‘pillars’, Horizon Europe also includes the cross-pillar element 'Widening participation and strengthening the European Research Area (ERA)'. Actions under this element support the overall objectives of the ERA and contribute to building the research and innovation capacity of Member States, Associated Countries and Outermost Regions which underperform in terms of R&I performance.

This fourth element is divided into two areas:

1. Widening Participation and Spreading Excellence (WIDERA)

  • Provides actions for countries which are less developed in terms of their R&I profile.

2. Reforming and enhancing the European Research and Innovation system

  • Supports efforts to reform and enhance the EU R&I system.
  • Addresses themes such as ‘Responsible Research and Innovation’ (RRI), Gender Equality and Open Science.

See the UKRO webpage on WIDERALink opens in a new window.

See the EU webpages on WIDERA.Link opens in a new window

European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST) Link opens in a new windowActions

Horizon Europe also funds COST Actions - interdisciplinary research networks for researchers, innovators and other professionals based in Europe and beyond to collaborate on research topics of their choice for up to 4 years.

Whilst COST does not fund research directly, it provides funding for networking activities. COST supports both applications to join an existing COST action as a participant and also proposals for new COST actions via the 'COST Open CallLink opens in a new window'. Proposals can be submitted to the Open Call at any point in the year with a recurring annual proposal collection date applying. The next collection date is 23 October 2024.

The UK is a full member of COST and its eligibilityLink opens in a new window is independent of association to Horizon Europe.

Widening Participation and Spreading Excellence

Calls are grouped under the two destinations: 'Improved access to excellence' and 'Attracting and mobilising the best talent'.

Improved access to excellence

Attracting and mobilising the best talent:

See the 2023-24 Work ProgrammeLink opens in a new window.

See all open and forthcoming 'Widening Participation and spreading excellence' calls on the Funding & Tenders Portal.

Reforming and Enhancing the European R&I system

This area is split under 4 strands:

1. Prioritising investments & reforms

  • Policy Support Facility

2. Translating R&I results into the economy

  • Standardisation Booster
  • IP Management

3. Improving access to excellence

  • Networking & training for research managers

4. Deepening the ERA

  • Calls addressing e.g. Open Science, Citizen Engagement, Science Education, Gender Equality, Ethics and Integrity

Additionally, this Destination also includes the Horizon Impact Award and the EU Award for Gender Equality ChampionsLink opens in a new window.