This article aims to trace process and discourses that have led to the proposal of the European Framework Programme for Research and Innovation 'Horizon Europe', active from 2021 to 2027. It focuses on the shaping of novel elements of 'Horizon Europe' as compared to previous framework programmes, namely the concept of 'missions' as an approach to help enhance the societal impact of 'Horizon Europe', the proposal to establish a European Innovation Council, and the reform of European Partnerships. Particularly interesting is the role of the European Commission, which traditionally is the most important player in determining the orientation of the framework programmes. We are following also important contributions to this debate, such as the interim evaluation of 'Horizon 2020', and various expert groups' input.

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