EU Mission for Climate, Cancer, Smart City, Oceans and Soil

Mission areas

The 5 mission areas are

  • Adaptation to Climate Change including Societal Transformation
  • Cancer
  • Healthy Oceans, Seas, Coastal and inland Waters
  • Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities
  • Soil health and Food

The exact missions will be decided by the mission boards.

Chairs of the mission boards


Connie Hedegaard

Adaptation to Climate Change including Societal Transformation




Served as European Commissioner for Climate Action from 2010 to 2014, during which time she led the negotiations towards the adoption of the EU 2030 Climate and Energy Framework and represented the EU in the international climate negotiations.


Read the biography 

Walter Ricciardi



In October 2019 Professor Ricciardi replaced the originally named chair, Professor Harald zur Hausen.


Read the biography 

Pascal Lamy

Healthy Oceans, Seas, Costal and inland Waters


Former European Commissioner for Trade and Director General of the World Trade Organisation from 2005-2013.


Read the biography 

Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz

Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities


Former chair of the Central Bank of Poland,also served as Mayor of Warsaw.



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Cees Veerman

Soil health and Food

Dutch Minister of Agriculture from 2002 to 2007 and was also President of the EU Council of Agriculture Ministers.

Read the biography



Mission Board Soil:


Mission Board Chairs*

The Commission is establishing five 'mission boards'. Their first deliverable will be to propose concrete targets and timelines for each mission by the end of 2019. They will be chaired by the following outstanding individuals who will contribute with their experience, authority and credibility: 

  1. Ms Connie Hedegaard, former European Commissioner for Climate Action, for the mission on 'Adaptation to Climate Change including Societal Transformation'
  2. Professor Harald zur Hausen, Nobel Prize Laureate in Physiology or Medicine, for the mission on 'Cancer'
  3. Mr Pascal Lamy, former Trade Commissioner and Director-General of the World Trade Organisation, for the mission on 'Healthy Oceans, Seas, Coastal and Inland Waters'
  4. Professor Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz, former Mayor of Warsaw, for the mission on 'Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities'
  5. Mr Cees Veerman, former Dutch Agriculture Minister, for the mission on 'Soil Health and Food'.   

*official membership is subject to finalisation of internal procedures.

Governing missions in the European Union

In her new report, Professor Mariana Mazzucato presents recommendations on three essential elements to deliver impactful missions in the European Union: How to engage citizens in missions; how to ensure that public organisations are optimally equipped to implement missions; and how to optimise finance and funding for missions.


As part of the EU's next long-term budget for 2021-2027, the Commission proposed on 7 June 2018 the next EU research and innovation programme Horizon Europe with a proposed budged of €100 billion. In April 2019, the Council of the European Union and the European Parliament reached a political agreement on the programme on the basis of which the Commission has started preparing Horizon Europe's implementation.

Missions are one of the main novelties of Horizon Europe. By addressing important societal challenges, such as cancer and climate change, through ambitious but realistic research and innovation activities, they will make clear to citizens how the EU can make a real difference in their lives and in society as a whole. They boost the impact of EU-funded research and innovation by mobilising investment and EU wide efforts around measurable and time-bound goals around issues that affect citizens' daily lives. 

The current five mission areas were identified during the negotiations of the Horizon Europe programme. To narrow down the five broad mission areas, the Commission is appointing a mission board for each area. By the end of 2019, the mission boards will identify the first possible specific missions, with a concrete target and timeline. The boards will discuss with citizens, stakeholders and experts from Member States at the first European Research and Innovation Days in Brussels from 24 to 26 September.

Each mission board will consist of 15 experts, including the chair. Following a selection process, which produced over 2100 applications, the five mission boards will be composed of creative and highly motivated experts from a wide range of backgrounds, including academics, innovators, civil society, industry, finance and end-users. The Commission expects to announce the full composition of the mission boards by the end of July 2019.

The European Commission, through Commissioner Moedas, invited Professor Mazzucato to draw up strategic recommendations on the implementation of missions to maximise the impact of Horizon Europe. The new report 'Governing Missions in the European Union' includes recommendations on how to involve civil society and engage citizens in the innovation chain; how new modes and processes in the public sector can unleash creativity, enhance synergies and foster innovation ecosystems; and how public financing can crowd-in and galvanize other forms of investment. 

Professor Mazzucato's first report for Commissioner Moedas, called 'Mission-Oriented Research and Innovation in the European Union' set out the main characteristics of mission-oriented research and innovation:

  • Bold, inspirational, with wide societal relevance;
  • Targeted, measurable, and time-bound;
  • Ambitious, but realistic R&I actions;
  • Cross-disciplinary, cross-sectoral and cross-actor innovation;
  • Drive multiple, bottom-up solutions.

Professor Mariana Mazzucato currently holds the Chair in the Economics of Innovation and Public Value at University College London (UCL). She is founder and director of UCL's new Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose. Her research covers the relationship between financial markets, innovation and economic growth.

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