Firstly, through better strategic alignment with most pressing societal challenges (a rationalisation of instruments and in particular of Partnerships, an increased catalytic role of Horizon Europe with an enhanced use of partnerships co-funded with member states). Secondly, a secured balance between basic research and close-to-market activities (fundamental research must be protected because today’s investment in basic research is tomorrow’s competitive edge, and we must avoid EU budget to replace national budget). Thirdly, through stronger synergies with other parts of EU budget to better combine place-based innovation and excellence-driven activities, with innovation to be better anchored in territories and economic realities.