The European Commission has selected six research projects — in areas from health and energy to artificial intelligence and cultural heritage — to compete to become one of its next billion-euro ‘flagship’ science initiativesNature has learned.

The commission chose the 6 candidates in December from a list of 16 proposals, say scientists on the shortlisted teams. On 1 March, each team will receive €1 million (US$1.1 million) to develop a detailed feasibility proposal over the next year. Up to three will be chosen to become fully fledged initiatives to launch in 2021.