Horizon 2020

Horizon 2020 is the biggest EU Research and Innovation programme ever with nearly €80 billion of funding available over 7 years (2014 to 2020) – in addition to the private investment that this money will attract. It promises more breakthroughs, discoveries and world-firsts by taking great ideas from the lab to the market.

Horizon 2020 is the financial instrument implementing the Innovation Union, a Europe 2020 flagship initiative aimed at securing Europe's global competitiveness.

Seen as a means to drive economic growth and create jobs, Horizon 2020 has the political backing of Europe’s leaders and the Members of the European Parliament. They agreed that research is an investment in our future and so put it at the heart of the EU’s blueprint for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth and jobs.

By coupling research and innovation, Horizon 2020 is helping to achieve this with its emphasis on excellent science, industrial leadership and tackling societal challenges. The goal is to ensure Europe produces world-class science, removes barriers to innovation and makes it easier for the public and private sectors to work together in delivering innovation.

Horizon 2020 is open to everyone, with a simple structure that reduces red tape and time so participants can focus on what is really important. This approach makes sure new projects get off the ground quickly – and achieve results faster.

The EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation will be complemented by further measures to complete and further develop the European Research Area. These measures will aim at breaking down barriers to create a genuine single market for knowledge, research and innovation.

Target Group
Research activities
Not specified
Source Regions
European Union
Source Countries
Eligible Regions
European Union
Eligible Countries
Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, American Samoa, Angola, Anguilla, Argentina, Aruba, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belize, Benin, Bermuda, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Cayman Islands, Central African Republic, Chad, Chile, Colombia, Comoros, Costa Rica, Cuba, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, East Timor, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Falkland Islands, Faroe Islands, Fiji, French Polynesia, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Ghana, Greenland, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Iceland, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Ivory Coast, Jamaica, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kiribati, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Macedonia, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Mauritius, Micronesia, Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Montserrat, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar [Burma], Namibia, Nepal, New Caledonia, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, North Korea, Norway, Pakistan, Palau, Palestine, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Pitcairn Islands, Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Saint Helena, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Pierre and Miquelon, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, São Tomé and Príncipe, Senegal, Serbia, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Switzerland, Syria, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Thailand, Togo, Tonga, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Turks and Caicos Islands, Tuvalu, Uganda, Ukraine, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Vietnam, Wallis and Futuna, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe
Grant Types
Cooperation, collaboration
Funding Bodies
Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Estonian, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Irish Gaelic, Italian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Maltese, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Slovak, Slovene, Spanish, Swedish
Support Types
Deadline Date
Programme Owner
Managing Authority
Legal Source
Proposal 811 final 2011/0402 (CNS) of the of the European Commission for a Council decision of 30 November 2011 establishing the Specific Programme Implementing Horizon 2020 - The Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (2014-2020)
Supporting Programme
Refering Grants


Horizon 2020 sections

Excellent Science
        European Research Council
        Future and Emerging Technologies
        Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions
        Research Infrastructures, including e-Infrastructures

Industrial Leadership
        Leadership in Enabling and Industrial Technologies
              Nanotechnologies, Advanced Materials, Advanced Manufacturing and Processing, and Biotechnology
            Information and Communication Technologies
        Access to risk finance
        Innovation in SMEs

Societal Challenges
        Health, Demographic Change and Wellbeing
        Food Security, Sustainable Agriculture and Forestry, Marine, Maritime and Inland Water Research and the Bioeconomy
        Secure, Clean and Efficient Energy
        Smart, Green and Integrated Transport
        Climate Action, Environment, Resource Efficiency and Raw Materials
        Europe in a changing world - Inclusive, innovative and reflective societies
        Secure societies – Protecting freedom and security of Europe and its citizens

Spreading Excellence and Widening Participation

Science with and for Society

Cross-cutting activities (focus areas)

Fast Track to Innovation Pilot

European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT)




Proposal Submission


Excellent Science
Budget: EUR 24 441 million


The Excellent science programme aims at supporting world leading scientists in blue sky research, providing training and career development opportunities, developing future and emerging technologies and EU research infrastructures.

The specific objectives are:

  • strengthening frontier research, through the activities of the European Research Council (ERC);
  • strengthening research in Future and Emerging Technologies;
  • strengthening skills, training and career development, through the Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions ("Marie Curie actions");
  • strengthening European research infrastructures, including e-infrastructures.

Supported activities

European Research Council (ERC) will provide substantial grants to top-level individual researchers working in Europe (€13 095 million)

Future and emerging technologies (FET) opens up new fields of research and innovation. (€2 696 million)

Marie Curie Actions develops research and innovation skills through the training, mobility and career development of researchers (€6.162 million)

Funding of €2.488 million will also be available for supporting access to, and networking of priority European research infrastructures.


Independent researchers of any age, including starting researchers making the transition to being independent research leaders in their own right, from any country in the world will be supported.

Industrial leadership
Budget: EUR 17 016 million


“Industrial leadership” should help make Europe a more attractive location to invest in research and innovation by supporting major investments in key industrial technologies, by facilitating access to risk finance for innovative companies and projects, and providing Union wide support for innovation in small and medium-sized enterprises.

The scopes are:

  • Boosting job creation
  • Support innovation, increase market uptake
  • Stimulate private investment in R&I
  • Strengthen participation of innovative SMEs

Supported activities

Leadership in enabling and industrial technologies (€13 557 million) – the themes are the following:

  • Information and Communication Technologies (ICT),
  • Nanotechnologies,
  • Advanced materials,
  • Biotechnology,
  • Advanced Manufacturing and Processing,
  • Space

Access to risk finance (Debt facility, Equity facility and Specific implementation aspects) (€2 842 million).

Innovation in SMEs (Mainstreaming SME support and Specific support) €616 million.

Societal challenges
Budget: EUR 29 679 million


The “Societal challenges” programme aim is to tackle the major issues affecting the lives of European citizens. It should increase the effectiveness of research and innovation in responding to key societal challenges by supporting excellent research and innovation activities.

The scopes are:

  • Longer and healthier lives
  • Reliable, clean, efficient energy
  • Efficient use of resources for protection of our planet
  • Inclusive innovation and secure policy
  • Safe, secure food supply
  • Smart, green transport

Supported activities

  • Health, demographic change and well-being (€7 472 million);
  • Food security, sustainable agriculture and forestry, marine and maritime and inland water research and the Bio-economy (€3 851 million);
  • Secure, clean and efficient energy (€5 931 million);
  • Smart, green and integrated transport (€6 339 million);
  • Climate action,environment resource efficiency and raw materials (€3 081 million);
  • Europe in a changing world - Inclusive, innovative and reflective societies (€1 309 million).
  • Secure societies – Protecting freedom and security of Europe and its citizens (€1 695 million)

Science with and for society (€462 million)

Spreading excellence and widening participation (€816 million)

European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) (€ 2 711 million)

Non-nuclear direct actions of the Joint Research Centre (JRC)
Budget: EUR 1 903 million


The Joint Research Centre (JRC) is the in-house science service of the European Commission. Its mission is to provide scientific and technical support to EU policy making, thus operating at the interface between research and EU policy and to complement other Horizon 2020 funded research. It provides input throughout the whole policy cycle from conception to implementation and evaluation.


Council meeting news - accepted by the EP and the EC as well:

A simplified system consisting of a single reimbursement rate for eligible costs per research project would apply to all activities within a research project and to all participants. The reimbursement would reach a maximum of 100 % of the total eligible costs of a project, with a ceiling of 70 % for close-to-market actions and programme co-funded actions. A flat rate of 25% of the total direct eligible costs will be reimbursed to cover indirect costs. A "bonus " scheme was included in the agreement whereby eligible personnel costs can include supplementary payments made to personnel up to € 8 000 per person per year.

Terms And Conditions

Legal basis: REGULATION (EU) No 1291/2013 OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 11 December 2013 establishing Horizon 2020 - the Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (2014-2020) and repealing Decision No 1982/2006/EC


79.4 billion in current prices

Excellent Science  EUR 24 441 million

Industrial leadership  EUR 17 016 million

Societal challenges  EUR 29 679 million

Science with and for society (€462 million)

Spreading excellence and widening participation (€816 million)

European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) (€ 2 711 million)

Non-nuclear direct actions of the Joint Research Centre (JRC)  EUR 1 903 million

Ca. €80 billion budget has been accepted including the EURATOM budget.


The €80 billion total does not include the budget allocated to the three major infrastructure projects of the global positioning system Galileo, the ITER fusion project and the earth observation system Copernicus (formerly GMES).


Connecting Europe facility budget is also ring-fenced separately from the Horizon 2020 budget.

Available Calls

Total Funding Amount

Selection Criteria

Horizon 2020 will be open besides the 28EU countries to:

- acceding countries, candidate countries and potential candidates, in accordance with the general principles and general terms and conditions for the participation of those countries in Union programmes established in the respective framework agreements and decisions of association councils or similar agreements;

- selected third countries that fulfil all of the following criteria:
(i) have a good capacity in science, technology and innovation;
(ii) have a good track record of participation in Union research and innovation programmes;
(iii) have close economic and geographical links to the Union;

Horizon 2020 groups the countries as:
  1.industrialised and emerging economies
  2.enlargement and neighbouring countries
  3.developing countries

Horizon 2020 will continue to have bi-lateral agreements with major research players, but there will be increased emphasis on mutual access to programmes with these countries. There will be a priority towards bi-regional cooperation for other third countries.
Each challenge within Horizon 2020 outlines the major areas seen as particularly relevant for international cooperation. Given the fully mainstreamed approach, and the recognition of the importance of international cooperation for delivering Horizon 2020, no specific budget for research activities is foreseen. There will, however, be a budget for specific coordination activities for international cooperation.

Open To

EU countries.


Updates, modifications in Horizon 2020 compared to FP7 | Download

updates from July 2013 are highlighted in orange

Item FP7 Horizon 2020 Comments to Horizon 2020
Focus Research Research and Innovation Financial instrument to implement Innovation Union. Check also the other Europe 2020 flagship initiatives
Budget over 50 billion EUR ca 80 billion EUR  
Continuation of FP6 FP7, CIP, EIT More complex than FP7
Blocks Cooperation, Capacities, People, Ideas, Euratom, JRC Excellent Science, Industrial Leadership, Societal challenges, JRC  
New element ERC (frontier research), Guarantee Fund, Risk Sharing Finance Facility Financing each stage of innovation, FET scheme logic  
Management DGs, ERC, REA DGs, ERC, REA, EIB, EIF  
Guarantee Fund Set up Continues  
Funding rate (up to) for research 75% 100%  
Funding rate (up to) for Demonstration - Newly called Innovation projects 50% 70%  
Overhead/indirect costs Different models (20%, 60% or actual) 25%  
Time-to-grant 12 months in average after submission of proposal reduced to 8 months  
Ex-ante financial viability check All beneficiaries exceeding 500,000 EUR EU contribution Coordinators  
Audit certificates to be submitted All beneficiaries exceeding 375,000 EUR EU contribution - cumulative in periods All beneficiaries exceeding 325,000 EUR EU contribution - only one at the end of the project Ex-post audits will be limited to 7% of the participants, the rule on the extrapolation on systematic errors will change
Interest on pre-financing Reported by the coordinator No need to declare  
Simplification In all processes Continues in reimbursement rates, average personnel cost acceptance, unit costs, lump sums and flat rates, time-recording requirements, limited ex-post audits, no declaration on interest on pre-financing, VAT might be eligible, limited extrapolation on systematic errors, new Participant Portal and online admin system)  
Thematic approach "Cooperation" 10 themes go under "Industrial leadership" and "Societal challenges"  
  Health FP7 Health: integrated in 'Health, demographic change and wellbeing challenge';  
  KBBE FP7 Food, Agriculture and Fisheries, and Biotechnology: integrated in the 'Food security, sustainable agriculture and the bio-economy' challenge, although enabling biotechnologies will be supported under 'Leadership in enabling and industrial technologies  
  ICT FP7 Information and communication technologies: support for enabling ICTs under 'Leadership in enabling and industrial technologies' and ICT applications within the relevant societal challenges;  
  Nanotechnologies FP7 Nanosciences, nanotechnologies, materials and new production technologies: support for enabling technologies under 'Leadership in enabling and industrial technologies' and applications within the relevant societal challenges;  
  Energy FP7 Energy theme: in the 'Secure, clean and efficient energy' challenge (which also includes follow-up to CIP intelligent energy programme);  
  Environment FP7 Environment (including Climate Change): integrated in 'Climate action, resource efficiency and raw materials' challenge (which also includes the CIP eco-innovation actions);  
  Transport FP7 Transport (including Aeronautics): integrated in 'Smart, green and integrated transport' challenge;  
  SSH FP7 Socio-economic Sciences and the Humanities: underpinning socio-economic and humanities in the 'Inclusive, innovative and secure societies' challenge; application of socio-economic sciences and humanities within all the societal challenges  
  Space FP7 Space: integrated under 'Leadership in enabling and industrial technologies';  
  Security FP7 Security: integrated within the 'Inclusive, innovative and secure societies' challenge.  
Frontier Research, ERC New in FP7 - Ideas block Continues, "Excellent Science" priority  
Technology Platforms and Joint Undertakings Set up, support Existing public-public and public-private partnerships may receive support and new ones may be launched Article 185 initiatives: the European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP), Ambient Assisted Living (AAL), Baltic Sea
Research and Development Programme (BONUS), Eurostars and the European Metrology Research Programme. Further support may also be provided to the European Energy Research Alliance (EERA) established under the Strategic Energy Technology Plan (SET Plan). Article 187 Joint Undertakings: Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI), Clean Sky, Single European Sky ATM Research (SESAR), Fuel Cells and Hydrogen (FCH), and Embedded computing systems (ARTEMIS) and Nanoelectronics (ENIAC). Other: Factories of the Future, Energy-efficient Buildings, European Green Cars Initiative, Future Internet,
European Industrial Initiatives (EIIs) established under the SET Plan
International cooperation Supported Important in many topics, actions. Three groupings: (1) industrialised and emerging economies; (2) enlargement and neighbourhood countries; and (3) developing countries. Strategic cooperation: European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials
Partnership (EDCTP2); Human Science Frontier Programme (HSFP); International consortium on rare diseases; International Knowledge-Based Bio-Economy Forum and the EU-US Task Force on Biotechnology Research; Intergovernmental
Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), and the Group on Earth Observations (GEO); Space Dialogues between the Union and the United States of America and Russia
FET: Future and Emerging Technologies Under "Cooperation" specific FET calls Different Logic - under "Excellent science". Small and flagship projects will be supported as well (flagship - large-scale project, networking, long term)  
Marie Curie Actions Continuation from FP6 under People Scopes remain. under "Excellent science". New elements: Alumni services; newly qualifies PhDs are also target group  
Research infrastructures under "Capacities" under "Excellent science" Check the ESFRI Roadmap and e-IRG recommendations
Key Enabling Technolgies themes under "Cooperation" mainly - ICT, Nanotechnologies, KBBE, Space, parts of Energy main component under under "Industrial leadrship" • Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), Nanotechnologies,
Advanced materials, Biotechnology,
Advanced Manufacturing and Processing, Space
Check the reports of the Expert Group here on KETs
SME related actions, access to finance under "Capacities" specific funding scheme, under "Cooperation" SME focused topics and horizontally in FP7 15% of the budget to SMEs, Risk Sharing Finance Facility horizontally SMEs are a main target group Under "Industrial Leadership" the component Access to Risk Finance is targeting SMEs and the component "Innovation in SMEs" is dedicated to SMEs. COSME and Horizon 2020 will be complementing each other and more close coordination with Structural Funds will be also present. R&D performing SMEs will be supported under a specific scheme in "Innovation in SMEs" See also CIP EIP schemes 2007-2013 debt and equity financing with EIF and EIB and COSME 2014-2020 programmes. Management of equity and debt financing will be done by EIF and EIB, so check their web pages for details. The scheme supporting the market-oriented innovation of R&D Performing SMEs builds on the Eurostars initiative.
    Innovation in SMEs: all stages of innovation is financed.  Phase 1: Concept and feasibility - positive outcome will allow going to phase 2; Phase 2: R&D, demonstration, market replication - focus on DEM. Phase 3: Commercialisation does not give direct funding, but the SMEs successful in Phase 2 can access finance under "Access to Risk Finance" component and benefit from other support measures Check the SBIR model http://www.sbir.gov/
Enterprise Europe Network and supporting SMEs - soft measures (networking, reducing barriers, studies, etc) Support actions in specific themes and SME association schemes "Innovation in SMEs" actions, EEN support, IPR Helpdesk support, Eurostars Initiative support EEN support from CIP EIP between 2007-2013
Combination of funds EU funds were complementary in 2007-2013, double funding was strictly prohibited

Combination of Horizon 2020 and Structural Funds will be possible - check carefully the rules later on because the same "cost item" cannot be reported to both. Only separate costs/activities.

Provisions from the debt facility may be combined, with the possible addition of grants (including lump sums), with provisions from the equity financial instrument in one or more integrated schemes

EIT Newly established in 2010 the EIT will maintain its mission: integrating the knowledge triangle and experimenting with new approaches for innovation, notably involving the business community. It will also provide a stable base for its Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs). The EIT will consolidate existing KICs and will expand their number gradually. In order to fulfil its role as a test bed for new, simplified governance and funding innovation models, the EIT's current flexibility is to be preserved.
Research Participants Portal New in FP7 - replaces CORDIS slowly in proposal development, management, etc. But research news and project database remains The whole set of practical arrangements for proposal and project implementation will also be revisited and streamlined. This includes the detailed provisions on the content and shape of proposals, the processes for turning proposals into projects, the requirements for reporting and monitoring, as well as the related guidance documents and support services. A major contribution to reduced administrative costs for participation will come from a single user-friendly IT platform for all interactions with participants, based on the FP7 Participant Portal.
Link with Structural Funds increased coordination

The purpose of the Cohesion Policy funds (Structural Funds) is to support capacity building and hereby reduce the significant economic, social and territorial disparities that still exist between Europe's regions. Cohesion policy funds are distributed based on pre-allocated global envelopes to the Member States and regions. This funding is implemented through a series of Operational Programmes and individual projects, including those supporting research and innovation. There are already substantial interactions between the EU's research and innovation policy and its Cohesion policy. In FP7, investments in building excellence and innovation capacity are made through the 'Regions of Knowledge', 'Research Potential' and 'Research Infrastructures' actions. At the same time, the Member States and regions have committed some EUR 86 billion from the EU's cohesion budget in the current programming period for actions supporting research and innovation. For the next programming period, Horizon 2020 will also contribute to research and innovation in the regions mainly by improving policy support, in order to build efficient smart specialisation strategies in full cooperation with Cohesion policy.

Check your local/regional/national smart specialisation strategies.