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.
Horizon 2020 sections
European Research Council
Future and Emerging Technologies
Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions
Research Infrastructures, including e-Infrastructures
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
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)
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:
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.
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:
Leadership in enabling and industrial technologies (€13 557 million) – the themes are the following:
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.
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:
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.
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.
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
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.
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.