Horizon 2020

What is 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.

Presentations from 7 December 2015 – Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions Bridging Business and Research conference in Tel Aviv

Program Sections

  • Excellent Science
    • ERC – European Research Council – The European Research Council supports frontier research, cross disciplinary proposals and pioneering ideas in new and emerging fields which introduce unconventional and innovative approaches. The ERC’s mission is to encourage the highest quality research in Europe through competitive funding and to support investigator-driven frontier research across all fields of research, on the basis of scientific excellence. A total budget of 13 095 million euro is available for the implementation of the ERC funding schemes under Horizon 2020.
    • Future and Emerging Technologies – The visionary aspects and exploratory characteristics of FET might make it sound like a kind of magic, but the mission of FET is actually very concrete: to turn Europe’s excellent science base into a competitive advantage.

      FET actions are expected to initiate radically new lines of technology through unexplored collaborations between advanced multidisciplinary science and cutting-edge engineering. It will help Europe grasp leadership early on in those promising future technology areas able to renew the basis for future European competitiveness and growth, and that can make a difference for society in the decades to come.

      Under Horizon 2020, FET actions have been allocated a provisional budget of 2 696 million euro.

    • Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions – The Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions (MSCA) provide grants for all stages of researchers’ careers – be they doctoral candidates or highly experienced researchers – and encourage transnational, intersectoral and interdisciplinary mobility. The MSCA enable research-focused organisations (universities, research centres, and companies) to host talented foreign researchers and to create strategic partnerships with leading institutions worldwide.

      The MSCA aim to equip researchers with the necessary skills and international experience for a successful career, either in the public or the private sector. The programme responds to the challenges sometimes faced by researchers, offering them attractive working conditions and the opportunity to move between academic and other settings.

      The MSCA are open to all domains of research and innovation, from fundamental research to market take-up and innovation services. Research and innovation fields are chosen freely by the applicants (individuals and/or organisations) in a fully ‘bottom-up’ manner.

    • Research Infrastructures, including e-Infrastructures – The European approach to research infrastructures has made remarkable progress in recent years with the implementation of the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI) roadmap, integrating and opening national research facilities and developing e-infrastructures underpinning a digital European Research Area. The networks of research infrastructures across Europe strengthen its human capital base by providing world-class training for a new generation of researchers and engineers and promoting interdisciplinary collaboration.

      Further development and wider use of research infrastructures at Union level will make a significant contribution to development of the European Research Area. While the role of Member States remains central in developing and financing research infrastructures, the Union plays an important part in supporting infrastructure, fostering the emergence of new facilities, opening up broad access to national and European infrastructures, and making sure that regional, national, European and international policies are consistent and effective. It is not only necessary to avoid duplication of efforts and to coordinate and rationalise the use of the facilities, but also to pool resources so that the Union can also acquire and operate research infrastructures at world level.

      The efficiencies of scale and scope achieved by a European approach to construction, use and management of research infrastructures, including e-infrastructures, will make a significant contribution to boosting Europe’s research and innovation potential.

      Activities aim at developing the European research infrastructures for 2020 and beyond, fostering their innovation potential and human capital and reinforcing European research infrastructure policy.

  • Industrial Leadership
    • Leadership in enabling and industrial technologies” will provide dedicated support for research, development and demonstration and, where appropriate, for standardisation and certification, on information and communications technology (ICT), nanotechnology, advanced materials, biotechnology, advanced manufacturing and processing and space. Emphasis will be placed on interactions and convergence across and between the different technologies and their relations to societal challenges. User needs will be taken into account in all these fields.
    • Access to risk finance” will aim to overcome deficits in the availability of debt and equity finance for R&D and innovation-driven companies and projects at all stages of development. Together with the equity instrument of the Programme for the Competitiveness of Enterprises and small and medium-sized enterprises (COSME) (2014‑2020) it will support the development of Union-level venture capital.
    • Innovation in SMEs” will provide SME-tailored support to stimulate all forms of innovation in SMEs, targeting those with the potential to grow and internationalise across the single market and beyond.

      The goal is to make Europe a more attractive location to invest in research and innovation (including eco-innovation), by promoting activities where businesses set the agenda. It will provide major investment in key industrial technologies, maximise the growth potential of European companies by providing them with adequate levels of finance and help innovative SMEs to grow into world-leading companies.

  • Societal Challenges

    A challenge-based approach will bring together resources and knowledge across different fields, technologies and disciplines, including social sciences and the humanities. This will cover activities from research to market with a new focus on innovation-related activities, such as piloting, demonstration, test-beds, and support for public procurement and market uptake. It will include establishing links with the activities of the European Innovation Partnerships (EIP).

    Funding will focus on the following challenges:

How to get funding

Two year work programmes announce the specific areas that will be funded by Horizon 2020. Look out for them on the online Participant Portal as they can be used as a calendar for the calls for proposals (‘calls’), to be published during the year. The Participant Portal is your entry point for electronic administration of EU-funded research and innovation projects, and hosts the services for managing your proposals and projects throughout their lifecycle.
Each call gives more precise information on the questions that the Commission would like you to address in your proposals. All calls can be found in the EU’s Official Journal – the official source for all EU documents – as well as on the Participant Portal
The application process
Submit your proposal
If you wish to respond to a call, you must submit a proposal before the deadline. The Participant Portal has clear instructions to guide you through the process. The system is simpler than ever – no more paper! All proposals are submitted online.
Find your partners
Many calls require a team of at least three partners. If you need help to identify a potential partner with particular competences, facilities or experience, use the partner search options.
Evaluation by experts
Once the deadline has passed, all proposals are evaluated by a panel of independent specialists in their fields. The panel checks each proposal against a list of criteria to see if it should receive funding.
Grant agreement
Once a proposal passes the evaluation stage (five months’ duration), applicants are informed about the outcome. The European Commission then draws up a grant agreement with each participant. The grant agreement confirms what research & innovation activities will be undertaken, the project duration, budget, rates and costs, the European Commission’s contribution, all rights and obligations and more. The time limit for signing the grant agreements is generally three months.

Supporting Documents and Links

2016 Call for MSCA – Webinar and Documents

In advance of the 2016 Call deadline for MSCA Research and Innovation Staff Exchange (28th April 2016), the Irish Marie Skłodowska-Curie Office offered a webinar to assist researchers with writing an RISE proposal. The webinar was hosted by Dr. Jennifer Brennan, NCP for the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions and took place on 23rd February.
Supporting Documents are now available:
The webinar has been recorded and is available below on YouTube or Vimeo for viewing at your own convenience:

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