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Horizon 2020 Q&A: Research and Innovation actions

September 28 2017

The Seventh European Research and Innovation Framework Programme (FP7) consisted of several types of collaborative research projects, including Integrating Projects (IPs) and Small or Medium Scale Focused Research Actions (STREPs). In Horizon 2020, the EC wanted to simplify the list of possible types of actions, and so the various collaborative project actions have been reduced to two major types: 'Innovation actions' and 'Research and Innovation actions' (R&I).

What is the difference between Innovation actions and R&I actions?
In a nutshell, Innovation actions are far more market-oriented and applied than R&I actions.

R&I actions have research and development (R&D) activities as the core of the project, which intend to establish new scientific and technical knowledge and/or explore the feasibility of a new or improved technology, product, process, service or solution. These activities may furthermore:

  • include basic and applied research, technology development and integration, testing and validation on a small-scale prototype in a laboratory or simulated environment.
  • contain closely connected but limited demonstration or pilot activities aiming to show technical feasibility in a near to operational environment. 

The Innovation actions primarily consist of activities directly aiming at producing plans and arrangements or designs for new, altered or improved products, processes or services. They may include prototyping, testing, demonstrating, piloting, large-scale product validation and market replication. 

What are the overlapping aspects of the two types of actions?
'Prototyping', 'testing', 'demonstrating' and 'piloting' are not specific to innovation activities; they are also used to describe R&D activities.

  • In the case of a R&I action, these activities are undertaken on a small scale prototype, in a laboratory or simulated environment 
  • Innovation action projects may include limited R&D activities.
  • The type of project expected, funding and Technology Readiness Level scale are indicated in the specific Work Programme topics

What are the eligibility conditions?
The basic eligibility conditions are the same for both types of action, that is to say: at least three legal entities must be involved in the collaborative project, with each of the three being established in a different EU Member State or associated country. Furthermore, all three legal entities must be independent of each other.

What are the funding rates?
The EC has simplified the funding in Horizon 2020 by using a flat rate for all participants except for the non-profits in the Innovation Actions.

How will applications be evaluated for these actions?

Both types of actions will be evaluated on three main criteria: excellence, impact and quality and efficiency of the implementation.

Where can I find more information on topics and how can I apply?
You can find the Horizon 2020 Main Work Programme under the Reference Documents in the Participant Portal. By reading through the relevant sections of the Work Programme, you can read about and find topics that are best suited to your work and the collaborative project that you envisage. Once you have found a topic that you would like to apply for, you can go to the 'Funding Opportunities' page of the Participants Portal, find the call and apply through the online process. If you would like help in finding a call that is best suited to you and/or wish to explore the other services that ttopstart has to offer, please feel free to contact us by filling out the form below.

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