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Horizon 2020 explained

Horizon 2020 is a very extensive funding programme from the European Commission, the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation Horizon 2020 is running from 2014 to 2020 with a budget of €70 billion.

Horizon 2020 offers the perfect opportunity for academia and industry to finance research and development activities. Excellent Science, Competitive Industries and tackling Societal Challenges are at the top of the strategic agenda.

Horizon 2020 pillars

Horizon 2020 is built up of three pillars, Excellent Science, Industrial leadership and Societal Challenge.

Excellent Science

The Excellent Science pillar will raise the level of excellence of Europe’s science base in order to make it more competitive on a global scale. The Excellent Science pillar of Horizon 2020 is characterised by:

  • Support of the most talented and creative researchers and their teams to carry out high-level frontier research.
  • Funding of collaborative research in new and promising fields.
  • Providing excellent training and career development opportunities for researchers.
  • Providing researchers with access to world-class research infrastructure.

Industrial Leadership

The Industrial Leadership pillar will invest in key technologies, better access to capital and support for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in order to make Europe a more attractive location to invest in research and innovation. The Industrial Leadership pillar focuses on:

  • Developing European industrial capabilities in so-called key enabling technologies, including nanotechnology and biotechnology.
  • Facilitating access to risk finance by leveraging private finance and venture capital for research and innovation.
  • Stimulating innovation in SMEs by fostering all forms of innovation in all types of SMEs.

Societal Challenges

The Societal Challenges pillar helps to bridge the gap between research and the market in order to tackle societal challenges. This is done by dealing with concerns shared by European citizens and reflects policy priorities of the Europe 2020 strategy that cannot be achieved without innovation. Resources and knowledge across various fields will be brought together, activities from research to market will be covered and promising solutions will be tested and verified.

Horizon 2020 funding schemes

There are several types of funding schemes in the Horizon 2020 programme, such as:

  • Research and Innovation Actions (RIA): For basic and applied research, technology development and integration, testing and validation on a small-scale prototype in a laboratory or simulated environment.
  • Innovative Training Networks (ITN): Focuses on training a new generation of creative, entrepreneurial and innovative early stage researchers.
  • European Research Council (ERC): ERC grants support top researchers throughout their career, starting with researchers with 2 to 7 years’ experience after their PhD until established researchers who are leaders in their field of research.
  • Future Emerging Technologies (FET): Future Emerging Technologies programme funds the early stages of joint science and technology research for radically new future technological possibilities.

For more information about Horizon 2020 and other subsidies, you can consult our subsidies page.

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