Horizon 2020

Horizon 2020 is the largest research, development, and innovation programme ever implemented. For the period 2014-2020, the total budget of Horizon 2020 was almost EUR 80 billion. The general aim of the programme is to drive economic growth and create jobs across the EU by taking great ideas from the lab to the market. With its emphasis on excellent science, industrial leadership, and tackling societal challenges, it enables discoveries and breakthroughs. By stimulating collaborations between private and public entities, Horizon 2020 aims for faster and more efficient innovation.  

Funding opportunities (through calls for proposals) under Horizon 2020 are built around three pillars:

  • Societal Challenges
  • Industrial Leadership
  • Excellent Science

Work programmes are drafted for the different pillars. This subsequently provides the basis for the dedicated call for proposals for projects.
Horizon 2020 supports projects at different stages of the innovation curve …

Research and Innovation Actions (RIAs) focus on the early stages of the innovation curve; activities aiming to establish new knowledge and/or to explore the feasibility of a new or improved technology, Innovation Actions (IAs) focus on the demonstration phases; activities directly aiming at producing plans and arrangements or designs for new, altered or improved products, processes or services. Finally, Coordination and Support Actions (CSA) are supported, that focus on standardisation, dissemination, awareness-raising and communication, networking, coordination, support services, policy dialogues, mutual learning exercises or studies. All calls for projects relate to either RIA, IA, or CSA and aim at one of the three pillars (i.e. tackling a specific societal challenge, industrial leadership, or excellence science). The funding rates for RIAs and CSAs are 100% of the eligible costs. Funding rate for IA is 70% of the eligible costs (except non-profit organisations, which are still funded 100%).

The European Green Deal call

The European Green Deal external link icon is the roadmap of the new European Commission to a climate neutral Europe in 2050. The roadmap consists of a set of policy initiatives that together have the overarching aim to ensure that there are no net emissions of greenhouse gases by 2050, that economic growth is decoupled from resource use, and that no person and no place is left behind. In the Green Deal, the European Commission emphasises the opportunities that climate action and environmental measures bring for the continent and ensures that the transition will be just and inclusive.

The European Green Deal is supported by a European Green Deal Investment Plan external link icon. This financial pillar will mobilise at least EUR 1 trillion in sustainable investments in the next decade. In the short term, some existing European funding programmes are already amended to adopt Green Deal priorities.

In the Horizon 2020 external link icon programme, a dedicated call will be included in the running work programme (period 2018-2020). This European Green Deal call external link icon will offer close to EUR 1 billion in support of research projects, pilot applications, demonstrations, and innovative products. The call contains eleven focus areas, which include circular economy, climate cities, clean energy, smart mobility, and restoration of biodiversity. The call will be published in September 2020 and proposals can be submitted before the end of January 2021 (expected). More information on the call will be published here external link icon.

How to apply?

All past, open and forthcoming calls for proposals can be found here external link icon.

POST-2020: Horizon Europe (PROPOSAL)

In 2021, Horizon 2020 will come to an end and will be succeeded by the follow-up programme called Horizon Europe. Horizon Europe will contain EUR 100 billion for research and innovation for the period 2021 to 2027. This programme will continue with more or less the same structure but will have a more mission-oriented focus.

Horizon Europe will stand on three pillars:
• Pillar 1: Excellent Science (EUR 25.8 billion)
• Pillar 2: Global challenges and European Industrial Competitiveness (EUR 52.7 billion)
• Pillar 3: Innovative Europe (EUR 13.5 billion)

Pillar 2 will consist of six clusters, being:
• Health
• Culture
• Creativity and Inclusive Society
• Civil Security for Society
• Digital, Industry and Space
• Climate Energy and Mobility
• Food, Bio-economy, Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environment

Especially within the latter two clusters, calls for projects will be announced that focus on circular cities.
Learn more about the proposal for Horizon Europe external link icon.