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%).

What is the relevance for Circular Cities?

In the final work programme (2018 – 2020), a dedicated focus area on the circular economy was established: “Connecting economic and environmental gains – the Circular Economy.” This focus area comprises of calls for research, innovation and financing of projects and initiatives that will support circular economy-related projects.

Within this focus area, calls for proposals are organised related to the following topics:

  • Leadership in enabling and industrial technologies – Nanotechnologies, Advanced Materials, Advanced Manufacturing and Processing, and Biotechnology (LEIT-NMBP)
  • Societal Challenge 2: Food security sustainable agriculture and forestry, marine and maritime and inland water research, and the bio-economy
  • Societal Challenge 3: Secure, clean and efficient energy
  • Societal Challenge 5: Climate action, environment, resource efficiency and raw materials

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 till 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.