Programme for Research and Innovation (Horizon 2020)



Total Budget: €77,03 billion

Thematic Categories: Research, Innovation, Technologies, Social affairs  / Energy, Environment, Health, Industry, Information and Communication Technologies, Justice, Security, Social Affairs, and Human Rights, Space, Telecommunications, Transport, Youth, Economic growth and competitiveness

Beneficiaries: Research Institution, Education and Training Centres, Lobby Group / Professional Association / Trade Union, State / Region / City / Municipality / Local Authority, International Organization, Small and Medium Sized Enterprises, SMEs (between 10 and 249 employees), Microenterprises (fewer than 10 employees), NGO / NPO, Public Services, Start Up Company, University, Enterprise (more than 250 employees or not defined), Association, National Government


The next Framework Programme;

Standard Eligibility Conditions;

  • Research & innovation actions (RIA); At least three legal entities. Each of the three must be established in a different EU Member State or Horizon 2020 associated country. All three legal entities must be independent of each other.  Funding rate: 100% - Consortia of partners from different countries, industry and academia.

  • Innovation actions (IA); At least three legal entities. Each of the three must be established in a different EU Member State or Horizon 2020 associated country. All three legal entities must be independent of each other. Funding rate: 70% (except for non-profit legal entities, where a rate of 100% applies)  Consortia of partners from different countries, industry and academia.

  • Coordination & support actions (CSA); At least one legal entity established in an EU Member State or Horizon 2020 associated country. Funding rate: 100% - Single entities or consortia of partners from different countries, industry and academia
  • ERA-NET Cofund actions; At least three legal entities. Each of the three must be established in a different EU Member State or Horizon 2020 associated country. All three legal entities must be independent of each other. Participants in ERA-NET Cofund actions must be legal entities owning or managing public research and innovation programmes Funding rate: 33%
  • Stand-alone researchers in the fields of European Research Council (ERC) and Marie Marie-Curie Programme
  • Stand-alone enterprises in the field of Innovation in SMEs, SME Instrument. Only SMEs can participate. Either a single SME or a consortium of SMEs established in an EU or Associated Country

Additional Information; Depends on the length of the project One pre-financing, One or several interim payments or One payment of the balance options are available. Pre-Financing option is valid depending on the duration of the project (Please refer “Financial Guidelines for Applicants” Subject to the successful conclusion of negotiations, the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the European Investment Fund (EIF) will play an important role in implementing each financial instrument facility in partnership with the European Commission.

Programme co-fund is to supplement individual calls or programmes. For example:

• Calls for proposals between national research programmes (ERA-NET co-fund);

• Calls for tenders for Pre-Commercial Public Procurements Or Public Procurement of Innovative solutions (PCP-PPI co-fund);

• Mobility programmes (Marie Skłodowska-Curie co-fund)

Priorities of the year can be found in annual work programme.

Tips for Applicants; Compared to FP7 simplification has lowered the administrative burden for participants and led to large reductions in the time to grant nevertheless new program will aim for further simplification and reduction of administrative burden for participants. Horizon 2020 has large-scale oversubscription and low success rate however the proposal evaluation process is generally highly regarded.

Programme Details;

The general objective of Horizon 2020 (H2020) is to contribute to building a society and an economy based on knowledge and innovation across the Union by leveraging additional research, development and innovation funding and by contributing to attaining research and development targets, including the target of 3% of GDP for research and development across the Union by 2020. It shall thereby support the

implementation of the Europe 2020 strategy and other Union policies, as well as the achievement and functioning of the European Research Area (ERA).

Horizon 2020 is the biggest EU Research and Innovation programme with nearly 80 billion € of funding available over 7 years (2014 to 2020). Apart from classic research projects, Horizon 2020 also funds innovation projects and pilot-projects in different fields.

The programme is divided into three different sections:

  • Excellent Science
  • Industrial Leadership
  • Societal Challenges

The general objective shall also be pursued through the specific objectives ‘Spreading excellence and widening participation’ and ‘Science with and for society’. The Joint Research Centre shall contribute to the general objective and the H2020 priorities by providing scientific and technical support to Union policies in collaboration with relevant national and regional research stakeholders, where appropriate, for example on the development of smart specialisation strategies.

Supported Actions

• Research and innovation actions primarily consisting of activities aiming to establish new knowledge and/or to explore the feasibility of a new or improved technology, product, process, service or solution. For this purpose they may include basic and applied research, technology development and integration, testing and validation on a small-scale prototype in a laboratory or simulated environment. Projects may contain closely connected but limited demonstration or pilot activities aiming to show technical feasibility in a near to operational environment.

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

• Coordination and Support Actions consisting primarily of accompanying measures such as standardisation, dissemination, awareness- raising and communication, networking, coordination or support services, policy dialogues and mutual learning exercises and studies, including design studies for new infrastructure and may also include complementary activities of strategic planning, networking and coordination between programmes in different countries.


Activities under this Pillar aim to reinforce and extend the excellence of the Union’s science base and to consolidate the European Research Area in order to make the Union’s research and innovation system more competitive on a global scale.

The Excellent Science pillar has main four specific objectives:

• The European Research Council (ERC) provides attractive and flexible funding to enable talented and creative individual researchers and their teams to pursue the most promising avenues at the frontier of science, on the basis of Union-wide competition. (ERC)

Project types:

  • Starting Grant; 2-7 years from dissertation, ≤1.5 M€ over 5 years
  • Consolidator Grant; 8-12 years from dissertation, ≤2 M€ over 5 years
  • Advanced Grant; ≤2,5 (3,5) M€ over 5 years
  • Proof of Concept Grant; ≤150 k€ over 1 year (For ERC Grant holders to investigate innovation potential)

• Future and emerging technologies will support collaborative research in order to extend Europe’s capacity for advanced and paradigm- changing innovation. (FET)

  • FET OPEN; Early-stage, visionary new ideas (bottom-up)
  • FET Proactive; Based on challenges
  • FET Flagship; Large Scale Initiatives

• Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions will provide excellent and innovative research training as well as attractive career and knowledge- exchange opportunities. (MSCA) Can be used as recruitment instrument from any country.

  • IF – Individual Fellowships – Researcher 
  • Research in an (another) EU country (1-2 years)
  • Research outside EU (1-2 years) and within EU again (1 year)
  • ITN – Innovative Training Networks - PhD stud, Researcher
  • European “Research Training school” (5 – 10 partners) - ETN
  • Joint doctorate between Universities - EJD
  • Industry doctorate (in conjunction with university) - EID
  • RISE – Research and Innovation Staff Exchange - PhD stud, Researcher, Lab staff
  • Knowledge exchange by two-way secondments

• Research infrastructure (including e-infrastructures) will develop European research infrastructure for 2020 and beyond, foster their innovation potential and human capital, and complement this with the related Union policy and international cooperation. (RI)


€24,44 billion

Level of Financing (EU co-financing rate)

•    Coordination and Support actions 100%

•    Research and Innovation actions 100%

•    Innovation actions 70% (except for non-profit legal entities - 100%)

•    Pre-commercial procurement (PCP) Cofund 70%

•    Public procurement of Innovative solutions (PPI) Cofund 20%


This pillar aims to speed up development of the technologies and innovations that will underpin tomorrow’s businesses and help innovative European SMEs to grow into world-leading companies. It consists of three specific objectives:

“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.

 “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.

“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.


€17,02 billion

Level of Financing (EU co-financing rate)

•           ERA-NET (Co-fund) 33%

•           Coordination and Support actions 100%

•           Research and Innovation actions 100%

•           Innovation actions 70% (except for non-profit legal entities - 100%)


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:

(a) Health, demographic change and well-being.

(b) Food security, sustainable agriculture and forestry, marine, maritime and inland water research, and the bioeconomy.

(c) Secure, clean and efficient energy.

(d) Smart, green and integrated transport.

(e) Climate action, environment, resource efficiency and raw materials.

(f) Europe in a changing world - Inclusive, innovative and reflective societies.

(g) Secure societies - Protecting freedom and security of Europe and its citizens.



€29,68 billion

Level of Financing (EU co-financing rate)

•           ERA-NET (Co-fund) 33%

•           Coordination and Support actions 100%

•           Research and Innovation actions 100%

•           Innovation actions 70% (except for non-profit legal entities - 100%)


The aim is to build effective cooperation between science and society, to recruit new talent for science and to pair scientific excellence with social awareness and responsibility.

The focus of activities shall be to:

(a) make scientific and technological careers attractive to young students, and foster sustainable interaction between schools, research institutions, industry and civil society organisations;

(b) promote gender equality in particular by supporting structural changes in the organisation of research institutions and in the content and design of research activities;

(c) integrate society in science and innovation issues, policies and activities in order to integrate citizens’ interests and values and to increase the quality, relevance, social acceptability and sustainability of research and innovation outcomes in various fields of activity from social innovation to areas such as biotechnology and nanotechnology;

(d) encourage citizens to engage in science through formal and informal science education, and promote the diffusion of science-based activities, namely in science centres and through other appropriate channels;

(e) develop the accessibility and the use of the results of publicly-funded research;

(f) develop the governance for the advancement of responsible research and innovation by all stakeholders (researchers, public authorities, industry and civil society organisations), which is sensitive to society needs and demands, and promote an ethics framework for research and innovation;

(g) take due and proportional precautions in research and innovation activities by anticipating and assessing potential environmental, health and safety impacts;

(h) improve knowledge on science communication in order to improve the quality and effectiveness of interactions between scientists, general media and the public.



€462 million

Level of Financing (EU co-financing rate)

•           Coordination and Support actions 100%

•           Research and Innovation actions 100%

•           Innovation actions 70% (except for non-profit legal entities - 100%)


The specific objective “Spreading excellence and widening participation” is to fully exploit the potential of Europe’s talent pool and to ensure that the benefits of an innovation-led economy are both maximised and widely distributed across the Union in accordance with the principle of excellence.

Specific actions will facilitate the spreading of excellence and widening of participation through the following actions:

•           Teaming of excellent research institutions and low performing in research, development and innovation (RDI) regions aiming at the creation of new (or significant upgrade of existing) centres of excellence in low performing RDI Member States and regions.

•           Twinning of research institutions aiming at significantly strengthening a defined field of research in an emerging institution through links with at least two internationally-leading institutions in a defined field.

•           Establishing ERA Chairs’ to attract outstanding academics to institutions with a clear potential for research excellence, in order to help these institutions fully unlock this potential and hereby create a level playing field for research and innovation in the ERA. Possible synergies with ERC activities should be explored.

•           A Policy Support Facility to improve the design, implementation and evaluation of national/ regional research and innovation policies.

•           Supporting access to international networks for excellent researchers and innovators who lack sufficient involvement in European and international networks, including COST (European Cooperation in Science and Technology)3.

•           Strengthening the administrative and operational capacity of transnational networks of National Contact Points, including through training, so that they can provide better support to potential participants.



€816 million

Level of Financing (EU co-financing rate)

•           Framework partnership agreement  20%

•           Coordination and Support actions 100%

•           Research and Innovation actions 100%


This instrument is aimed at highly innovative SMEs with the ambition to develop their growth potential. It offers lump sums for feasibility studies, grants for an innovation project’s main phase (demonstration, prototyping, testing, application development...); lastly, the commercialization phase is supported indirectly through facilitated access to debt and equity financial instruments

SME instrument that is targeted at all types of SMEs with an innovation potential, in a broad sense, should be created under a single centralized management system and implemented primarily in a bottom-up manner through a continuously open call tailored to the needs of SMEs as set out under the specific objective "Innovation in SME”

Start-ups and small and medium-sized enterprises that are based in one of the EU’s Member States or are established in a Horizon 2020 Associated Country can receive EU funding and support for breakthrough innovation projects with a market-creating potential as part of the Enhanced European Innovation Council (EIC) . The EIC Accelerator (SME Instrument) is part of the European Innovation Council (EIC) pilot that supports top-class innovators, entrepreneurs, small companies and scientists with funding opportunities and acceleration services. The EIC Accelerator (SME Instrument) supports high-risk, high-potential small and medium-sized enterprises and innovators to help them develop and bring onto the market new innovative products, services and business models that could drive economic growth. Selected companies receive funding and optional equity and are offered business coaching and mentoring to scale up their innovation idea. They get extra acceleration services to connect with investors, corporates and likeminded entrepreneurs. As an EIC Accelerator client, you will gain visibility and boost your chances of success in European and international markets.

The EIC Accelerator Pilot supports close-to-market activities, with the aim to give a strong boost to breakthrough innovation with a market-creating potential. Highly innovative SMEs with a clear commercial ambition and a potential for high growth and internationalisation are the prime target.

The EIC Accelerator Pilot offers small and medium-sized businesses the following:

Business innovation grants for feasibility assessment purposes (optional phase I): EUR 50,000 (lump sum) per project (70% of total cost of the project) – this ends on 5 September 2019;

Business innovation grants for innovation development & demonstration purposes: an amount in the indicative range of EUR 500,000 and 2,5 million (70% of total cost of the project as a general rule);

Equity of up to €15 million per company (€100 million total budget for equity in 2019-2020 pilot phase)

Free-of-charge business coaching (optional) in order to support and enhance the firm’s innovation capacity and help align the project to strategic business needs;

Access to a wide range of other business acceleration services and facilitated access to risk finance, to facilitate the commercial exploitation of the innovation.

The EIC Accelerator (SME Instrument) consists of two separate grant phases, both complemented by coaching and business acceleration services. Participants can apply to Phase 1 with a view to applying to Phase 2 at a later stage, or directly to Phase 2 if the idea has sufficient maturity and proven feasibility. Successful completion of Phase 2 will give you a kind of quality label, which will open possibilities for support from the financial instruments under Horizon 2020 and COSME, including access to debt and equity finance.

Only a single for-profit SMEs or a consortium of for-profit SMEs can apply for funding under the SME Instrument. All applicants need to be legally established in the EU-28 or in a country associated to Horizon 2020. Other partners, such as research providers or larger companies, can be involved as third parties, usually in a subcontracting relationship, and do not need to be established necessarily in the EU or countries associated to Horizon 2020.

SME Instrument Data Hub;


Find a Call;

Work Programme;


Examples of Horizon 2020 Projects;

  • Improving disease detection through ultra-high-field MRIs M-CUBE 
  • - € 4 582 346,25


The widespread adoption of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) revolutionised clinical medicine, and the revolution has not stopped. Scientists in the FET-Open project are exploring ways to make MRIs even more effective - aiming to help patients get the best possible treatment through early disease detection.

  • Human-machine cooperation in healthcare – SMART NURSE 
  • - € 100 000


People are increasingly interacting with intelligent technology, as the real and digital worlds become intertwined. The EIC FET-Open project is working to bring new forms of human-machine collaboration into real-life educational settings for healthcare providers that will benefit students, trainers and patients.

  • Developing a taste for high-protein plants - PROTEIN2FOOD 
  • - € 8 817 637,50


An EU-funded project is investigating protein-rich crops in Europe as attractive alternatives to meat - a means to reduce the environmental impact of livestock on the planet and provide farmers with a new source of income.

  • - The ultimate city for the elderly population - City4Age 
  • - € 4 472 750


The European funded City4Age project aims to make cities more age-friendly. It will create innovative ICT tools and services for early detection of risks related to frailty and of Mild Cognitive Impairments (MCI). The services will be tested in several European cities, as well as in Singapore.

  • SMEs to benefit from secure online payment technology - PAYPLUG LABS 
  • - € 2 977 725


An EU-funded project to design a simple and secure means of collecting online payments will enable more SMEs to efficiently and cost-effectively access the full potential of Europe’s burgeoning e-commerce market.

  • SMEs to benefit from secure online payment technology – GREENPROTEIN (Serbia)
  • € 5 546 519,33

The EU-funded GREENPROTEIN project centres around the extraction and purification of RuBisCO, which is the most abundant protein in the world. The project has developed a unique process that takes green by-products from vegetables and field-crop residues and turns them into dry leaf protein isolate powder with a RuBisCo content of at least 85 %

Examples of Open Calls as of the date 15.08.2019

Fast Track to Innovation (FTI) EIC-FTI-2018-2020

FTI supports actions undertaking innovation from the demonstration stage through to market uptake, including activities such as piloting, test-beds, systems validation in real-world working conditions, validation of business models, pre-normative research, and standard-setting.

•           Participation of three to no more than five different legal entities, independent of each other, in a consortium.

•           Allocation of at least 60% of the overall budget to consortium partner(s) from industry; or a minimum of 2 industry partners out of a consortium of 3 or 4; or a minimum of 3 industry partners out of a consortium of 5.

•           Requested EU contribution not more than €3 million.

•           All consortium members established in EU Member States or in countries associated to Horizon 2020.

•           The time to initial market take-up should be no more than 3 years from the start of your FTI action.

SME instrument EIC-SMEInst-2018-2020

•           For-profit SMEs, including young companies and start-ups, from any sector. You must be established in an EU Member State or a Horizon 2020 associated country.

•           There are no set topics. Negative impacts on climate and the environment should be avoided.

•           Phase 1 helps you get a grip on the R&D, technical feasibility and commercial potential of a ground-breaking, innovative idea and develop it into a credible business plan.

•           Your goal in Phase 1 is to formulate a solid, high-potential innovation project with a European or global growth-oriented strategy

•           Your proposal must be based on an initial business plan and outline the specifications of a more elaborate one, which will be the outcome of the project.

•           Phase 1 funding is a lump sum of €50 000[2]. Projects should last around 6 months. (eligible cost for a Phase 1 project is €71 249. Applying the co-financing rate of 70%, the amount of the grant is established at €50 000.)

•           Phase 2 helps you develop your business concept further into a market-ready product, service or process aligned with your company's growth strategy. Activities could, for example, include product/service development, trials, prototyping, validation, demonstration and testing in real-world conditions, and market replication. If the activity concerns a primarily technological innovation, a Technology Readiness Level (TRL) of 6 or above is required for primarily technological innovation or the equivalent for non-technological innovation. You can subcontract work essential for your innovation project.

•           Phase 2 offers a grant only support to SMEs in need of one last push before the scaling-up phase; and it will offer blended finance (combining grant and equity)[4] to SMEs looking to further develop their idea.

•           Grant only funding is provided (funding rate 70%) of between €0.5 million and €2.5 million. Take 12 to 24 months to complete, but could be longer in exceptional and well-justified cases

•           Under the blended finance option, the grant component is limited to €2.5 million combined with an equity component of up to €15 million. You can request a higher or lower amount, duly justified, when applying.

Sustainable Nano-Fabrication (CSA) DT-NMBP-12-2019)


•           Establish a network of EU stakeholders that will manage information and communication among its members in the technical domains such as nano-synthesis, nanofabrication, nanostructuring, additive nanomanufacturing, nanostructure assembly, roll-to-roll nanofabrication, etc.;

•           Cover research and new standards for functional nanoparticles, nanomaterials, components, devices and processes. Establish common approaches for nomenclature, metrology, measurements and characterisation applied for nanomaterials by design, three-dimensional nanostructures, multi-layer nanodevices, multi-material and multi-functional nanosystems, dynamic nanosystems, etc.;

•           Provide access across Europe to services and infrastructure for SMEs;

•           Cover sustainability in terms of human health, ethics, environment, life-cycle analysis;

•           Cover development of the necessary skills for this new industry.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of around EUR 2 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.