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Horizion 2020: Ready to set sail

The European Union’s framework programme for research and innovation Horizon 2020 was approved by the European Parliament at the November session in Strasbourg. With a budget of nearly EUR 77 billion (budget amount adjusted to inflation) Horizon 2020 is not only the biggest EU-funded research programme but also the biggest publicly funded research programme worldwide.

The final approval by the European Parliament was postponed, as Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) wanted to see 11 % of the Horizion 2020 budget being spent in support of small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). This aspect was not originally included in the Commission’s Horizon 2020 proposal, but MEPs submitted their demands in form of a Fast track to innovation scheme which will allow SMEs to benefit from Horizon 2020 funding.

As previously reported (see ACA Newsletter – Education Europe, June 2013), the framework programme consists of three different pillars:

  • societal challenges (39 % of the budget) focuses on issues related to health, demographic change, food security and sustainability, efficient energy usage, climate action and environment friendly means of transport;
  • excellent science  (32 % of the budget) includes funding for Marie Sklodowska Curie actions (i.e. training and career development for scientific staff), the European Research Council (ERC), Research infrastructures and research on future and emerging technologies (FET); and
  • industrial leadership (22 % of the budget) deals with ICT, nanotechnologies, materials, biotechnology, manufacturing, space research, access to risk finance and the Fast track to innovation scheme.

Smaller shares of the Horizon 2020 budget will be allocated for the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) and the Joint Research Council (JRC). Horizon 2020 will replace the Seventh Research Framework Programme (FP7) with a budget of EUR 53 billion. In contrast to its predecessor, Horizon 2020 will have a stronger focus on the promotion of economic development. Calls for proposals will be less detailed in order to increase competition for funding and SMEs will benefit from simplified applications. Following the approval by the Council of the European Union in early December, the first calls for proposals are set to be published on 11 December.

European Commission - Press release

European Commission - Factsheet Horizon 2020

European Parliament - Press release