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Horizon 2020: European programme for research and innovation


The 30th of November 2011, the European Commission has revealed its European programme for research and innovation. Running from 2014 to 2020 with an €80 billion budget, this programme replaces the seventh framework programme (FP7). Its aim: reach the objective to allocate 3% of the European GDP into research and innovation in 2020.

Three pillars in one programme

  1. Excellent science (€24.6 billion)
The European Research Council is the first concerned in this pillar with a funding of €13.27 billion. Horizon 2020 will also fund the Marie Curie Actions (€5.75 billion), support the Future and Emerging Technologies (€3.1 billion) and strengthen research infrastructures (€2.48 billion).
  1. Competitive industries (€17.94 billion)
The second pillar will be mainly run with the industrial sector. €13.78 billion will be use to enhance leadership in industrial key sectors such as ICT, nanotechnologies, advanced materials, biotechnology, advanced manufacturing and processing, and space. The European programme wishes also to facilitate access to risk finance (€3.54 billion) and provide Union wide support for innovation in SMEs (€619 billion).
  1. Better society (€31.75 billion)
This pillar is dedicated to the support of the European policy priorities for 2020. The European commission wants to “bring together resources and knowledge across different fields, technologies and disciplines, including social sciences and the humanities”. Thus, the funding will be divided between:
  • Health, demographic change and wellbeing;
  • Food security, sustainable agriculture, marine and maritime research, and the bio-economy;
  • Secure, clean and efficient energy;
  • Smart, green and integrated transport;
  • Inclusive, innovative and secure societies;
  • Climate action, resource efficiency and raw materials.

Lighten the administrative process

The funding provided by Horizon 2020 will be easier to access. The commission seeks to simplify the administrative process: simpler programme architecture, single set of rules and less red-tape. The paperwork for preparing proposals will be reduced, and measures will be taken to accelerate the receipt of funding following a grant application. In doing so, the Commission wishes also to open up the programme to more participants from across Europe, and aims to identify potential centres of excellence in underperforming regions to offer them policy and support.

Negotiations between the Council and the European Parliament will begin shortly, with a view to adoption before the end of 2013. Thus, calls for proposals could start on January 2014.