EU 08 Jan 2014

Horizon 2020 – the new EU funding programme for innovation and research

Horizon 2020 is the European Union’s new funding programme for research and innovation. The programme will run during the years 2014-2020 and has a total budget of over 70 billion Euro. 8.65 billion euros are earmarked for small and medium-sized enterprises (SME’s). The first call for proposals was launched December 11, 2013 and the whole programme opened on 1 January 2014. Using a new simplified application system, the EU hopes that small and medium-sized enterprises to a greater extent should seek funding.

Unlike the research-focused predecessor FP7, Horizon 2020 aims to transform cutting-edge research into actual products and services. Instead of, as previously assumed, a number of technical areas of research, the new program focuses on societal challenges divided into three main sections.

Horizon 2020 ‘s three priority sections:

  • Excellent Science – The section aims to reinforce and extend the Union’s position on the global research map. In addition to actual research, the section will also support collaboration and infrastructure related to research.
  • Industrial Leadership – The section aims to make Europe more attractive for investments in innovation and research. The goal is to counteract the global economic crisis by creating jobs and growth funded by private investment in innovation.
  • Societal challenges – the section aims to tackle the societal challenges facing the world. The focus is on seven interdisciplinary areas :
    – Health, demographic change and wellbeing;
    – Food security, sustainable agriculture and forestry, marine and maritime and inland water research, and the Bioeconomy;
    – Secure, clean and efficient energy;
    – Smart, green and integrated transport;
    – Climate action, environment, resource efficiency and raw materials;
    – Europe in a changing world – inclusive, innovative and reflective societies;
    – Secure societies – protecting freedom and security of Europe and its citizens.

One goal of the EU is to increase participation from corporations in funding programs – especially small and medium-sized businesses. It is hoped that the new simplified application system, along with an increased focus on close-to-market innovations, will facilitate this.

The funding is applied for by a consortium (consisting of SME’s, Universities, Science Parks, corporates, project manager , etc.) within any of the predefined sections. Up to 55 % of the approved funding can be paid in advance. In Sweden, companies can apply for support through Vinnova of up to 150 000 SEK for writing an application to Horizon 2020.

More information is available on the European Commission website on Horizon 2020:

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