In January 2014 Horizon 2020 will be launched,opening the first calls for proposals. It is important to have proper answers to the most relevant questions about this new Programme and the framework it creates for European R&D and Innovation.


What is H2020? 

Horizon 2020 (H2020) is the successor of the 7th Framework Programme (FP7) and the Programme for Competitiveness and Innovation (CIP). It is the main instrument of the European Commission for giving public financial support to research, technological development and innovation activity across Europe, and covers the period 2014-2020. It also integrates the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT).

H2020 reflects the policy priorities articulated in the Europe 2020 Strategy which aims to make the EU a “smart, sustainable and inclusive” economy, fighting against the big societal challenges the EU will face from now to 2020.

When will it start?

In January 2014

How is it structured?

H2020 is structured into three pillars, which include different subprogrammes:

Excellent Sciencie: Addressed to support researches and funding basic research  actions. it includes various subprogrammes: Marie Curie, European Research Council, Future and Emerging Technologies.

Industrial Leadership: Adressed to funding research, development, demonstration and innovation projects, as well as complementary actions for specific groups (SMEs). It includes: Innovation in SMEs, Access to Risk Finance, Leadership in Enabling and Industrial Technologies (innovation and enterprise funding)

Societal Challenges: Seven cross-disciplinary challenges designed to fund research which addresses major concerns shared by all EU citizens:

    •       Health, demographic change and wellbeing
    •       Food security, sustainable agriculture, marine and maritime research and the bioeconomy
    •       Secure, clean and efficient energy
    •       Smart, green and integrated transport
    •       Climate action, environment, resource efficiency and raw materials
    •       Inclusive, innovative and reflective societies
    •       Secure societies – protecting freedom and security of Europe and its citizeWhat's the budget 

How much budget is allocated to each pillar?  

The total budget of the rogramme is 70b Euro. Distributed in the following way:

·         Excelent Sciencie (32% €22bn)

·         Industrial Leadership (22% €16bn)

·         Societal Challenges (39% €27bn)

The rest is addressed to funding other R&D actions and subprogrammes: Erasmus, European Institute for Resarch and Innovation (EIT) and the Sciencie for Society policy.

How can I participate? 

Horizon 2020 allows the participation of any independent organization legally constituted and established in any EU Member State. The implementation of H2020 is based on biannual Work Programmes, which set the thematic priorities as well as the call dates and deadlines for project proposals submission. The Work Programme for years 2014 and 2015 will be published this December, and the first calls will start from January 2014.

One of the most common ways of participation in the Programme is becoming part of a consortium of a collaborative project. This consortium usually comprehends different sort of organizations from different countries (Public administrations, Large Enterprises, SMEs, Universities, Research Institutes, etc.).

How can SMEs take part in H2020?

SMEs are to have a very relevant role in the Programme. At least, 20% of H2020's budget from Societal Challenges and Industrial Leadership should be used to help them as innovation trackers, in accordance to what the EC has set as a plan.  Furthermore, different specific instruments addressed to SMEs have been created. This is the case of the "Instrument for SMEs", which includes mechanisms to support SMEs in their projects from ideation to commercialization. There are also available other financing instruments (debt financing, equity financing) as well as other non direct financing services: personalized assistance and coaching.

What's the funding rule per project?    

For universities and other non-profit organisations there is a simplified rate of 100% of all eligible direct costs, plus a flat rate of 25% (of total direct costs) for indirect costs. For profit-making organisations working on “close to market” projects, the rates will be 70% of eligible direct costs plus 25% towards indirect costs. In case they work in R&D projects, financial support will cover also the 100% of their direct costs.

VAT will be an eligible expense, in contrast to current FP7 rules. In light of new open access requirements, Article Processing Charges will also be an eligible expense.

What can I do to get ready for H2020? 

The participation in European Programmes In support of R&D and Innovation is not easy. It requires a lot preparation and time investment. The competition is hard and an excellent knowledge on the subprogrammes, their rules and focus is needed to succeed. It also requires of a powerful, high technical quality and trusted network of potential collaborators at European level and the design of coherent participation strategies.

RTDI, aiming at helping any organization getting ready fior H2020 and helping defining succesful participation strategies, has developed two main services:  

  • Workshop: How to get ready and succeed in participating in Horizon 2020” - The most advanced workshop in Europe to help you develop a coherent and strong participation stratregy for H2020. Useful tools, key concepts and information resources are given to participants, as well as post-seminar tuition services in form of free webminars. For more information click HERE 

  • Guide to H2020: "The New European R&D and Innovation Programme": A complete, full color, 120 pages Guide to know everything about Horizon 2020, it susbprogrammes and priority areas. It includes rich analysis on the main news, differences and changes in the Programme compared with its predeccesors, as well useful resources and information sources to start building 'the need' and 'expected impact' of your project proposal. For more information click HERE 

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