Beginner’s guide to EU funding

Main funding sources

Main funding sources

Horizon 2020

Horizon 2020 (H2020) is the EU’s new framework programme for researchers. It is the world’s largest multinational programme of support for research and innovation. Researchers of any nationality, in any research area and at any stage of their career can apply. The programme is managed by the Commission via various agencies (EASME, REA and INEA).

Funding is available for:

  1. PhD applicants;
  2. researchers who already have a PhD; and
  3. action in support of research collaboration between advanced multidisciplinary science and cutting-edge engineering to trigger radical new lines of technology.

The Participant Portal is an internet gateway for the stakeholders in EU R&I programmes. Any potential participant can register.

European Research Council funding schemes 

The European Research Council (ERC) supports individual researchers of any nationality and age wishing to pursue frontier research. It particularly welcomes proposals with cross‑disciplinary boundaries, pioneering ideas that address new and emerging fields, and applications that introduce unconventional, innovative approaches.

There are three core funding schemes and two additional schemes:

Core schemes

  1. Starting grants to support top researchers with 2‑7 years of experience after their PhD;
  2. Consolidator grants to support top researchers with 7‑12 years of experience after their PhD; and
  3. Advanced grants for excellent established researchers who have a recent track-record in research.

Additional schemes

  1. Proof of concept (for ERC grant holders only); and
  2. Synergy grants: pilot scheme for small groups of excellent researchers.

H2020 areas managed by the Research Executive Agency

The Research Executive Agency (REA) manages a large part of Horizon 2020, in five broad areas:

  1. Excellent science;
  2. Industrial leadership;
  3. Societal challenges;
  4. Spreading excellence and widening participation; and
  5. ‘Science with and for society’.
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