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ICT in Horizon 2020: a pervasive presence to support EU global leadership in science, society and industry

On 11 December, the European Commission launched the first calls for projects under Horizon 2020 (H2020), the new European Union's €79 billion research and innovation programme.

You will be glad to hear that in H2020, the EU is investing at least 25% more in ICT research than in previous research programmes.

This concretely means that Europe believes that investing in ICT is worthwhile; it is the recognition of the key role of ICT in innovation and competitiveness across private and public sectors, as well as being an enabler of scientific progress in all disciplines.

Indeed, the structure of the new programme reflects the pervasiveness of ICT in all sectors and in all phases of the research and innovation cycle. The available instruments will support the full range of actions: from high-risk, ground-breaking research to innovation that can deliver revolutionary business breakthroughs, often on the basis of emerging technologies. Around €1.2 billion of funding for ICT is available through the first H2020 calls.

You can find ICT-related topics in all pillars of H2020, including a specific section in the 'Leadership in enabling and industrial technologies' (LEIT) work programme. The transformative power of ICT can also help address many of Europe's most pressing societal challenges, such as health, environment, secure and inclusive societies.

Through Future and Emerging Technologies (FET), supporting non-traditional exploratory research, Europe's excellent science base will gain competitive advantage by reinforcing multidisciplinarity. The programme will also allow implementing the eInfrastructure as part of the EU strategy on High Performance Computing and supporting the Open Access mandate covering the research publications output.

In addition, the Work Programme features several cross-cutting topics addressing cyber-security, Internet of Things and research on a Human-centric Digital Age. All activities are complemented with support to innovation and take-up, international cooperation and a dedicated action for SMEs to propose bottom-up innovative ideas, using the new SME dedicated instruments.

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