Horizon 2020
The EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation

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Key Enabling Technologies (KETs) are multi-disciplinary, knowledge and capital-intensive technologies. They cut across many diverse sectors providing the basis for significant competitive advantage for the European industry, and stimulate growth and the creation of new jobs.

The specific objectives of biotechnology research and innovation under “Industrial Leadership” are

  • to develop competitive, sustainable, safe and innovative industrial products and processes, and
  • to contribute as an innovation driver in a number of European sectors like agriculture, forestry, food, energy, chemical and health as well as bioeconomy.

A strong scientific, technological and innovation base in biotechnology will support European industries securing leadership in this key enabling technology. This position will be further strengthened by integrating the safety assessment and management aspects of the overall risks in the deployment of biotechnology.

Examples of the rising importance of biotechnology are in industrial applications including biopharmaceuticals, food and feed production and bio-chemicals, of which the market share of the latter is estimated to increase by up to 12% - 20% of chemical production by 2015. In Europe's biopharmaceutical sector, already some 20% of the current medicines are derived from biotechnology, and up to 50% of new medicines.

A number of the so-called twelve rules of Green Chemistry are also addressed by biotechnology, due to the selectivity and efficiency of bio-systems. Against this background, harnessing the potential of biotechnology processes and bio-based products could lead to a reduction of CO2 emissions which is estimated to range from between 1 to 2.5 billion tons of CO2 equivalent per year by 2030.

Key sources of innovation are at the interface between biotechnology and other enabling and converging technologies, in particular nanotechnologies and ICT, with applications such as sensing and diagnosing.

Search for funding opportunities related to biotechnology in the Participant Portal.



From 09/11/2015 - 01:00 to 10/11/2015 - 01:00
Brussels, Belgium,

Join this high-level event hosted by the Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, Carlos Moedas, to focus on investment opportunities in the Bioeconomy.

The Bioeconomy Investment Summit will be held at the Charlemagne building and it will include two major exhibitions – a bioeconomy flat furnished and decorated with everyday objects that show how the bioeconomy is already part of our lives; and a two floor exhibition with successful bioeconomy projects. Read more


27/05/2014 - 17:51

This short video animation will guide you through the first steps you will need to take to apply to Horizon 2020. Read more

27/05/2014 - 17:32

Find out more about Horizon 2020 in this three minute animation clip which will give you a general overview of the programme specifics. Read more

28/03/2014 - 11:20

You may have heard of the bioeconomy and wondered what it is all about. Discover it now! Read more


25/09/2015 - 13:58

On 25 September, the Commission launched an online survey to gather opinions from stakeholders on the impact of the simplification measures introduced in Horizon 2020, and to ask for new ideas on future simplification. Read more

06/07/2015 - 17:58

By 1 December 2014 the first 100 calls had closed. What can we tell about the popularity of the programme, the success of SMEs, the degree to which the programme has attracted newcomers - both as participants and as expert evaluators - the proportion of women experts and the speed with which contracts have been signed? See this new page to find out more! Read more

12/06/2015 - 16:30

The first ten projects of the new Bio-Based Industries Joint Undertaking (BBI JU), a partnership between the EU and industry, will get underway with a total of €50 million from Horizon 2020, the EU's research funding programme, and a further €28 million from the industry. This is thanks to the signature of the grant agreements finalised today (15 June 2015). Read more

Project stories

18/09/2015 - 14:30

EU-funded researchers are looking to commercialise cutting-edge technology that converts toxic olive oil waste into heat and electricity, bringing environmental and economic benefits to some of the most underdeveloped regions of Europe. Read more

13/07/2015 - 11:30

Prof. Emma Master works on new enzymes and proteins that can be used to produce renewable materials from plant fibres. Her findings could boost the biochemical and bioplastics markets. Read more

13/11/2014 - 12:13

Professor Michela Chiappalone is a neuroscientist at the Department of Neuroscience and Brain Technologies, Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT). She is also the coordinator of the BRAIN BOW FET Open project aiming to connect in vitro neuronal assemblies to an artificial system for restoring the lost neuronal functionality. In this interview she tells us about her experience, as a researcher involved in a FET project. Read more


25/09/2015 - 17:40

Horizon 2020 is the EU’s biggest ever programme for research and innovation, and it has got off to an excellent start. This brochure presents information on the first 100 calls for proposals that closed by 1 December 2014. Read more

24/09/2015 - 20:03

Horizon 2020 is the biggest EU research and innovation programme ever. Almost €80 billion of funding is available over seven years (2014 to 2020) – in addition to the private and national public investment that this money will attract. This publication presents the full set of Key Performance and Cross-Cutting Issues Indicators for Horizon 2020, including those for the European Institute of Technology and EURATOM. Read more

01/04/2015 - 13:30

For three decades, the EU Framework Programmes have been funding breakthroughs across Europe. RTD’s Horizon Magazine looks at the people and events that have helped shape European research policy, taking you behind the scenes during the pivotal moments from the last 30 years of research funding. These articles have been brought together into a special Horizon supplement to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Framework Programmes. Read more

Press Release

05/02/2015 - 16:40

With the support of the European Research Council (ERC) "Proof of Concept" grants, 59 researchers in Europe will now get the chance to turn their inventions into viable products. Read more