Horizon 2020
The EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation

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Key Enabling Technologies

Key Enabling Technologies (KETs) are investments and technologies that will allow European industries to retain competitiveness and capitalise on new markets. The Industrial Technologies Programme (NMP) focuses on four KETs: nanotechnologies, advanced materials, and advanced manufacturing and processing (production technologies) and biotechnology.

Europe’s industry is facing many challenges such as global competition, and the need for energy and resources to be efficient. Investing in research and innovation is essential to address these challenges and, at the same time, to help to develop and deploy solutions for societal challenges like health, energy, climate and so on.

Nanotechnologies, advanced materials, and advanced manufacturing and processing are key areas that determine Europe’s position in the global market. Investing in these areas will boost competitiveness, create jobs, and support growth.

  • Nanotechnologies can create materials and devices on a minuscule scale - 80,000 times smaller than a human hair. Nanotechnologies are touching every aspect of human life: electronics, medicines, everyday products, our cars and our homes. Research in this area will lead to new products and services developed by the industry, capable of enhancing human health while conserving resources and protecting the environment.
  • Advanced materials can introduce new functionalities and improved properties, while adding value to existing products and processes, in a sustainable approach. Research can start from the material itself (e.g. biomaterials), from the industrial sector (e.g. metallurgy) or from their applications (e.g. energy, health, transport). Research in this area responds to people’s needs and concerns for integrated solutions that combine energy, natural resources and human health.
  • Sustainable development is key for the manufacturing sector in Europe. We need to invest in new engineering leading to flexible manufacturing, clean processes, and improved production processes, to increase the competitiveness of its industry in a sustainable and energy-efficient way.
  • In partnership with industry, the EU will also invest in research and innovation for Energy-efficient buildings, Factories of the Future, and Sustainable Process Industries (SPIRE). Industry is pledging further private investment in the technologies. The aim is to increase the competitiveness and energy efficiency of the construction sector, to increase sustainability of production processes and make the process industry more resource- and energy efficient. In this way, the private and public sectors will boost Europe’s industrial leadership, while responding to Europe’s concerns to create jobs, and address problems of energy and resource efficiency.

Search for funding opportunities related to key enabling technologies in the Participant Portal.



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


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



Research partnerships between the EU, the private sector and Member States presented their first calls for projects and partners under Horizon 2020, the EU's €80 billion research and innovation programme, at an event in Brussels on 9 July 2014. Read more

Project stories


Parts for cars, airplanes, machines and all types of devices are made with factory tools that must be not only strong and precise, but also exceptionally durable. Read more


Electric cars are the most likely environmental-friendly replacement for combustion engine-powered vehicles. To help industry make the expected transition, the EU-funded LOCOBOT project has developed reconfigurable robotic assistants to increase productivity on the assembly line – reducing costs. And as the robots are so adaptable, they will be particularly useful for the new and varied production processes expected in electric-car manufacturing. Read more


If Europe’s chemical industry – a sector with enormous growth potential – can achieve greater water efficiency, then the benefits will not just be environmental. Making better use of natural resources will help improve the sector’s competitiveness and ensure compliance with ever more stringent rules to protect the environment. Read more

Press Release


The European Commission and the European Investment Bank Group (EIB) launched a new generation of EU financial instruments and advisory services to help innovative firms access finance more easily. Read more

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