Horizon 2020
The EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation

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Spreading Excellence and Widening Participation

Maximising investment in research and innovation will enable the European Research Area to function in a more streamlined and homogeneous way, allowing the individual strengths of each Member State to be optimised.

Despite serious efforts deployed at national and European level, the European Union sees significant internal disparities in terms of research and innovation performance as also identified in the Innovation Union Scoreboard. These trends are further exacerbated by the continuing severe financial crisis, and the subsequent adverse effects on public research and innovation budgets.

Also, there is significant evidence pointing to the fact that the pathway to economic growth and competitiveness is strongly connected to the scaling up of investment in research and innovation.

In order to address these challenges, Horizon 2020 introduces specific measures for spreading excellence and widening participation. These measures are targeted at low-performing Member States in terms of research and innovation, and they will be implemented by the Member States most in need of the new Cohesion policy for the 2014-2020 programming period.

  • The Teaming action (associating advanced research institutions to other institutions, agencies or regions for the creation or upgrade of existing centres of excellence) is a new feature under Horizon 2020. It will provide new opportunities to the parties involved, with real prospects for growth through tapping into new collaboration and development patterns, including the establishment of new scientific networks, links with local clusters and opening up access to new markets. This will offer national and local research new possibilities for exploitation and value creation and boost the innovation potential of the  countries involved.
  • Twinning will help strengthen a defined field of research in a knowledge institution through linking with at least two internationally-leading counterparts in Europe.
  • The ERA Chairs scheme will provide support for universities and other research institutions to attract and maintain high quality human resources and implement the structural changes necessary to achieve excellence on a sustainable basis.
  • The Policy Support Facility will aim to improve the design, implementation and evaluation of national/regional research and innovation policies. It will offer expert advice to public authorities at national or regional level on a voluntary basis, covering the needs to access the relevant body of knowledge, benefit from the insight of international experts, use state of the art methodologies and tools, and receive tailor-made advice.
  • Supporting access to international networks for excellent researchers and innovators who lack sufficient involvement in European and international networks. This will include support provided through COST.
  • Strengthening the administrative and operational capacity of transnational networks of National Contact Points will allow financial and technical support and ensure the flow of information between them and the Horizon 2020 implementation bodies.


29/10/2015 - 01:00
Brussels, Belgium,

Come along to our info-day together with your institution's HR Manager to find out more. This event addresses all beneficiaries and potential applicants of H2020 contracts/projects who need to comply with article 32 stipulating the obligation to take measures to implement the European Charter and Code (C & C) for the benefit of all researchers and their institution. Read more

19/10/2015 - 02:00
Milan, Italy,

Information day on Horizon 2020

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From 12/10/2015 - 02:00 to 15/10/2015 - 02:00
Leuven, Belgium,

The Annual Conference of EPoSS, the European Technology Platform on Smart Systems Integration, will be a joint event with the MNBS Consultation and Concertation Workshop on Micro-Nano-Bio Convergence Systems.

A Call for Presentations was launched for the EPoSS Annual Forum 2015 on 13 October 2015 under the motto “State of the (Sm)Art: Smart Systems Responding to Demand Side Requirements”.

The Call is open until 14 August 2015

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09/06/2015 - 19:09

All signed Horizon 2020 projects have now been published. Read more

09/06/2015 - 17:54

All signed Horizon 2020 projects have been published. 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


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

10/06/2015 - 13:59

End of 2014 the first Horizon 2020 projects were signed. Since then almost four thousand more have been added. Read more

Project stories

06/02/2014 - 17:12

An embedded system is an information processor that is part of a larger system and is expected to function without human intervention. Read more

16/01/2014 - 12:26

Creative industries, which are often concentrated in highly innovative regional clusters, have real potential to become catalysts for sustainable growth. By identifying possible areas of co-operation between the creative and ICT sectors, an EU-funded project has sought to encourage and develop such potential. Read more

08/01/2014 - 10:37

Pushing the boundaries of astronomy is only possible if you have the latest technology at hand. An EU-funded project aims to ensure that the Astronomical Observatory of Belgrade is equipped to become one of Europe’s most dynamic and competitive centres of discovery. 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

08/04/2015 - 18:50

Researchers, businesses and innovators from Ukraine will now be able to fully participate in Horizon 2020, the European Union's research and innovation funding programme, on equal terms with EU Member States and other associated countries. Read more

16/01/2015 - 15:55

The European Commission is today announcing eight research projects into Ebola that will be funded with a total of €215 million. These projects will develop vaccines and rapid diagnostic tests, which are key to overcoming the current Ebola crisis.
The projects are run under the new Ebola+ programme of the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) and funded jointly by the European Commission and the European pharmaceutical industry. Read more

05/12/2014 - 18:33

Today (5 December 2014) the European Union and Switzerland signed a comprehensive international agreement associating Switzerland to parts of Horizon 2020, Research and Training Programme of Euratom and the ITER project. This will see Switzerland participate in project consortia in eligible programmes on an equal footing with EU Member States, while financially contributing to these programmes with an estimated €400 million until the end of 2016. Read more