Horizon 2020 accounts for about 8% of the proposed EU budget for 2014-2020 and will replace the current Seventh Framework Programme for Research (FP7) and the Competitiveness and Innovation programme.
The new system will see a much clearer focus than before on three priorities: excellence in science; industrial leadership; and tackling the world's biggest challenges, for example climate change, energy and food security, resource efficiency, health and demographic change.
There will be simpler rules for applying for and managing grants, more opportunities for SMEs and a significant increase in European Research Council funding for frontier research by Europe's star performers.
Nearly 9 000 UK participants from universities to SMEs are already taking part in FP7, the current EU research and innovation funding programme.
The UK is receiving nearly £3 billion, 14.75% of the total funding and this is expected to double by the end of the current programmes in December 2013. The UK is second only to Germany – which has a population about 30% bigger and is receiving 16.3% of the total funds so far allocated. France is receiving just under 12%.