FET Proactive nurtures emerging themes, seeking to establish a critical mass of European researchers in a number of promising exploratory research topics. FET Proactive is now part of the EIC Pathfinder pilot.

The Future Emerging Technologies programme (FET) focuses on research beyond what is known, accepted or widely adopted and supports novel and visionary thinking to open promising paths towards radically new technological possibilities. Encouraging researchers from different disciplines to work together on new technologies in specific themes is the essence of FET Proactive.

FET Proactive in Horizon 2020

Horizon 2020 is the biggest EU Research and Innovation programme ever with nearly EUR 80 billion of funding available over 7 years (2014 to 2020).

FET Proactive is now part of the Enhanced European Innovation Council (EIC) Pilot specifically within the EIC Pathfinder Pilot

In Horizon 2020, FET Proactive initiatives involve a set of complementary and collaborating projects (see first, second and third projects), building new multidisciplinary research communities and enhancing Europe’s innovation potential. In addition to research, FET Proactive activities also include:

  • generating a research roadmap for the area,
  • developing appropriate educational materials, and
  • disseminating results to raise the general awareness of the new technology benefits.

In the work programme 2018-2020, and specifically for 2019 and 2020 (see the updated version), FET Proactive consists of 3 initiatives under the topic Boosting emerging technologies:

  • Emerging paradigms and communities, to explore and consolidate a new technological direction in order to put it firmly on the map as a viable paradigm for future technology. To foster the interdisciplinary communities that are able to drive this forward, extending from the participating consortia to a wider European pool of expertise. To stimulate the emergence of a European innovation eco-system around a new technological paradigm, well beyond the world of research alone. For 2019 and 2020 there will be three subtopics each year:
    • Human-Centric AI (2019)
    • Implantable autonomous devices and materials (2019)
    • Breakthrough zero-emissions energy generation for full decarbonization (2019)
    • Future technologies for social experience (2020)
    • Measuring the unmeasurable – Sub-nanoscale science for Nanometrology (2020)
    • Digital twins for the life-sciences (2020)


  • EIC Transition to Innovation Activities to turn promising results from FET-funded projects into genuine technological or societal breakthrough and disruptive innovations. Since the typical researchers' mind-set is to identify further opportunities for research, promising research results that could be the basis for breakthrough and disruptive innovation risk to remain unexploited. The challenge is to create a fertile ground for those results to mature, to a level where exploitation and investment opportunities can start to be discussed, and ultimately towards future market uptake. While recognising that this may still take further research and development, it is crucial to complement research excellence with a focus on entrepreneurial ambition and commitment at an early stage. The targeted areas in 2019 are:
    • Micro-and Nano-technologies;
    • Artificial Intelligence and advanced robotics;
    • Technologies for the life sciences, health and treatment
    • Low-carbon energy and climate change technologies;
    • Interaction technologies (including virtual-, augmented- and mixed reality). 


  • Environmental Intelligence - new synergies between the distant communities of environmental modelling, advanced sensor research, social sciences, and artificial intelligence can lead to radically new approaches to creating and using dynamic models of the environment, including predictive modelling and scenario testing and tracking. The ultimate vision is to use the fusion and analysis of this rich, dynamic data coming from a variety of sensing modalities and their characteristic locations to build a deeper understanding of the socioenvironmental inter-relationships, for example, by testing and validating complex theoretical models. This topic will be called for in 2020 with two subtopics:
    • New techniques for creating and using dynamic models of environmental evolution 
    • Radically novel approaches to resilient, reliable and environmentally responsible in-situ monitoring


Join the Digital4science platform to engage and network with researchers.