Focus areas

The 2018-2020 Work Programme focuses efforts on fewer topics with bigger budgets, directly supporting the Commission’s political priorities. Four Focus Areas represent a combined budget over € 7 billion: (i) Building a low-carbon, climate resilient future, (ii) Connecting economic and environmental gains – the Circular Economy, (iii) Digitising and transforming European industry and services, and (iv) Boosting the effectiveness of the Security Union.

The Focus Areas cut across thematic boundaries and bring together contributions from various programme parts to pursue a common objective and create sustained impact. They are endowed with a substantial budget to allow for work of sufficient scale, depth and breadth.

The focus area 'Building a low-carbon, climate resilient future' (budget of €3.528 billion) will align R&I investments towards the climate change targets of the Paris Agreement, which marked the beginning of a new era in the fight against climate change, as well as the UN's Sustainable Development Goals. This focus area reflects the fact that research and innovation is essential to find the ground-breaking solutions needed, including in particular in the energy system. It aims to develop solutions for achieving carbon neutrality and climate resilience of Europe in the second half of the century.
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Work related to the circular economy and the focus area on 'Connecting economic and environmental gains – the Circular Economy' (budget of €964 million) will also align R&I towards these targets. This focus area, building on the Commission’s ambitious Circular Economy package, will consolidate relevant R&I initiatives and it will make a strong contribution to jobs and growth and industrial competitiveness.
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A dedicated focus area on 'Digitising and transforming European industry and services' (budget of €1.689 billion) will foster a better integration and coordination of the efforts. Digitisation of products, services and processes will transform industry and provide solutions to several major societal challenges. Research and innovation under this focus area aims to help fully seize these digital opportunities. In addition a particular emphasis will be put on cybersecurity and on addressing the societal impact of the digital transformation.
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The focus area 'Boosting the effectiveness of the Security Union' (budget of €1.074 billion) will support implementation of the Security Union priorities and help tackling the challenges that Europe is facing on multiple fronts, such as cyber-crime and other crime, security threats and threats to infrastructures, natural and man-made disasters, as well as hybrid threats. Research on these threats, notably from terrorism, will underpin an effective and coordinated EU response, and better tools will reduce loss of life and material damage.
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Focus Areas are implemented as ‘virtual calls’, which constitute the linking of specific calls/topics from the participating parts of Horizon 2020.

The four Focus Areas – their objectives, expected impacts and components – are described in the General Introduction of the Work Programme.



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