Widening consists of three main actions, i.e. Teaming, Twinning and ERA Chairs, for which specific eligibility conditions apply. This ensures a targeted approach towards Widening Member States and Associated Countries. The Member States currently eligible for Widening support are: Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia.
The Associated Countries currently eligible for Widening support are (subject to valid association agreements of third countries with Horizon 2020): Albania, Armenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Faroe Islands, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Georgia, Moldova, Montenegro, Serbia, Tunisia, Turkey and Ukraine.
The research & innovation divide in Europe remains a pressing challenge. In the last three years of Horizon 2020 efforts will be intensified to spread excellence and broaden participation across Europe. This will be achieved by encouraging organisations in Widening countries to further develop and take better advantage of their research and innovation potential through a number of specific measures involving investing, mentoring, networking, communication and thematic activities.
The highest impact of research and innovation investments can be made when Horizon 2020 and European Structural and Investment Funds (ESI Funds) are compatible. This means that research and business communities will work together with national and regional policy makers and managing authorities to ensure the best quantity and quality of available funds.
Developing these synergies will increase efficiency and positively impact jobs, growth and competitiveness across Europe thanks to more regional and national investment in research. They will also push towards open innovation, create innovative ecosystems and bring companies and regions into the knowledge economy.
Synergies will assist the implementation of smart specialisation strategies which are essential for research and innovation investment under the European Regional Development Fund. Smart specialisation gives priority to investments in research and innovation activities that play into the regions' strengths and therefore ensures a more effective use of public funds while stimulating private investment.