Horizon 2020
The EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation

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Europe in a changing world - Inclusive, innovative and reflective societies

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Europe faces huge challenges in reducing inequality and social exclusion. 80 million people are at risk of poverty and 14 million young people are not in education, employment or training. We have not yet overcome the economic crisis which has led to unemployment rates of 12% in general and 20% among the youth.

Reducing inequalities and social exclusion in Europe are crucial challenges for the future of Europe. At the same time, there is great potential for Europe through opportunities provided, for example, by new forms of innovation and by the engagement of citizens. Supporting inclusive, innovative and reflective societies is a prerequisite for a sustainable European integration.

EU research and innovation will address social exclusion, discriminations and various forms of inequalities. It will explore new forms of innovation and strengthen the evidence base for the Innovation Union, the European Research Area and other relevant EU policies. It will promote coherent and effective cooperation with third countries. Finally, it will address the issues of memories, identities, tolerance and cultural heritage.

In short, this Societal Challenge of the Horizon 2020 programme aims at fostering a greater understanding of Europe, by providing solutions and support inclusive, innovative and reflective European societies with an innovative public sector in a context of unprecedented transformations and growing global interdependencies.

The current SC6 Work Programme 2016-2017 tackles four major challenges currently faced by the European Union:

  • Economic recovery and inclusive and sustainable long-term growth with focus on co-creation for growth and inclusion: engaging citizens, users, academia, social partners, public authorities, businesses including SMEs, creative sector and social entrepreneurs. 

  • Reversing inequalities in Europe. For more inclusive societies to take shape in the medium term, coherent visions will need to be devised on how to foster a social and economic framework that promotes fairness and sustainability in Europe.

  • The global environment in which the EU operates is constantly evolving. Recent developments show just how dynamically the strategic and geopolitical contexts are changing.

  • A better understanding of Europe's cultural and social diversity and of its past will inform the reflection about present problems and help to find solutions for shaping Europe's future.

The four calls are supplemented by a set of specific smaller activities supporting in particular the implementation of the Innovation Union, the European Research Area, the strategy for international cooperation in R&I and COST.

The SC6 Work Programme 2014-2015 focused on:

  • New ideas, strategies and governance structures for overcoming the crisis in Europe (resilient economic and monetary Union, EU growth agenda, EU social policies, the future of European integration, emerging technologies in the public sector).

  • The young generation in an innovative, inclusive and sustainable Europe (job insecurity, youth mobility, adult education, social and political engagement of young people, modernisation of public administrations).

  • Reflective societies: transmission of European cultural heritage, uses of the past, 3D modelling for accessing EU cultural assets.

  • Europe as a global actor: focusing research and innovation cooperation with third countries, new geopolitical order in the Mediterranean, EU eastern partnership and other third countries.

  • New forms of innovation in the public sector, open government, business model innovation, social innovation community, ICT for learning and inclusion

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Multimedia

20/06/2014 - 12:13

In 30 years’ time, there will be 150 million older people living in the EU. Where will you live? What kind of shape will you be in? Will you still be healthy and independent? Society is ageing. But making sure our golden years are happier and healthier is not just down to the individual, it’s also down to the whole society, public and private sectors together. Improving the quality of life of older people is a priority for the European Commission. Read more

13/02/2014 - 11:53

In this video Paul Timmers (Director of Sustainable and Secure Society in DG Connect) speaks about the funding opportunities in ICT for societal challenges in the recently launched Horizon 2020 framework programme. This is the first video of a series of 7 each one explaining more in detail the funding opportunities for different societal challenges. Read more

13/02/2014 - 15:33

Open Government, engagement of young people, open participation, emerging technologies in the public sector, innovative mobile eGovernment, privacy, cloud of public services...

What is our vision of the societal challenge around Public Services? Which are the funding opportunities for these topics in the recently launched Horizon 2020 framework programme?

Mechthild Rohen, Head of the Public Services Unit in DG CONNECT speaks about this. Enjoy this short video.

Read more

News

20/04/2016 - 18:53

The European Commission has launched two Horizon prizes to identify breakthrough ideas that could drastically reduce air pollution caused by transport. Read more

11/01/2016 - 12:17

An online networking tool is now available to proposers to find potential partners for proposing a project under the Horizon 2020 funding programme, topics 'ICT for Health, Wellbeing and Demographic Change' (Societal Challenge 1 or SC1). Read more

25/11/2015 - 15:10

The work programme for 2016-2017 will continue to support eGovernment/ICT-enabled, public sector, innovation-related activities through the following topics, under "Europe in a changing world - Inclusive, innovative and reflective societies" (Societal Challenge 6). Read more

Project stories

25/04/2016 - 14:02

The Discognosis project developed a tool (the LabDisk) that can diagnose malaria and other febrile infectious diseases simultaneously in just an hour – allowing faster point-of-care treatment and precise drugs administration that could save thousands of lives. Read more

20/11/2015 - 17:35

RADIO is a Horizon 2020 action to develop an Ambient Assisted Living solution that integrates robotic and home automation technologies. The RADIO Home is designed to support independent living of elderly population. Three academic partners, three SMEs and three clinical partners, led by the National Centre of Scientific Research “Demokritos” (Greece), cooperate to develop the RADIO ecosystem and to pilot the system in two clinical sites (Italy, Spain) and several home environments (Greece). Read more

06/10/2015 - 20:33

FARSEEING aimed to focus on the issue of promoting healthy, independent living for older adults. More specifically, it aimed at better prediction, identification and prevention of falls with a focus on ICT devices and the unique proactive opportunities they can provide to older adults to support them in their own environment. Key to this was the falls repository (real-world falls) and a broad range of technologies which include the use of smartphone, smarthome, wearable sensors and exergames. Read more

Publications

24/11/2015 - 12:08

How can the public sector become an agent of innovation through Innovation & Communication Technologies? A new section within the Joinup Open Government community is devoted to discussing the draft outputs and results of an ongoing study on the new generation of eGovernment services. Give your input! Read more

13/10/2015 - 18:53

This monitoring and evaluation report assesses in a thorough and detailed manner how the different SSH disciplines have been integrated into the projects funded in 2014 under the Societal Challenges and the Industrial Leadership priorities. 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

Press Release

13/10/2015 - 18:51

Carlos Moedas, Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation said: "Research and innovation are the engines of Europe's progress and vital to addressing today's new pressing challenges like immigration, climate change, clean energy and healthy societies. Over the next two years, €16 billion from Horizon 2020 will support Europe's top scientific efforts, making the difference to citizens' lives." Read more

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

02/07/2014 - 14:14

Data collection and exploitation is a growing phenomenon; in response to industry and grassroots demands the European Commission is calling on national governments to wake-up to this big data revolution. One of the main concrete proposed actions to solve these problems is the creation of an open data incubator (within the Horizon 2020 framework), to help SMEs set up supply chains based on data and use cloud computing more. Read more