Research & Innovation - Participant Portal


TOPIC : Mental health in the workplace

Topic identifier: SC1-BHC-22-2019
Publication date: 27 October 2017

Types of action: RIA Research and Innovation action
Opening date:
26 July 2018
2nd stage Deadline:
02 October 2018 17:00:00
16 April 2019 17:00:00

Time Zone : (Brussels time)
  Horizon 2020 H2020 website
Pillar: Societal Challenges
Work Programme Year: H2020-2018-2020
Topic Description
Specific Challenge:

In most European countries, absences from work and early retirement due to mental illness have increased in recent years[1]. Mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety and stress represent substantial financial costs for employers and employees, as well as a significant loss for society at large. An EU-level estimate of the overall costs, direct health costs and lost productivity is more than 450 billion EUR per year.[2]'[3]'[4] Mental illness is an important cause of absence from work but it is also linked to high levels of presenteeism, where an employee remains at work despite experiencing symptoms resulting in lower productivity. It is important to create mentally healthy workplaces, i.e., promoting and protecting employees’ good mental health and supporting them when they experience mental health problems, and their return to work. A healthy workplace involves creating an environment that is supportive of the psychosocial aspects of work, recognising the potential of the workplace to promote workers’ mental health and wellbeing, and reduce the negative impacts of work-related stress. Many of the factors that influence the positive mental health and wellbeing of workers relate to the social environment at work such as the working conditions, style of management, working culture and levels of supports, as well as job security.

More knowledge is needed about effective interventions by employers to promote good mental health, and about the barriers to effective implementation of such interventions, in particular for smaller enterprises and public agencies with less resources and knowledge to manage these health issues.


Proposals should develop and implement intervention(s) that an employer/organization can take to promote good mental health and prevent mental illness in the workplace. These interventions can be newly developed or improvements on existing ones. They should address challenges in mental health in the workplace[5] in the EU. The interventions should be assessed in terms of direct and indirect individual and collective health outcomes and cost-effectiveness, implementation facilitators and barriers.

Proposals should build on existing knowledge but may well go beyond. Co-morbidities in mental and/or physical health should be addressed. Research should be multidisciplinary, including social sciences and the humanities. The stigma attached to mental ill health is important to consider as well as other social and cultural factors which may be relevant to improving the working environment. Mixed-methods research[6] is encouraged. Proposals should involve key partners such as employers and employees in the private and public sector, policy makers, insurers, social partners and civil society in developing initiatives. Proposals should address relevant gender issues (e.g. gender equality at the workplace). Ethics and data protection aspects should be addressed where they are relevant.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of between EUR 2 to 4 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected Impact:
  • Improved mental health and reduced sickness absence in the EU working population.
  • Positive impact on productivity and economic results of workplaces by improved policies and action to promote mental health.
  • Improved policies on mental health in the workplace based on the broader evidence base of effective interventions.
Cross-cutting Priorities:

Socio-economic science and humanities
Open Innovation





[5]A Workplace is a location, which can be inside or outside, virtual or physical, and can include an office, factory or home – where a person´s primary occupation takes place

[6]Broadly defined as research in which the investigator collects and analyses data, integrates the findings, and draws inferences using both qualitative and quantitative approaches or methods in a single study or a programme of inquiry

Topic conditions and documents

1. Eligible countries: described in Annex A of the Work Programme.
A number of non-EU/non-Associated Countries that are not automatically eligible for funding have made specific provisions for making funding available for their participants in Horizon 2020 projects. See the information in the Online Manual.

2. Eligibility and admissibility conditions: described in Annex B and Annex C of the Work Programme.

Proposal page limits and layout: please refer to Part B of the proposal template in the submission system below.

3. Evaluation:

  • Evaluation criteria, scoring and thresholds are described in Annex H of the Work Programme.
  • Submission and evaluation processes are described in the Online Manual.

The thresholds for each criterion for the second stage of the two-stage calls for these topics will be 4 (Excellence), 4 (Impact) and 3 (Implementation). The cumulative threshold will be 12.

4. Indicative time for evaluation and grant agreements:

Information on the outcome of evaluation (two-stage call):

For stage 1: maximum 3 months from the deadline for submission.
For stage 2: maximum 5 months from the deadline for submission.
Signature of grant agreements: maximum 8 months from the deadline for submission.

5. Proposal templates, evaluation forms and model grant agreements (MGA):

Research and Innovation Action:

Specific provisions and funding rates
Standard proposal template
Standard evaluation form
General MGA - Multi-Beneficiary
Annotated Grant Agreement

Essential information for clinical studies

6. Additional provisions:

Horizon 2020 budget flexibility
Classified information
Technology readiness levels (TRL) – where a topic description refers to TRL, these definitions apply.

Members of consortium are required to conclude a consortium agreement, in principle prior to the signature of the grant agreement.

7. Open access must be granted to all scientific publications resulting from Horizon 2020 actions.

Where relevant, proposals should also provide information on how the participants will manage the research data generated and/or collected during the project, such as details on what types of data the project will generate, whether and how this data will be exploited or made accessible for verification and re-use, and how it will be curated and preserved.

Open access to research data
The Open Research Data Pilot has been extended to cover all Horizon 2020 topics for which the submission is opened on 26 July 2016 or later. Projects funded under this topic will therefore by default provide open access to the research data they generate, except if they decide to opt-out under the conditions described in Annex L of the Work Programme. Projects can opt-out at any stage, that is both before and after the grant signature.

Note that the evaluation phase proposals will not be evaluated more favourably because they plan to open or share their data, and will not be penalised for opting out.

Open research data sharing applies to the data needed to validate the results presented in scientific publications. Additionally, projects can choose to make other data available open access and need to describe their approach in a Data Management Plan.

Projects need to create a Data Management Plan (DMP), except if they opt-out of making their research data open access. A first version of the DMP must be provided as an early deliverable within six months of the project and should be updated during the project as appropriate. The Commission already provides guidance documents, including a template for DMPs. See the Online Manual.

Eligibility of costs: costs related to data management and data sharing are eligible for reimbursement during the project duration.

The legal requirements for projects participating in this pilot are in the article 29.3 of the Model Grant Agreement.

8. Additional documents:

Introduction WP 2018-20
Health, demographic change and well-being WP 2018-20
General annexes to the Work Programme 2018-2020

Legal basis: Horizon 2020 Regulation of Establishment
Legal basis: Horizon 2020 Rules for Participation
Legal basis: Horizon 2020 Specific Programme

Submission Service

No submission system is open for this topic.

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