Horizon 2020 – the largest EU Research Framework Programme

Horizon 2020 – the Unique European Programme

Horizon 2020 (H2020) is the multiannual EU funding programme aimed to support and encourage research projects during the period from 2014 to 2020. It is the largest Research and Innovation Framework Programme in the history of the EU with a budget of almost €80 billion.

H2020 is a single programme that covers three initiatives – the 7th Research Framework Programme (FF7), the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP), the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT).

Horizon 2020 goals and ambitions

H2020 supports financially the Innovation Union, a Europe 2020 flagship initiative focused on ensuring Europe’s global competitiveness. The primary goal of H2020 is to strengthen the EU’s position as a world leader in science, innovation, and technology, and consequently help Europe become more attractive for research and innovation investment.

As European Commission claims H2020 is set out to:

  • secure excellent Europe’s contribution to world science;
  • help European SMEs to become large companies with world leadership;
  • facilitate the collaboration of the public and private sectors in finding solutions to major challenges in Europe.

Key priorities of Horizon 2020

Research and innovation play an important role in driving economy and investing in the future. By coupling research and innovation, H2020 is promoting long term and comprehensive economic performance. The programme highlights three central work areas that create fine framework conditions for the European development:

  • Excellent science – supporting the best scientists in frontier research, providing them with the newest technologies and best infrastructure.
  • Industrial leadership – enabling new industrial technologies which drive innovations, strengthening the role of innovative SMEs.
  • Societal challenges – creating better societal and ecological environment by gathering knowledge and resources from various fields.

Horizon 2020 work programmes

Apart from the primary programmes aimed to support excellent science and industrial leadership in Europe, and those coping with the EU challenges, H2020 addresses some other significant initiatives:

  • Science with and for society, the initiative is intended to establish efficient connection between science and society, raise interest in science and innovation, and speed up further research and innovation activities by bringing together scientific excellence and social awareness.
  • Spreading excellence and widening participation, the initiative aims to bridge the innovation gap between EU states by mentoring and networking with so-called Widening EU countries, thus to ensure that the benefits of an innovative economy are widespread throughout the EU.

Horizon 2020 statistics

Horizon 2020 is a highly successful programme going straightforward to achieving its main goals: supporting excellent science, promoting industrial leadership, and providing solutions to the societal challenges.

Here is a short overview of the programme’s main achievements after the first three years of its implementation (2014 – 2016).

Research and innovation in Europe continues to be on point and relevant:

  • In total, 115,235 eligible proposals were submitted under Horizon 2020, with a total EU financial contribution of €182.4 billion.
  • The overall success rate of eligible full proposals, half of which were evaluated as high quality by independent experts, is 12.6%.
  • A total of 13,903 grant agreements were signed with the EU contribution of €24.8 billion.

Continuing efforts to simplify the funding process in Horizon 2020 are paying of:

  • Almost 91% of grant agreements were signed within the set timeframe of eight months.
  • It is now 192.5 days from a proposal being submitted to the grant being awarded, compared to 303 days in FP7 (Seventh Research Framework Programme), the previous EU funding programme.

Abound 54% of applicants in Horizon 2020 are newcomers, which hadn’t participated in FP7.

The share of funding provided to SMEs exceeded the target of 20%.

Overview of Horizon 2020 funding schemes

Discover various types of action and Horizon 2020 funding schemes.

How to start a Horizon 2020 project

The first step in a Horizon 2020 project as in any funding application is finding your call. You’ll find a wide variety of funding opportunities in the Horizon 2020 work programme for research and innovation activities in the calls for proposals.

Horizon 2020 proposal writing guide

Horizon 2020 proposal writing is an intense process, which requires time and dedication to the goal: deliver high quality documents, in alignment with the EC templates, and thus, increase the possibilities for an EU funded project.

Tips & tricks for a better project management in H2020

Horizon 2020 project management is a challenging task. We’ve put together some tips & tricks on how to minimize your administrative and coordination tasks ensuring financial and scientific success

Horizon 2020 checklist

Find our helpful at a glance poster Horizon 2020 checklist with eyes on Horizon Europe, which shows the key elements to completing a successful Horizon 2020 project.

Stay informed about Horizon 2020

Stay sharp and become an even better project manager. Learn the latest insights and in-depth knowledge on various aspects of EU funded Project Management, Horizon 2020 and Horizon Europe from leading experts.

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