Horizon 2020 Introduction

Picture of solar panels

Businesses, academia and public sector organisations with innovative ideas can take advantage of the largest ever EU Research and Innovation funding programme with a budget of €79bn over the next 7 years. With the emphasis on excellent science, industrial leadership and tackling societal challenges, Horizon 2020's goal is to ensure Europe produces world-class science, removes barriers to innovation and makes it easier for the public and private sectors to work together to deliver innovation.

Horizon 2020 is the European Commission’s research and innovation funding programme. It is open to everyone, with a simpler structure than previous programmes, reducing red tape and decision timescales so that participants can focus on what is really important. This approach helps new projects to get off the ground quickly and achieve results faster. The Commission is keen to increase participation from industry in a drive to maximise the impact of the funded projects. Horizon 2020 offers UK businesses and researchers valuable opportunities to find finance, networks and partnerships for innovation.

Horizon 2020’s funding priorities include Environment, Health, Information and Communication Technologies, Transport and Sustainable Energy, which is the focus of this article. More information on other aspects of Horizon 2020 can be found here.

The 2017 Calls for Proposals are now open. The Work Programme can be downloaded from here.

The Calls for Proposals represent an opportunity for UK organisations to participate in innovative projects and to develop collaborations for joint working and knowledge-sharing across the European Union. UK organisations can participate in a number of ways; lead (coordinate) a project, be a participant in a consortium or provide the demonstration facilities for a technology. Proposals must usually involve a minimum of three organisations from three different Member States or Associated Countries. Many funded projects involve organisations from all aspects of the supply chain in order to demonstrate a route to commercialisation.

The EU Energy Focus team's factsheet entitled 'H2020 Is it for me' provides more information on the key aspects of Horizon 2020.

European Commission's beginner's guide to European Union funding for 2015-2020 can be accessed from here. The guide presents the opportunities for SMEs, NGOs, researchers and other types of organisations per theme and explains the different application procedures. It also gives an update on current amounts and sources of funding from the EU for the 2015-2020 financial period and what priorities the EU budget is focussing on.