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Programm: Horizon 2020

Horizon 2020
Acronym H2020
Type of Fund Action programme
Description of programme
"Horizon 2020"
Horizon 2020 is the biggest EU Research and Innovation programme with nearly 80 billion € of funding available over 7 years (2014 to 2020). Apart from classic research projects, Horizon 2020 also funds innovation projects and pilot-projects in different fields.
The programme is divided into three different sections:
  1. Excellent Science
  2. Industrial Leadership
  3. Societal Challenges
Countries eligible for funding are: The EU-Member States, Iceland, Norway, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Turkey, Moldova, Switzerland, Ukraine, Faroe Islands, Israel, Tunisia, Georgia, Armenia.
Link Link to Programme
Danube Region, Danube Region, Adriatic and Ionian Region, Adriatic and Ionian Region, Alpine Region, Alpine Region, Baltic Sea Region, Baltic Sea Region
Origin of Applicant of programme
Horizon 2020
Norway / Norge
Iceland / Ísland
Albania / Shqipëria
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia / поранешна југословенска Република Македонија
Montenegro / Crna Gora/Црна Гора
Serbia / Сpбија
EU Member States
Turkey / Türkiye
Switzerland / Schweiz / Suisse / Svizzera
Ukraine / Україна Oukraïna
Project Partner Yes
Project Partner Details

As a principle all projects (except coordination and support activities) must comprise at least 3 partners from at least 3 EU Member States or other eligible countries.

Applicant details

All legal entities located in the EU or in Third Countries can participate in Horizon 2020.

Financial details Research projects: Up to 100%
Innovation projects: 70%
Contact Details

Link to the National Contact Point Finder.

Subprogrammes of Horizon 2020

Societal Challenges

A challenge-based approach will bring together resources and knowledge across different fields, technologies and disciplines, including social sciences and the humanities. This will cover activities from research to market with a new focus on innovation-related activities, such as piloting, demonstration, test-beds, and support for public procurement and market uptake.
Funding focuses on the following challenges:
  • Health, demographic change and wellbeing;
  • Food security, sustainable agriculture and forestry, marine and maritime and inland water research, and the Bioeconomy;
  • Secure, clean and efficient energy;
  • Smart, green and integrated transport;
  • Climate action, environment, resource efficiency and raw materials;
  • Europe in a changing world - inclusive, innovative and reflective societies;
  • Secure societies - protecting freedom and security of Europe and its citizens.
Subprogrammes of Societal Challenges
  1. Food Security, Sustainable Agriculture and Forestry, Marine, Maritime and Inland Water Research and the Bioeconomy

    Agriculture, forestry, fisheries and aquaculture, together with the bio-based industries, are integral parts of the European economy and society. Relying on the use of limited natural resources, these sectors produce and process biological resources to satisfy the demand of consumers and a wide range of industries for food, feed, bio-energy and bio-based products. While they enhance Europe’s self-reliance and provide jobs and business opportunities essential for rural, coastal and marine areas, these sectors are also facing significant challenges which require solutions based on research and innovation. A transition is needed towards an optimal and renewable use of biological resources and towards sustainable primary production and processing systems. These systems will need to produce more food, fibre and other bio-based products with minimised inputs, environmental impact and greenhouse gas emissions, and with enhanced ecosystem services, zero waste and adequate societal value.

    Open Calls
  2. Europe in a changing world - Inclusive, innovative and reflective societies

    Reducing inequalities and social exclusion in Europe, overcoming the economic and financial crisis and tackling unemployment 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.

    The emergence of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS), and therefore of a multipolar world, the ageing of the EU population and the need for more innovation call for a renewed understanding of this rapidly changing world. This understanding is supported by strong multidisciplinary approaches, including social sciences and humanities and information and communication technologies. European and national policies need to continue modernisation while acknowledging the socio-economic and cultural diversity in Europe, and improved knowledge about how our modern societies work.

    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.

    The approach adopted in the present calls is in line with the Horizon 2020 Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) cross-cutting issue, engaging multiple actors including society, integrating the gender and ethical dimensions, ensuring the access to research outcomes. Some Topics deal specifically with formal and informal (science) education.

    Open Calls
  3. Secure societies – Protecting freedom and security of Europe and its citizens

    The primary aims of the Secure Societies Challenge are:

    • to enhance the resilience of our society against natural and man-made disasters, ranging from the development of new crisis management tools to communication interoperability, and to develop novel solutions for the protection of critical infrastructure;
    • to fight crime and terrorism ranging from new forensic tools to protection against explosives;
    • to improve border security, ranging from improved maritime border protection to supply chain security and to support the Union's external security policies including through conflict prevention and peace building;
    • and to provide enhanced cyber-security, ranging from secure information sharing to new assurance models.

    Securing the society against disasters is one of the central elements of the functioning of any society. There is barely any societal sector which is not to some extent concerned by disasters and related resilience and security issues. Fighting crime and terrorism requires new technologies and capabilities for fighting and preventing crime (including cyber-crime), illegal trafficking and terrorism (including cyber-terrorism), including understanding and tackling terrorist ideas and beliefs to also avoid aviation-related threats. The protection of the European borders requires the development of systems, equipment, tools, processes, and methods for rapid identification. This includes supply chain security in the context of the EU’s customs policy.

    On Digital Security, this Challenge focuses on increasing the security of current applications, services and infrastructures by integrating state-of-the-art security solutions or processes, supporting the creation of lead markets & market incentives in Europe, following an end-user driven approach, including for instance law enforcement agencies, first responders, operators of critical infrastructures, ICT service providers, ICT manufacturers, market operators and citizens.

    This Challenge should bring together all security stakeholders: industry - including SMEs, research organisations, universities, as well as public authorities, non-governmental organisations and public and private organisations in the security domain. The active involvement of end-users is of high importance.

    The Secure Societies Challenge will contribute to the implementation of the policy goals of the Europe 2020 strategy, the Security Industrial Policy, the Internal Security Strategy and the Cyber Security Strategy.

  4. Smart, Green and Integrated Transport

    Within this programme Horizon 2020 will provide funding for a resource efficient transport that respects the environment, aims at a better mobility, less congestion, more safety and security, supports a global leadership for the European transport industry and targets a socio-economic and behavioural research and forward looking activities for policy making.

    Open Calls
  5. Climate Action, Environment, Resource Efficiency and Raw Materials

    Specific objectives:

    • to achieve a resource – and water - efficient and climate change resilient economy and society,
    • the protection and sustainable management of natural resources and ecosystems, and
    • a sustainable supply and use of raw materials, in order to meet the needs of a growing global population within the sustainable limits of the planet's natural resources and eco-systems.

    The 20th century's era of seemingly plentiful and cheap resources is coming to an end. The ability of the economy to adapt and become more climate change resilient, resource efficient and at the same time remain competitive depends on high levels of eco-innovation, of a societal, economic, organisational and technological nature. With the global market for eco-innovation worth around 1 trillion € per annum and expected to triple by 2030, eco-innovation represents a major opportunity to boost competitiveness and job creation in European economies.

    To ensure EU added value and given the transnational and global nature of the climate and the environment, their scale and complexity, and the international dimension of the raw materials supply chain, activities have to be carried out at the Union level and beyond. Reducing resource use and environmental impacts, whilst increasing competitiveness, will require a decisive societal and technological transition to an economy based on a sustainable relationship between nature and human well-being. Innovation in these fields will provide opportunities for growth and jobs, as well as innovative options involving science, technology including of ICT, the economy, society, policy and governance.

    Research and innovation will cover the following broad lines of activities:

    • Fighting and adapting to climate change
    • Protecting the environment, sustainably managing natural resources, water, biodiversity and ecosystems
    • Ensuring the sustainable supply of non-energy and non-agricultural raw materials
    • Enabling the transition towards a green economy and society through eco-innovation
    • Developing comprehensive and sustained global environmental observation and information systems
    • Cultural heritage
    Open Calls
  6. Health, Demographic Change and Wellbeing

    Responding to the challenge of an aging population, research and innovation (R&I) under Horizon 2020 is an investment in better health for all. It aims to keep older people active and independent for longer and supports the development of new, safer and more effective interventions. R&I under Horizon 2020 also contributes to the sustainability of health and care systems.

    Open Calls
  7. Secure, Clean and Efficient Energy
    To make the transition to a competitive energy system, we need to overcome a number of challenges, such as increasingly scarce resources, growing energy needs and climate change.
    The Energy Challenge is structured around seven specific objectives and research areas:
    • Reducing energy consumption and carbon footprint
    • Low-cost, low-carbon electricity supply
    • Alternative fuels and mobile energy sources
    • A single, smart European electricity grid
    • New knowledge and technologies
    • Robust decision making and public engagement
    • Market uptake of energy and ICT innovation.
    A budget of 5 931 million € has been allocated to non-nuclear energy research for the period 2014-2020. Out of this figure, more than 200 million € is earmarked to support European Institute of Innovation and Technology activities, subject to a mid-term review.
  8. Clean Sky 2
    Clean Sky 2 builds on the work of its predecessor Clean Sky but will also drive towards more ambitious objectives. Specifically, Clean Sky 2 aims to contribute to improving the environmental impact of aeronautical technologies, including those relating to small aviation, as well as to developing a strong aeronautical industry and supply chain in Europe.
    This can be achieved through speeding up the development of cleaner air transport technologies, and in particular the integration, demonstration and validation of technologies capable of:
    • increasing fuel efficiency, thus reducing COemissions by 20 to 30% comparted to 'state-of-the-art' aircraft entering into service as from 2014
    • reducing aircraft NOx and noise emissions by 20 to 30% compared to  'state-of-the-art' aircraft entering into service as from 2014

Cross-cutting Activities

This work programme part contains the following cross-cutting calls:

  • Industry 2020 in the Circular Economy,
  • Internet of Things, and
  • Smart and Sustainable Cities.

Horizon Prizes

Horizon Prizes are challenge prizes (also known as 'inducement' prizes) which offer a cash reward to whoever can most effectively meet a defined challenge. They act as an incentive for innovation. They prescribe the goal but not who the innovator should be or how the goal should be achieved.

Open Calls


Shift2Rail fosters the introduction of better trains to the market, which operate on an innovative rail network infrastructure at a lower life-cycle cost, with more capacity to cope with growing passenger and freight mobility demand. All this are developed by European companies, thereby increasing their competitiveness in the global marketplace. Shift2Rail also contributes to the paradigm for the modal shift to attract users to rail. For EU passengers, this represents more travel options, more comfort and improved punctuality. For freight forwarder/shippers, rail freight offers a more cost-effective, punctual and traceable shipment option.
Shift2Rail contributes to:

  • Cutting the life-cycle cost of railway transports by as much as 50%
  • Doubling railway capacity
  • Increasing reliability and punctuality by as much as 50%

Science with and for Society

This sub-programme of Horizon 2020 specifically aims to establish a cooperation between science and society. On the one hand, "Science with and for Society" seeks to recruit new talent for science and, on the other hand, it has the purpose to pair scientific excellence with social awareness and responsibility.


Published on 14.11.2018

Transforming historic urban areas and/or cultural landscapes into hubs of entrepreneurship and social and cultural integration

Horizon 2020

Link to Call

Published on 14.11.2018

Inter-relations between climate change, biodiversity and ecosystem services

Horizon 2020

Link to Call
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