The European Commission presented in December 2013 the first calls for projects under Horizon 2020, the European Union’s [EU] research and innovation programme over the period 2014-2020.
Horizon 2020 is the EU’s biggest ever research and innovation framework programme with a seven year budget worth nearly €80 billion. With more than €15 billion over the first two years, the funding is intended to help boost Europe’s knowledge-driven economy, and tackle issues that will make a difference in people’s lives.
The Commission has indicated funding priorities over two years. These include “Excellent Science” to support in particular top scientists and young researchers; “Industrial Leadership” to encourage European industry in areas like information and communications technology, nanotechnologies, advanced manufacturing, robotics, biotechnologies and space; and “Societal challenges” for innovative projects in health, agriculture, maritime, bioeconomy, energy, transport, environment, resource efficiency, reflective societies and security.
Most EU research funding is allocated on the basis of competitive calls. European Research, Innovation and Science Commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn said: “We have designed Horizon 2020 to produce results, and we have slashed red tape to make it easier to participate. So I am calling on researchers, universities, businesses including small and medium enterprises, and others to sign up!”
The 2014-15 calls include €500 million over two years dedicated to innovative small and medium-sized enterprises. Gender aspects are expected to be included in many of the projects, and there is funding to further stimulate debate on science’s role within society. There are also new rules to make ‘open access’ a requirement for Horizon 2020, so that publications of project results are freely accessible to all.
More information and the calls are available on the Horizon 2020 website.