Horizon 2020 is the biggest EU Research and Innovation programme ever with nearly €80 billion of funding available over 7 years (2014 to 2020) in addition to the private investment that this money will attract. It promises more breakthroughs, discoveries and world-firsts by taking great ideas from the lab to the market.
Who can apply for Horizon 2020 funding?
Horizon 2020 is the funding programme for research and innovation of the European Union. Any type of organisation from both the private and the public sector is eligible for funding, provided that they perform research or develop innovative products or services.
How can I apply for Horizon 2020 funding?
Horizon 2020 funding is awarded based on calls for project proposals, which are published on the Participant's Portal. The calls for proposals define the thematic areas for which funding is available and provide all criteria that need to be respected. They also include information on the total amount of budget available and the deadline for submitting a call.
What should I focus on to prepare a competitive project proposal?
A basic requirement is to read all the documentation of the call for proposals to understand its objectives and themes and make sure that your project idea is in line with what the call aims to achieve. It is also crucial to keep the European point of view in mind and highlight that your proposed project:
- Will solve a problem (market need)
- Has European added value and impact
- Builds upon existing EU projects
- Represents excellence and policy or economic impact
- Includes collaboration across disciplines and/or across the value-chain
What is the application process for preparing and implementing a HORIZON 2020 project?
- Identifying the relevant call for proposals and preparing a competitive proposal together with your project partners
- Submitting your project proposal to the European Commission
- Your proposal will be evaluated by a group of experts who recommend to the European Commission which proposals should be retained for funding. Three general criteria of utmost importance in the evaluation process are the following: Excellence, Impact, Quality and efficiency of the implementation
- If your proposal is approved for funding, you will sign a contract for the project with the European Commission
- During the implementation, your project will be monitored by the European Commission and you will be required to provide reports on your progress and expenditures.
Where to find calls
All Horizon 2020 calls for proposals are published on the Horizon 2020 Participant Portal. The Participant Portal provides all information needed for responding to a call: its opening and closing dates, its overall budget, the relevant Work Programme and all other documents related to the call. Calls can be searched and filtered using various parameters, such as open, closed or forthcoming calls as well as keywords. Another way to learn about open or forthcoming calls is to consult the Work Programme of a specific domain.
How to find calls that fit your project ideas
The sheer amount of calls, domains, and funding instruments under Horizon 2020 can be quite overwhelming, and it is not always easy to "cut through the maze" and identify calls that match your plans and needs for funding. The following points can serve as a guideline for identifying calls of your interest:
- Be clear about what you are looking for. What is your field of expertise, what are your capabilities and what type of project would you like to initiate or join?
- Contact the management of your organisation to make sure that your project idea is in line with their overall strategy. If your organisation has internal support staff dealing with European projects, make sure to speak to them as well.
- Scan open calls per domain or use a keyword search. Consult Work Programmes by performing keyword searches.
- Ask trusted partners if they have identified relevant calls or even are preparing a project proposal.
- Contact your National Contact Point to help you identify themes, understand requirements and keep up to date on EU policy development in your field and relevant events (info days about calls for proposals).
- Plan your timing: in view of the deadline, do you have enough time to take on the preparation of a competitive proposal?
- Subscribe to the topic's RSS feed, if available, to receive updates, such as new FAQs, that are periodically uploaded to the call page.
- Check if you can benefit from national subsidies for preparing a Horizon 2020 project proposal.
Topic search: according to your field of research; find your topic in Horizon 2020
Work Programme: for call descriptions, call deadlines and rules, go to the Work Programme
H2020 reference documents: for all official documents, go to the Participant Portal
H2020 Online Manual