Societal Challenges

The societal challenges part of Horizon 2020 regroups major strategic research and innovation domains addressing social concerns and EU policy objectives, such as health, climate change,environmental issues, energy, or transport.

Horizon 2020 introduces an important shift known as the challenge-based approach: topics are more generic, defining desired outcomes more than required technologies or approaches. Programmes are multidisciplinary and intend to cover projects along the whole lifecycle.

Work programmes will cover a two-year period, thereby allowing researchers and companies to plan their participation in calls for proposals further ahead.

Horizon 2020 will address seven societal challenges

  • Health, demographic change and wellbeing
  • Food security, sustainable agriculture and the bio-based economy
  • Secure, clean and efficient energy
  • Smart, green and integrated transport
  • Climate action, resource efficiency and raw materials
  • Inclusive, innovative and reflective societies
  • Secure societies

The main action types are

  • Research and Innovation Action (collaborative, consortium-type research projects with at least three partners from three different countries)
  • Coordination and Support Action (collaborative or individual actions establishing networks, platforms, or other support action)
  • Innovation Action (collaborative, consortium-type projects focused on innovation)
  • ERA NET Cofund (EU funding supporting projects of national funding agencies)
  • SME Instrument (a dedicated programme addressing innovative SMEs)
  • Public Procurement
  • Expert Contracts
  • Prizes, and
  • Grants to an identified beneficiary