EUROPEAN UNION (EU) HORIZON 2020 PROGRAMME RESEARCH FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES
Understanding the basic principles
'Framework programmes' (FPs) have been the main financial tools through which the European Union supports research and development activities. Based on the Framework Agreement signed between European Commission and Turkey on 14.05.2004 (Turkish law: 5303), Turkey participates in Framework Programs as an associated country, on an equal footing with EU member states. Horizon 2020 (an alternative name of 'FP8'), is the eighth phase of the Framework Programmes for Research and Technological Development funding programmes created by the European Union in order to support and encourage research in the European Research Area (ERA). It implements Europe 2020 and Innovation Union strategies. The programme runs from 2014 until 2020 and provides an estimated €80 billion of funding.
The programme consists of three core themes that are called "pillars".
» Excellent Science: Focuses on basic science. It has a budget of €24.4 billion.
The European Research Council (ERC) delivers €13.1 billion to individual researchers and their teams of researchers to carry out ground-breaking research based on scientific excellence of the applications.
This pillar funds collaborative research to open up new and promising fields of research and innovation for Future and Emerging Technologies-FET (€2.7 billion).
Researcher mobility: Marie Sklodowska-Curie Action-MSCA delivers €6.2 billion to support career development and training of researchers at all stages of their careers. The MSCA also support industrial doctorates, combining academic research study with work in companies, and other innovative training that enhances employability and career development.
European research infrastructures (€2.5 billion)
» Industrial Leadership
Leadership in Enabling and Industrial Technologies (LEIT): With a budget of €13.56 billion the the emphasis for Leadership in Enabling and Industrial Technologies (LEIT) actions is on:
o Research and innovation to strengthen Europe's industrial capacities and business perspectives, including SMEs
o Public-private partnerships (PPPs)
o Cross-cutting KETs
o Seizing the ICT opportunities
o Contributions to solving Societal Challenges and to Focus Areas
o Cross-cutting aspects, like international cooperation and responsible research and innovation.
The involvement of industrial participants, and of SMEs in particular, is crucial in maximising the expected impact of the actions. There are six sub-programmes of this pillar: Advanced manufacturing and processing; Advanced materials; Biotechnology; Information and Communication Technologies; Nanotechnology; Space.
Access to risk finance (€2.8 billion).
The Dedicated SME Instrument
» Societal Challenges Programme addresses major concerns shared by people across Europe and beyond. This challenge-based approach brings together resources and knowledge across different fields, technologies and disciplines, including social sciences and the humanities.
This third pillar funds potential solutions to social and economic problems, "Societal challenges", in the following six sub-programmes:
o Health, demographics changes and well being (€7.5 billion)
o Food security, sustainable agriculture marine and maritime research and the bio-economy (€3.8 billion)
o Secure, clean and efficient energy (€5.9 billion)
o Smart, green and integrated transport (€6.3 billion)
o Climate action and resource efficiency including raw materials (€3.1 billion)
o Inclusive and innovative and secure societies (€1.3 billion)
o Protecting freedom and security in Europe (€1.7 billion)
o This pillar also funds themes names as "Science with and for society" (€0.5 billion) and "Spreading excellence and widening participation" (€0.8 billion).
When to participate
The objective behind all research projects is to find solutions to challenges and problems that Europe is facing. It is therefore important to see how and where exactly your research fits into the Framework Programme (FP) context. A yearly workprogramme is published for each domain of FP announcing the calls for proposals to be published in that year. You should check if your project fits with the topics of the work programme and see which calls for proposal could be of interest for your organisation. Workprogrammes also give detailed information on the rules of participation and funding. The announcements of open calls and workprogrammes are available here. Even if the current work programme does not cover your areas of interest, it is worth keeping an eye on future work programmes.
How to search calls:
European Commission search page:
Click here for a sample search.
How to participate
As a project coordinator
As a project partner
As an expert by creating an European Commission Authentication System (ECAS) account. For this please visit the following web site.
Registering as an expert you will be eligible to work as a reviewer to evaluate the project proposals in the areas you choose. By participating in the evaluation process a significant experience is gained on the the application process and expectations of the European Commision.
Find the right partners
For some type of calls partnership may not be an obligation. For others the basic requirement is at least three researchers from different EU Member States or Associated Countries to build a consortium and propose a project. It is key to have pre-existing links, or if not, to build strategic links with researchers and research institutions in Europe that are involved in similar research. Your existing partners in Europe might plan to participate in an FP project, or might at least know who in Europe will be participating in an FP project. It is then up to you to convince your European partners that they include you in an FP project. Attending events related to European R&D and Online partner search databases are also helpful to get in contact with other researchers interested in the program. The most used online partner search databases
The most used online partner search databases are as follows:
CORDIS Partner Service : One of the largest databases for partner search.
Enterprise Europe Network Cooperation Opportunities Database The portal of Enterprise Europe Network to find partners.
Vision 2020 Network : Boğaziçi University is a member of this network for research organisations and companies participating in the 'Horizon 2020' EU funding programme. Vision2020’s network of members spans 33 countries, with 390 individuals using collaborative platform, representing 41 research & technology organisations (some of the top European institutions for research and innovation), over 120 businesses and 21 experts and associate partners. Details of our membership, along with a map, can be found on the website:www.2020visionnetwork.eu The research organisation members of Vision2020 are a selected group of excellent institutions that are highly active in European research & innovation.
Vision2020 has set up the Policy Hub Strategy Board that is responsible for setting the strategic direction of Vision2020. Vision2020 hosts communities of researchers and companies that work together in "clusters" organised around a particular research area. Each cluster contributes towards the Horizon 2020 agenda and acts as a platform for launching successful proposals. The network is developing thematic Cluster groups, led by Cluster Leaders, to make the Vision2020 platform even more effective for its members. So far Vision2020 has activated Health, Nanotechnology and Materials, ICT and Energy clusters, each group with over 100 thematic experts. Vision2020’s Health Cluster has put forward two position papers with Vision2020 members’ recommendations to the European Commission for the next set of Health Work Programmes. Vision2020 also organises several events each year to connect researchers, companies, funding experts and EU representatives and identify opportunities across Horizon 2020.
National Contact Points (NCP) can also be helpful in finding partners.