Horizon 2020 Structure
Who should apply?
Horizon 2020 is open for all types of people involved in research and innovation such as academia, research, industry and other stakeholder organisations.
There are opportunities for individual researchers and groups of researchers to apply for funding in each of the three pillars of research in the above graphic. The choice of pillar and underlying programme depends on what a researcher is looking for funding for, in terms of the size of the planned project, whether it is basic or applied or whether someone is interested in moving to another country.
You can speak with Emma Leahy on how your funding needs would be best met.
Calls for proposals: ec.europa.eu/research/participants/portal/desktop/en/opportunities
Work programmes: ec.europa.eu/research/participants/portal/desktop/en/funding/reference_docs.html#h2020-work-programmes
The 3 pillars
Under Excellent Science, four different schemes are available, largely for bottom-up funding for individual researchers or teams.
The European Research Council (ERC) provides funding for excellent researchers at different stages of their career.
Future Emerging Technologies (FET) is a funding mechanism for collaborative ‘high risk’ research under three different streams, FET Open, FET Proactive and the FET Flagships.
The Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) fund mobility, training and career development in academia, industry and other non-academic sectors through individual mobility grants and projects.
Research Infrastructures includes funding for e-infrastructures and access to infrastructures for researchers.
Under this pillar, funding is available for the so-called Key Enabling Technologies (KETs), including ICT, Nanotechnologies, Advanced Materials, Biotechnology, Advanced Manufacturing and Processing and for research and innovation in the area of Space.
Leadership in enabling and industrial technologies (LEIT)
In addition, there are two more industry oriented schemes available. Overall, this is probably the most industry and innovation focussed part of Horizon 2020 with many opportunities for applied research, especially under the KETs.
Access to risk finance
Innovation in SMEs
Seven societal challenges have been identified under pillar 3. Funding under this pillar is predominantly for collaborative projects, following a more top-down approach with two-year work programmes of defined, challenge-based topics. Usually, a minimum of three legal entities from three EU Member States participate in these projects.
Given that the overall aim of this pillar is to tackle Societal Challenges, most projects will require a broader approach in terms of disciplines and might require the inclusion of different stakeholders. If you are a researcher from the Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH) area, you will find that it is worth looking beyond Challenge 6, as all other challenges will also identify areas where input from SSH is relevant.