Worth 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. This includes 12 areas that will be a focus for action in 2014/2015, including topics such as personalised healthcare, digital security and smart cities (see MEMO/13/1122).
European Research, Innovation and Science Commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn said: "It's time to get down to business. Horizon 2020 funding is vital for the future of research and innovation in Europe, and will contribute to growth, jobs and a better quality of life. 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 SMEs, and others to sign up!"
For the first time, the Commission has indicated funding priorities over two years, providing researchers and businesses with more certainty than ever before on the direction of EU research policy. Most calls from the 2014 budget are already open for submissions as of today, with more to follow over the course of the year. Calls in the 2014 budget alone are worth around €7.8 billion, with funding focused on the three key pillars of Horizon 2020:
Excellent Science: Around €3 billion, including €1.7 billion for grants from the European Research Council for top scientists and €800 million for Marie Skłodowska-Curie fellowships for younger researchers (see MEMO/13/1123).Industrial Leadership: €1.8 billion to support Europe's industrial leadership in areas like ICT, nanotechnologies, advanced manufacturing, robotics, biotechnologies and space.
Societal challenges: €2.8 billion for innovative projects addressing Horizon 2020's seven societal challenges, broadly: health; agriculture, maritime and bioeconomy; energy; transport; climate action, environment, resource efficiency and raw materials; reflective societies; and security.
Horizon 2020 is the EU's biggest ever research and innovation framework programme with a seven year budget worth nearly €80 billion. Most EU research funding is allocated on the basis of competitive calls, but the budget for Horizon includes funding also for the Joint Research Centre, the European Commission's in-house science service; the European Institute for Innovation and Technology and research carried out within the framework of the Euratom Treaty. Separate calls will also be published under specific Partnerships with industry and with Member States (see IP/13/668). In 2014 the total EU research budget, including these items and administrative expenditure, will be around €9.3 billion, rising to around €9.9 billion in 2015. Final 2015 amounts are subject to the decision on the 2015 annual budget.
The funding opportunities under Horizon 2020 are set out in work programmes published on the EU's digital portal for research funding, which has been redesigned for quicker, paperless procedures. Participants will also find simpler programme architecture and funding, a single set of rules, and a reduced burden from financial controls and audits.
The 2014-15 calls include €500 million over two years dedicated to innovative small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) through a brand new SME Instrument. 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.