Horizon 2020

Horizon 2020, the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation running from 2014 to 2020, is made up of three main pillars and other cross-cutting programmes.

Learn more about Horizon 2020

Participate in Horizon 2020 Calls through the Participant Portal

  Pillar 1: Excellent Science

The scope of the Pillar is to reinforce and extend the excellence of the Union’s science base in order to make the Union’s research and innovation system more competitive on a global scale. The objectives supporting the best ideas, developing talents within Europe, providing researchers with access to research infrastructure, and making Europe attractive for researchers.
The Excellent Science Pillar consists of four parts:

  • European Research Council (ERC): supports frontier research, cross disciplinary proposals and pioneering ideas in new and emerging fields which introduce unconventional and innovative approaches.
    EU website
  • Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA): provide grants for all stages of researchers' careers and encourage transnational, intersectoral and interdisciplinary mobility.
    EU website
  • Future and Emerging Technologies (FET): the aim of FET actions is to initiate radically new lines of technology through unexplored collaborations between advanced multidisciplinary science and cutting-edge engineering.
    Eu website
  • European research infrastructures (including e-infrastructures): the aim is to integrate and open national research facilities to international scholars and develop e-infrastructures underpinning a digital European Research Area
    EU website

  Pillar 2: Industrial Leadership

The goal of the Industrial Leadership Pillar is to make Europe a more attractive location to invest in research and innovation, by promoting activities where businesses set the agenda”.

It has three objectives:

  • Leadership in enabling and industrial technologies: “provides dedicated support for research, development and demonstration and, where appropriate, for standardisation and certification, on information and communications technology (ICT), nanotechnology, advanced materials, biotechnology, advanced manufacturing and processing and space”
  • Access to risk finance: aims to overcome deficits in the availability of debt and equity finance for R&D and innovation-driven companies and projects at all stages of development
  • Innovation in SMEs: provides “SME-tailored support to stimulate all forms of innovation in SMEs, targeting those with the potential to grow and internationalise across the single market and beyond”

Projects @Unipd

  Pillar 3: Societal Challenges

The Societal Challenges Pillar reflects the policy priorities of the Europe 2020 strategy and addresses major concerns shared by citizens in Europe. The focus is on the following challenges:

  • Health, demographic change and wellbeing;
  • Food security, sustainable agriculture and forestry, marine and maritime and inland water research, and the Bioeconomy;
  • Secure, clean and efficient energy;
  • Smart, green and integrated transport;
  • Climate action, environment, resource efficiency and raw materials;
  • Europe in a changing world - inclusive, innovative and reflective societies;
  • Secure societies - protecting freedom and security of Europe and its citizens.

Projects @Unipd

  Cross-cutting activities

Some relevant cross-cutting sections within Horizon 2020 are the following:

  • Spreading Excellence and Widening Participation aims at improving the participation in Horizon 2020 of EU Member States with low research and innovation performance.
  • Science with and for Society aims at building effective relationships between science and society, and pairing scientific excellence with social awareness and responsibility
  • Fast Track to Innovation promotes close-to-the-market innovation activities
  • Euratom “is a complementary research programme for nuclear research and training”
  • European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) is an independent EU body to enhance Europe’s ability to sustain economic growth and job creation by promoting cooperation among businesses, education institutions and research organisations. Through its Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs), the EIT aims at fostering world-class innovation and entrepreneurship in Europe. 

Projects @Unipd

  Joint Technology Initiatives (JTI)

JTIs address strategic areas where research and innovation are essential to European competitiveness. A novel element of the Seventh Framework Programme for Research, Technological Development and Demonstration Activities, JTIs support large-scale multinational research activities.

Joint Technology Initiatives are an entirely new mechanism for performing research at EU level. They are long-term Public-Private Partnerships and are managed within dedicated structures based on Article 187 TFEU (ex Article 171 TEC). JTIs support large-scale multinational research activities in areas of major interest to European industrial competitiveness and issues of high societal relevance.
EU website

Projects @Unipd

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