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Horizon 2020

The name of the Union's new funding programme for research and innovation - Horizon 2020 - reflects the ambition to deliver ideas, growth and jobs for the future. Horizon 2020 will be a key tool in implementing the Innovation Union flagship initiative, in delivering on the commitments made therein and in responding to the conclusions of the 4 February 2011 European Council and to the European Parliament's Resolution of 12 May 2011 on the Innovation Union.

Horizon 2020 brings together all existing Union research and innovation funding, including the Framework Programme for Research, the innovation related activities of the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme and the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT). This approach is widely recognised by stakeholders as the way forward and has also been supported by the European Parliament in its Resolution of 27 September 2011, the European Economic and Social Committee and the European Research Area Committee.

Focusing resources on key priorities

Horizon 2020 will focus resources on three distinct, yet mutually reinforcing, priorities, where there is clear Union added value. These priorities correspond to those of Europe 2020 and the Innovation Union.

  1. Excellent Science. This will raise the level of excellence in Europe's science base and ensure a steady stream of world-class research to secure Europe's long-term competitiveness. It will support the best ideas, develop talent within Europe, provide researchers with access to priority research infrastructure, and make Europe an attractive location for the world's best researchers.
    This will:
    • support the most talented and creative individuals and their teams to carry out frontier research of the highest quality by building on the success of the European Research Council
    • fund collaborative research to open up new and promising fields of research and innovation through support for Future and Emerging Technologies (FET); ? provide researchers with excellent training and career development opportunities through the Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions15 ('Marie Curie actions')
    • ensure Europe has world-class research infrastructures (including einfrastructures) accessible to all researchers in Europe and beyond.
  2. Industrial Leadership. This will aim at making Europe a more attractive location to invest in research and innovation (including eco-innovation), by promoting activities where businesses set the agenda. It will provide major investment in key industrial technologies, maximise the growth potential of European companies by providing them with adequate levels of finance and help innovative SMEs to grow into worldleading companies.
    This will:
    • build leadership in enabling and industrial technologies, with dedicated support for ICT, nanotechnologies, advanced materials, biotechnology, advanced manufacturing and processing, and space, while also providing support for cross-cutting actions to capture the accumulated benefits from combining several Key Enabling Technologies
    • facilitate access to risk finance
    • provide Union wide support for innovation in SMEs.
  3. Societal Challenges. This reflects the policy priorities of the Europe 2020 strategy and addresses major concerns shared by citizens in Europe and elsewhere. A challenge-based approach will bring together resources and knowledge across different fields, technologies and disciplines, including social sciences and the humanities. This will cover activities from research to market with a new focus on innovation-related activities, such as piloting, demonstration, test-beds, and support for public procurement and market uptake. It will include establishing links with the activities of the European Innovation Partnerships.
    Funding will be focussed on the following challenges:
    • Health, demographic change and wellbeing
    • Food security, sustainable agriculture, marine and maritime research and the bio-economy
    • Secure, clean and efficient energy
    • Smart, green and integrated transport
    • Climate action, resource efficiency and raw materials
    • Inclusive, innovative and secure societies.