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European Funding: Horizon 2020

Horizon 2020 is the principal research and innovation programme from the European Commission. It succeeded the 7th framework programme and will run from 2014 until 2020.

General Introduction

Horizon 2020 is the financial instrument implementing the Innovation Union, a Europe 2020 flagship initiative aimed at securing Europe's global competitiveness. Seen as a means to drive economic growth and create jobs, Horizon 2020 has the political backing of Europe’s leaders and the Members of the European Parliament. They agreed that research is an investment in our future and so put it at the heart of the EU’s blueprint for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth and jobs.

By coupling research and innovation, Horizon 2020 is helping to achieve this with its emphasis on excellent science, industrial leadership and tackling societal challenges. The goal is to ensure Europe produces world-class science, removes barriers to innovation and makes it easier for the public and private sectors to work together in delivering innovation. International cooperation is an important cross-cutting priority of Horizon 2020. In addition to Horizon 2020 being fully open to international participation, targeted actions with key partner countries and regions focus on the EU strategic priorities.

How does Horizon 2020 work?

For every Horizon 2020 programme, the European Commission publishes a specific work programme that includes various calls for proposals. Most Horizon 2020 programmes fall under one of three pillars: Excellent Science, Industrial leadership and Societal Challenges.

Horizon 2020 includes the following types of actions:

  • Research & Innovation actions aim to establish new knowledge or explore the feasibility of a new technology, product, process, service or solution
  • ​Innovation actions aim at producing plans and arrangements or designs for new, altered or improved products, processes or services
  • Coordination & Support actions involve measures such as standardisation, dissemination, awareness-raising and communication, networking, coordination or support services, policy dialogues and mutual learning exercises and studies

New features of the 2018-2020 Work Programme

The 2018-2020 Work Programme builds on the success of Horizon 2020 so far, and takes account of the extensive interim evaluation of the programme. The Work Programme also responds to the European Commission's political priorities and paves the way for its successor programme.

New features of the Work Programme include measures to:

  • support market-creating innovation through a first phase of a European Innovation Council (EIC)
  • address political priorities through highly integrated activities called 'focus areas': (1) a low-carbon, climate resilient future; (2) circular economy; (3) digitising and transforming European industry and services; and (4) boosting the effectiveness of the security union
  • promote Open Science by shifting from publishing research results in scientific publications towards sharing knowledge sooner in the research process
  • strengthen international R&I cooperation through 30 flagship initiatives in areas of mutual benefit

Water and Circular Economy in Horizon 2020

Because of their cross-cutting nature, separate overviews with water-related and circular economy-related calls in Horizon 2020 for the years 2018-2020 are available.

Open and forthcoming Horizon 2020 calls

The European Commission has opened a new online portal for funding applications and tenders: the Funding & Tenders Portal. The new portal allows for funding applications and tenders for all EU programs and grants to be submitted in one place. In 2021, when the next EU programming period starts, this should be the access point for all centrally coordinated EU programs. The Funding & Tenders Portal replaces the Participant Portal. The new portal retains all functions of the Participant Portal, but has a new layout and the search function has been improved. You can also find an overview of Horizon 2020 call deadlines here (UvA staff only).

Registration as Expert

The European Commission is looking for experts to evaluate proposals for EU funding and for other activities such as monitoring, programme evaluation and policy development. Scientists can register themselves at the Expert Section of the Funding & Tenders Portal.

EU Login

EU Login (previously ECAS) is the European Commission's user authentication service. It allows authorised users to access a wide range of Commission information systems, including the Participant Portal, using a single username and password.

UvA Participant Identification Code

The University of Amsterdam is known by the European Commission through a unique Participant Identification Code: 999985708. In your Horizon 2020 applications you should use this code.

The EU requires compliance with Article 32 for contractors of Horizon 2020 projects. Article 32 stipulates the obligation to take measures to implement the European Charter and Code (C & C) for the benefit of all researchers and their institution. It means a good Human Resources policy needs to be maintained. UvA has such a policy and has a plan of improvement actions in place to take these measures. In recognition UvA was awarded the HR Excellence in Research Logo. In your Horizon 2020 applications you should refer to this logo.