Horizon 2020 is the EU Framework Programme for Research currently underway.
It runs for seven years from 2014 to 2020.
On 30 November 2011, the European Commission presented its proposal for the legislative package for HORIZON 2020, the successor programme to the Seventh EU Framework Programme for Research. The negotiations on HORIZON 2020 began at Council level in February 2012 under the Danish Presidency and were completed at the end of 2013 (under the Lithuanian Presidency).
HORIZON 2020 runs from 2014 to 2020 and is a more innovation-oriented and integrated programme than its predecessors. One reason is that it incorporates innovation-related parts of the Competitiveness and Innovation Programme (CIP) and of the European Institute for Innovation and Technology (EIT).
The three pillars below are among the fundamental elements of HORIZON 2020:
1. Excellent Science
The aim of this first pillar is to strengthen the science base, step up pioneering research and close the gap in research excellence. Europe should support and recruit the most talented researchers. Researchers should have access to the best research infrastructures. That is why this pillar covers measures for the European Research Council (ERC), human resources (Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions), future technologies (Future & Emerging Technologies) and research infrastructures.
2. Industrial Leadership
The central goal of the actions associated with this second pillar is to push innovations in European industry and in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Through strategic investments in key technologies (information and communication technologies (ICT); nanotechnologies; advanced materials manufacturing; biotechnology and space technologies), Horizon 2020 seeks to advance European researchers’ presence and innovations in these areas. Another aim is to create incentives for increased private investments in research and innovation (including access to risk financing).
3. Societal Challenges
The earlier Framework Programmes were structured around thematic priorities whereas Horizon 2020 creates a programme block of major societal challenges. These seven themes are the subjects of research in the third pillar:
- 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 the freedom and security of Europe and its citizens
The European Institute for Innovation and Technology (EIT) also falls under this pillar. The Joint Research Centre (JRC) is still tasked with providing evidence-based scientific support for EU policies.