Research Support Office

European Funding

Information on Horizon 2020 funding.

Horizon 2020, the 8th Framework Programme, is the current European Commission research and Innovation funding programme. Running from 2014 – 2020 with a budget of almost €70bn, it is intended to deliver the aims and objective of three key EU policies: the Innovation Union, European Research Area, and Europe 2020.  Created in the midst of the European debt crisis the programme was seen as a tool that could be used to stabilise the financial and economic system of the EU while taking measures to create economic opportunities, and strengthening the EU’s global position in research, innovation and technology.

The programme is divided into three pillars, each with distinct aims.

Pillar one is “Excellent Science”, this focuses on foundational research and researcher training.  Here we find the popular European Research Council (ERC) and Marie Skłodowska Curie Actions (MSCA) schemes. This pillar also includes funding for radically new research idea the Future and Emerging Technologies (FET) calls and funding for Research Infrastructures.

Pillar two is dedicated to “Industrial Leadership” which typically requires non-academic industry partners and innovation activities with higher TRL levels. Included under the heading Leadership in Enabling and Industrial Technologies (LEIT) are calls on ICT, Nanotechnology, advanced Materials, Biotechnology, Advanced Manufacturing and Processing, and space. Also, found here are financial instruments for industry and SMEs: Innovation in SMEs and Access to Risk Finance.

Pillar three contains the Societal Challenges. This pillar is designed to address the concerns of citizens and society and fulfil EU policy objectives on matters like: climate, environment, energy, transport, etc., which cannot be achieved without research and innovation. This pillar contains calls seeking breakthrough solutions come from multi-disciplinary collaborations, including social sciences & humanities, industry and stakeholder groups.

To explore these areas in more detail click on the links below or contact the Research Support Office’s dedicated EU team to discuss further.

European Research Council (ERC)

The fundamental activity of the ERC is to provide attractive, long-term funding to support excellent investigators and their research teams to pursue ground-breaking, high-gain/high-risk research.

Maria Sklodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA)

Researcher training schemes operating on a ‘bottom-up’ basis where the applicant proposes the research topic in all research and innovation domains and from basic research to market take-up.

Industrial Leadership

This pillar aims to speed up development of the technologies and innovations that will underpin tomorrow's businesses and help innovative European SMEs to grow into world-leading companies.

Societal Challenges

Reflecting the policy priorities of the Europe 2020 strategy and addressing major concerns shared by citizens in Europe and elsewhere – these calls are large pan-European collaborative projects.