Research Support Office

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.

Taking the largest proportion of the Horizon 2020 budget, the Societal Challenges are designed to create a platform on which Europe’s best researchers to come together to find solutions to the greatest challenges faced by the people of the EU and the wilder world both right now and into the future. These challenges are divided into topic areas:

Responses to these calls come in three project types called actions. In most cases they must be made up of at least three partner organisation from three different EU member states or associated countries :

  • RIA – Research and Innovation Actions
    • The majority of calls will be in this form. These are large collaborative projects with a focus on research activities.
    • Budget typically €2m-5m with a duration of 36-48 months, but this can vary
    • 5-7 partners
    • 100% of direct eligible costs, 25% overheads 


  • IA – Innovation Actions
    • Produce plans & arrangements or designs for new, altered or improved products, processes or services
    • Limited basic research, closer to market activities with higher TRL levels
    • Usually includes industry, SME or non-academic partners
    • €2m-5m
    • 30-36 months
    • 100% of direct eligible costs, 25% overheads 


  • CSA – Coordination and Support Action
    • Funded activities include Standardisation, dissemination, policy dialogues, awareness raising, networking
    • No research activity is funded
    • 1 or more legal entities
    • Budget €0.5m-2m
    • 100% of direct eligible costs, 25% overheads