FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions on Horizon 2020

Introducing Horizon2020

  1. When does Horizon 2020 begin?
  2. What will the programme look like?
  3. What about the budget?
  4. What has changed from Framework Programme Seven?
  5. What specific elements of Horizon 2020 will promote innovation?

Understanding the Pillars

  1. What will happen under Pillar One – Excellence in Science?
  2. Which activities will be addressed by the Pillar Two  “Industrial Leadership”?
  3. What are the KETs?
  4. Biotechnology: what does it cover?
  5. What’s in Horizon 2020 for SMEs?
  6. Where can I find information on the topics covered by the different LEITs?
  7. Which activities will be addressed by the Pillar Three “Societal Challenges”?
  8. Where can I find information on the topics covered by the different Societal Challenges?
  9. Will there be any other activities not included in the three Pillars?
  10. What will happen to the FP7 Science in Society programme?
  11. Where can I find the International Cooperation in Horizon 2020?
  12. What will be done to address the disparities in research and innovation capabilities between member states?
  13. What about new KICs?

Participating to H2020

  1. Different types of project: R&D and Close-to-Innovation
  2. Where has red tape been cut in Horizon 2020?
  3. What about the reimbursement rates?
  4. What about the bonus system?
  5. Will it be mandatory to make research data public?
  6. What about ethics?
  7. What are the minimum conditions for participation?
  8. Who is eligible for funding?
  9. Are Canadian organizations eligible for funding?
  10. Can Canadian organizations coordinate H2020 projects?
  11. What’s the time to grant?

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Introducing Horizon2020

1. When does Horizon 2020 begin?

The supposed start date for the new Framework Program, Horizon 2020, is the 1st of January 2014, after the final approval from the European Parliament and European Council (plenary sessions foreseen in September/October 2013).

2. What will the programme look like?

 The programme will be structured in three main pillars:

  • Excellent Science,
  • Industrial Leadership and
  • Societal Challenges

as shown in the figure below:

  1. Excellence in Science – funding the best science through open competition. This will be through four programmes: the European Research Council; Research Infrastructures; Future and Emerging Technologies; and the Marie Skłodowska-Curie research grant scheme.
  2. Industrial Leadership – this includes a programme to support innovative small and medium enterprises; financial instruments including debt and equity facilities to fund innovation; and a programme to encourage the development of enabling and industrial technologies;
  3. Social challenges – supporting research in areas such as health, climate, food, security, transport and energy.

3. What about the budget?

to be added soon…
4. What has changed from Framework Programme Seven?

The new Common Strategic Programme for Research and Innovation combines three different instruments of the last period 2007-2013:

  • the 7th Framework Program  (FP7),
  • the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Program (CIP),
  • the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT).

The new Programme aims to cover the full value chain, from frontier research, to technological developmentdemonstration, valorisation of results and innovation.

In this way Horizon 2020 strengths its innovative footprint, achieving a close-to-market position for Europe. Following this path, an important role is played by SMEs, which will be largely supported by the new Programme, and by synergies with Structural Funds.
Another  Horizon’s important goal is a lightened set of procedures and a simplified reimbursement model which is intended to reach a larger number of participants coming from industry and academia.

 

5. What specific elements of Horizon 2020 will promote innovation?

The entire programme is permeated by innovation. The main elements are visible in the second pillar,Industrial Leadership,  that aims to reach a more competitive Europe, through a strong innovative footprint by the application of enabling and industrial technologies like nanotechnologies, advanced materials, biotechnology, advanced manufacturing and processing, information and communication technology and space.ù

The financial instruments, available in the same pillars, will activate the European Investment Bank and the European Investment Fund in providing debt and equity facilities with the aim at improving the availability of funds for industries and organisations at large.

The “Fast Track to Innovation” pilot actions will also support innovation under the pillars  “Industrial Technologies” and “Societal Challenges”. The idea of the Commission is a bottom-up approach with continuously open calls and a maximum  time to grant of six months. This new instrument is mostly directed to SMEs with the aim of spreading and enlarging innovation. This scheme will be tested during the 2015 and then will be operative maybe in the 2018 calls.


Understanding the Pillars

6. What will happen under Pillar One – Excellence in Science?

Pillar One “Excellent Science” will fund the best science through open competition.

Four programme are foreseen:

European Research Council (ERC) grants as in the FP7, will fund frontier research. The same five funding schemes  are foreseen in Horizon 2020 (no details about rules of eligibility are available at this stage):

  • Starting-Grants;
  • Consolidator Grants;
  • Advanced-Grants;
  • Synergy-Grant;
  • Proof of concept.

Future and Emerging Technologies (FET) will fund high-potential/high risk projects, with a large technological and social impact . Three types of FET projects have been proposed:

  • FET “Open”: Collaborative research for embryonic, high risk visionary science and technology;
  • FET “Proactive”: Nurturing emerging themes and communities;
  • FET “Flagships”: Tackling grand interdisciplinary science and technology challenges (e.g. Graphene and Human Brain flagships launched last January 2013)

Marie Skłodowska Curie Actions will offer mobility and carrier opportunities to researchers (both from academia and industry) around Europe and beyond.

HORIZON2020 shows a rationalisation of the FP7 funding schemes as shown below:

  • Innovative training networks (ITN);
  • R&I Staff Exchange (RISE) will include the FP7 schemes IAPP and IRSES;
  • Individual Fellowships (IF) will include the FP7 schemes IEF, IOF, IIF, CIG;
  • Individual co-funding activities: synergies with structural funds.

Research Infrastructures Programme will foster the innovation potential of research infrastructures and their human capital,  will reinforce  the European research infrastructure policy and international co-operation and will implement the European research infrastructures for 2020 and beyond.

7. Which activities will be addressed by the Pillar Two  “Industrial Leadership”?

The second Pillar will support three different activities:

  • Leadership in Enabling and Industrial Technologies (LEITs):
    • ICT, Nanotechnologies,
    • Advanced Materials, Advanced Manufacturing, Biotechnologies
    • Space
    • Access to risk finance
    • Innovation in SMEs

 

8. What are the KETs?

The Key Enabling Technologies (KETs), embodied in the second pillar” Industrial Leadership”, are technologies with an high knowledge and R&D intensity which promote innovation in society and economy. The KETs are interdisciplinary technologies that cover and integrate different sectors.

The following technologies are part of KETs and will be covered in the “Industrial Technologies” pillar:

  • Photonics, Manufacturing,
  • Biotechnology,
  • Advanced Materials,
  • Micro/Nanoelectronics,
  • Nanotechnologies.

9. Biotechnology: what does it cover?

The classic classification of biotechnologies in white, red and green, was represented in the FP7 under the three different themes NMP, HEALTH and KBBE.
The so-called “white” biotechnologies, related to processes,  in H2020 will become a specific theme under the “Industrial Leadership” pillar, articulated in three different areas:

  • Boosting sustainable cutting-edge biotechnologies as a future innovation driver;
  • Biotechnology-based industrial products and processes;
  • Innovative and competitive platform technologies.

The other two biotechnology categories, related to HEALTH and KBBE, will stay under the corresponding Societal Challenges.

10. What’s in Horizon 2020 for SMEs?

In Horizon 2020 there will be two different approaches for SMEs:

  • bottom-up: through a new Instrument will be introduced, that will be open mainly to SMEs,
  • top-down: through the participation to the calls for proposals published under the different LEITs and Societal Challenges.

 

11. Where can I find information on the topics covered by the different LEITs?

Description of the general approach will be available in the Regulation establishing Horizon 2020, that will be published after the official approval from the Parliament and Council.

The details about topics of each LEIT will be described in the specific work programme.
The publication of the official documents is expected between December 2013 – January 2014.

12. Which activities will be addressed by the Pillar Three  “Societal Challenges”?

The seven Societal Challenges will support the research& innovation in different areas like:

  • Health, demographic change and wellbeing;
  • Food security, sustainable agriculture and forestry, marine and maritime and inland water research & the bio-economy;
  • 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 society;
  • Secure society – protecting freedom and security of Europe and its citizens


13. Where can I find information on the topics covered by the different Societal Challenges?

Description of the general approach will be available in the Regulation establishing Horizon 2020, that will be published after the official approval from the Parliament and Council.

The details about topics of each Societal Challenge will be described in the specific work programme.
The publication of the official documents is expected between December 2013 – January 2014.

14. Will there be any other activities not included in the three Pillars?

Yes, there will be some horizontal activities, such as: “Science with and for Society”, “Spreading Excellence and Widening Participation”, “European Institute of Technology” and the Joint Research Centre,  plus the general opening of Horizon2020 to “International Cooperation”.

 

15. What will happen to the FP7 Science in Society programme?

The “Science in Society” program has been changed in “Science with and for Society” with a budget of €421 million, 0,6% of the total Horizon 2020 budget.

The aim of this program is the creation of a link between society and science, making science attractive for people. It will be outside the three main pillars of Horizon 2020.

16. Where can I find the International Cooperation in Horizon 2020?

Although in FP7 the International Cooperation was the 7th activity of the Capacity Programme, in H2020  it will be embodied within the 6th Social Challenge, “Europe in a changing world – Inclusive, innovative and reflective society”, with networking/twinning and supporting actions.

Besides this specific collocation, in the new Programme there will be cross-activities under the two pillars “Industrial Leadership” and “Societal Challenges”, e.g. project with required/preferential 3rd country participation.

The International Cooperation has also a return on the pillar, “Excellent Science” , in fact both Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions and ERC are opened to international researchers and the Research Infrastructures program has a global view.

 

17. What will be done to address the disparities in research and innovation capabilities between member states?

The EU’s attention in low-performing countries between member states is higher in Horizon 2020. The “Spreading Science and Widening Participation” activity gives regard to those regions that need to grow in competitiveness creating new centres of excellence.

The EU’s aim is to make the different funding schemes, such as Structural Funds, cooperate to reach a better European performance. The regional Fund can be used for capacity building, such as equipment, human resources development, small grants, and contribution to the funding of ERC, Marie Curie or collaborative projects.

18. What about new KICs?

The Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs) are the European Institute of Technology (EIT)’s operational units working in cross-disciplinary areas of strategic importance. In Horizon 2020 will be added 5 new KICs to the originals ones (Energy, ICT, Climate Change). The new KICs for the period 2014-2020 will be launched in three different waves:

  • First Wave 2014:
    – “Healthy living and active ageing”
    – “Raw materials”
  • Second Wave 2016: 
    – “Food4Future”
    – “Added value manufacturing”
  • Third Wave 2018: 
    – “Urban mobility”

 

Participating to H2020

19. Different types of project: R&D and Close-to-Innovation

 In FP7 the co-funding rate was different for different activities, for example research/technological development, demonstration and other activities. In Horizon there will be a unique flat rate for all projects and for every type of activities. The only difference exists between R&D and close-to-market (or innovation) projects on the base of the type of beneficiary.
The R&D projects are characterized by basic research, technology development and integration while the close-to-innovation projects are intended to produce plans or designs for new or improved products, processes or services. As the proximity of these projects with the market, they will include prototyping, demonstrating, piloting product validation and replication.
For the close-to-market projects the funding rate is different depending on the beneficiary. For no-profit organizations the rate is 100% while for industries and SMEs the rate is 70%

20. Where has red tape been cut in Horizon 2020?

The Horizon time to grant will be shortened to 8 months (instead of 1 year of FP7) of which 5 months for the Commission to inform the applicants and 3 months for the negotiation and the signing of the Grant Agreement. Derogations are foreseen for the ERC projects.

Furthermore the method to calculate the indirect costs has become the same for all types of applicants and activities (25% for direct costs excluding subcontracting and third parties)


21. What about the reimbursement rates?

unique funding rate is foreseen in the new Programme, without differences between beneficiaries. For the Research projects the rate will be fixed at 100% of costs, while for the close-to-innovation projects the rate will be 100% for no-profit organisations and 70% for industries and SMEs.

The Indirect Costs are fixed at 25% both for No-profit organisations and SMEs/Industries.


22. What about the bonus system?

The Council proposal has introduced the eligibility of a bonus system that allows an additional remuneration up to 8000€ per year per person for coordinator or principal investigator winner. This bonus will considered as eligible cost only if it is part of the usual remuneration practices of the participant for all projects (both national and international).


23. Will it be mandatory to make research data public?

The open access to data public will be ensured to facilitate and promote the circulation of information and their exploitation.
The Commission proposal to make Open Access (OA) mandatory was considered too ambitious, therefore some changes have been as the distinction between publications and results. The publications coming from H2020 funded project must be “open” and their costs can be eligible. For data and  research results , the open access is not mandatory and it is linked with the IPRs.

24. What about ethics?

The ethics (e.g. research on embryonic stem cells) and their rules are unchanged from FP7. All research must comply with ethical principles and relevant national, EU and international legislation, including the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union and the European Convention on Human Rights.

The opinions of the European Group on Ethics in Science and New Technologies will be taken into account.

25. What are the minimum conditions for participation?

The minimum conditions for participation in H2020 are:

  • For collaborative actions (eg. Research & Innovation Actions, Innovation Actions), at least three legal entities independent of each other and each established in a different Member State or an Associated Country.
  • For ERC, SME instrument, programme co-fund, training and mobility actions and Coordination and Support Actions one legal entity established in a Member State or in an Associated Country.

Moreover, additional conditions may be set out in the work programme or work plan (e.g. number of participants, type of participants etc.).

 

26. Who is eligible for funding?

Legal entities established in the Member States and Associated Countries, International European Interest Organisations, and legal entities identified in the work programmes are automatically eligible. Legal entities established in Third Countries (different than International Cooperation Partner Countries – ICPC) and International Organizations are eligible if their participation is considered essential for carrying out the action by the Commission or the relevant funding body, or it is provided for in an international agreement between the Union and a third country or international organization.

 

27. Are Canadian organizations eligible for funding?

Canadian organizations can always take part in a Horizon 2020 collaborative project. However, usually they don’t get funded. They can receive funding only in specific cases:

  • when their participation is expressly  requested by the EC in the topic (this is in principle, but the topic itself may include specific provisions about it, so please check the call first);
  • in case of a joint call (funded by both the EU and Canada);
  • when their participation is deemed essential for the achievement of the project objectives.

As the latter is a quite generic provision, it is highly recommended to discuss the issue with the EC project officer before the proposal submission. No special letter is required.

 

28. Can Canadian organizations coordinate H2020 projects?

 There is no official ban for extra-european countries’ coordinators. However, given the difficulty for extra-european countries’ organizations to manage EU funds, it is discouraged for them to take the lead of an EU H2020 project.

 

29. What’s the time to grant?

In H2020 time to grant is reduced to 5 months for informing all applicants on outcome of scientific evaluation, plus 3 months for signature of GA, with the exceptions of ERC, justified cases (complex actions) or where requested by applicants.

 

 

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