Research and Innovation in Europe

According to the website of the European Commission on the topic, Horizon 2020 is the biggest EU Research and Innovation programme ever with nearly €80 billion of funding available over 7 years (2014 to 2020) – in addition to the private investment that this money will attract. It promises more breakthroughs, discoveries and world-firsts by taking great ideas from the lab to the market.

Objectives of Horizon 2020

The objective of Horizon 2020 is simple: it is 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.

Additionally, the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation will be complemented by further measures to complete and further develop the European Research Area. These measures will aim at breaking down barriers to create a genuine single market for knowledge, research and innovation. In other words: Horizon 2020 will ensure a solid, strong, leading and globally competitive European research and innovation sector.

Horizon 2020 Budget

The total budget of €80 billion for the period from 2014 to 2020 is spread over several funding lines, of which you can find more information here.

Horizon 2020 Funding Lines

Societal Challenges in Horizon 2020

In addition toi above objectives, Horizon 2020 aims at resolving some of the most important challenges facing society. As there are many challenges, these have been divided into societal challenge categories. The EU has identified seven priority challenges where targeted investment in research and innovation can have a real impact benefitting European citizens:

  1. Health, demographic change and wellbeing
  2. Food security, sustainable agriculture and forestry, marine and maritime and inland water research and the bioeconomy
  3. Secure, clean and efficient energy
  4. Smart, green and integrated transport
  5. Climate action, environment, resource efficiency and raw materials
  6. Europe in a changing world – inclusive, innovative and reflective societies
  7. Secure societies – protecting freedom and security of Europe and its citizens.

Societal Challenge 5 (SC5)

As the name of this website suggests, the Impact-SC5 project specifically focuses on Societal Challenge 5: Climate action, environment, resource efficiency and raw materials. The era of never-ending cheap resources is coming to an end: access to raw materials and clean water can no longer be taken for granted. Biodiversity and ecosystems are also under pressure. The solution is to invest now in innovation to support a green economy – an economy that is in sync with the natural environment. Dealing with climate change is a cross-cutting priority in Horizon 2020 and accounts for 35 % of the overall budget across the programme. Waste and water are particular priorities. Waste is currently responsible for 2 % of the EU’s greenhouse gas emissions, while boosting growth in the water industry by just 1 % could create up to 20 000 new jobs. The total budget available for Societal Challenge 5 is just over €3 billion.

RIA and IA projects

The Impact-SC5 project looks at two specific types of Horizon 2020 projects, known as RIA and IA projects.

Research and innovation actions (RIA) primarily consist of activities aiming to establish new knowledge and/or to explore the feasibility of a new or improved technology, product, process, service or solution. For this purpose they may include basic and applied research, technology development and integration, testing and validation on a small-scale prototype in a laboratory or simulated environment. These projects are typically 100% funded by the EU.

Innovation actions (IA) consist of activities directly aiming at producing plans and arrangements or designs for new, altered or improved products, processes or services. For this purpose they may include prototyping, testing, demonstrating, piloting, large-scale product validation and market replication. These projects are typically funded at 70% by the EU, unless these are not-for-profit projects, in which case they are 100% funded)


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