The three themes of Horizon 2020

Horizon 2020 is a single programme coupling research to innovation – taking research towards the market across all forms of innovation. The programme provides simplified access to European funding for all businesses, universities and institutes across Europe and beyond.
The Horizon 2020 programme consists of three core themes or 'pillars':

Excellent science

The Horizon 2020 Excellent Science programme aims to raise the level of excellence in Europe's science base and ensure a steady stream of world-class research to secure long-term competitiveness in Europe. It supports the best ideas, develops European talent and provides researchers with access to a research infrastructure. 

Dedicated support is available to:

  • Support talented individuals and their teams to carry out ground-breaking research by building on the success of the
  • Fund collaborative research to open up new and promising fields of research and innovation through support for
  • Provide researchers with excellent training and career development opportunities through the
  • Ensure Europe has world-class  (including e-infrastructures) accessible to all researchers in Europe and beyond.

Industrial leadership

The Horizon 2020 Competitive Industries Programme will make Europe a more appealing location to invest in research and innovation. The programme seeks to stimulate the growth potential of European companies, targeting SMEs in particular. 
With dedicated support, the programme aims to build leadership in enabling and industrial technologies.
Support is available for a range of Key Enabling Technologies:
  • Advanced manufacturing and processing 
  • Advanced materials 
  • Biotechnology 
  • Information and Communication Technologies 
  • Nanotechnology 
  • Space 
The programme provides support for cross-cutting actions to capture the accumulated benefits from combining several of these technologies. 

Access to risk finance

The Industrial Leadership theme also facilitates access to risk finance, stimulating private investment and venture capital in research and innovation; and aims to strengthen the participation of smaller companies by offering support for innovative SMEs across the European Union.

Societal challenges

The Horizon 2020 Societal Challenges Programme reflects the policy priorities of the and addresses major concerns shared by people across Europe and beyond. 
This challenge-based approach brings together resources and knowledge across different fields, technologies and disciplines, including social sciences and the humanities.
The Societal Challenges Programme:
  • Covers activities from research to market with a new focus on innovation-related activities, such as pilots, demonstrations and test beds 
  • Includes support for public procurement and market uptake
  • Helps to establish links with the activities of the European Innovation Partnerships (EIP).
Societal Challenges funding will be focused on the following calls: 

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