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HORIZON 2020 is the Framework Programme for Research and Innovation of the European Union (EU). With a term of 7 years (2014 to 2020), it replaces the 7th EU Framework Programme for Research and integrates the European Institute for Innovation and Technology (EIT) and/or parts of the Competitiveness and Innovation Programme (CIP). As part of the Europe 2020 Strategy, it unites research and innovation for the first time and shall make significant contributions to more growth and employment in Europe. The increase of the European competitiveness and the solution of major societal challenges are important goals. With a total budget of approx. EUR 77 billion (current prices), it constitutes the so far largest “research” funding programme of the EU.



HORIZON 2020 is basically divided into three priorities, which shall cover a very broad range of topics on the one hand and the entire innovation chain on the other hand, starting from the basic idea and up to the marketable product. It concerns the fields of “Excellent Science”, “Industrial Leadership” and “Societal Challenges”).

 Horizon Structure uniblau

 Furthermore, there are other programme elements that are integral parts of HORIZON 2020:


To implement the individual programmes, HORIZON 2020 uses various funding schemes. Research and innovation projects are usually implemented in joint projects. Individual funding of scientists is possible as well, it is particularly provided by the ERC and MSCA. An overview of the most important funding schemes is presented below.

Research and Innovation Actions (RIA)
are “classic” research and development projects implemented jointly by at least three independent partners from three different EU Member States and/or associated States. The focus is on the establishment of new knowledge and/or the exploration of the feasibility of new or improved technologies, products, processes or services. They include both basic research and applied research and may include limited demonstration and/or pilot activities.
The funding rate is 100%

Innovation Actions (IA) are “close-to-market” joint projects where at least three independent partners from three different EU Member States and/or associated States work together. The focus is on the development of plans and concepts for new, altered or improved products, processes or services. They include e.g. prototyping, testing, demonstrating, piloting, large-scale product validation and developing marketability. Research and development activities are possible to a limited extent.
The funding rate amounts to 70% (non-profit organisations receive a funding rate of 100%)

Coordination and Support Actions (CSA) are accompanying measures serving the coordination and support of research activities (e.g. for standardisation, dissemination, awareness-raising, communication, networking, coordination or support, political dialogues and mutual learning exercises and studies). They may also include additional activities for the networking and coordination of programmes between various countries. They are mainly joint projects; however, individual applications are permitted.
The funding rate amounts to 100%

Individual funding of scientists is permitted at the ERC and MSCA.

Awards constitute a new form of financial support in HORIZON 2020. They are granted in the work programmes for the solution of existing problems.


Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) are partnerships between industry and public sector aiming to develop innovative technologies in the European key industries. Distinction is made between the so-called contractual PPPs and the institutional PPPs:

  • Contractual PPPs: They are based on contractual agreements between public and private sector. Calls for proposals are issued within the context of the HORIZON 2020 work programmes. Examples are “Factory of the Future” and “Energy-efficient Buildings”. Further information can be found here.
  • Institutional PPPs: Joint technology initiatives according to Art. 187 TFEU (Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union). Independent calls for proposals with rules that in part deviate from HORIZON 2020. Further information can be found here.

Public-Public Partnerships (P2P) are public-public partnerships particularly focusing on the coordination of national programmes and/or of the public sponsors. Funding offers include the so-called ERA-NETs, Joint Programming and Art. 185 measures. An overview of current calls for proposals can be found here.


HORIZON 2020 information sites:

In addition to the advisory services of the Department for Research Funding, scientists may also make use of external advisory services. Contact points particularly include the EU Office of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (EUB) with its related national contact points (NKS) and the European Liaison Office of the German Research Organisations (KOWI). These services are free of charge!

Data of the University of Siegen required for application:

            o    Participant Identification Code (PIC): 999849617
            o    Legal Name: UNIVERSITAET SIEGEN
            o    Short Name: USIEGEN (use in applications where possible)

In the INSPIRE EU Portal (under construction), further helpful documents and tools are provided internally.

  • The Participant Portal (PP) of the EU is the central online access for HORIZON 2020. All necessary information is provided, calls for proposals are published, applications are filed and projects are managed here.
  • Current, future and already finished calls for proposals
  • Search Topics enables a keyword search in current, future and finished calls for proposals
  • The Online Manual answers questions about the application process, evaluation and project management
  • Numerous documents are provided in Reference Documents. Of special importance is the so-called Annotated Model Grant Agreement, which provides and comments on all necessary financial regulations in addition to the contents of a grant agreement with the EU. Proposal-specific documents can be found in the actual calls for proposal.
  • Glossary of the most important terms in HORIZON 2020