EU funding for innovation

An overview of Horizon 2020 programme


Horizon 2020 is Europe's biggest research and innovation programme. It provides funding for projects that:

  • are ground-breaking
  • improve European research standards
  • respond to global challenges

With almost €80 billion available over seven years (2014 - 2020), Horizon 2020 aims to help organisations bring great ideas to market and create world-class products and services.

You can continue to participate in Horizon 2020 programmes and receive EU grant funding for the lifetime of individual projects. This includes projects finishing after 1 January 2021.

Successful UK bids will continue to receive grant funding from the Commission. This includes calls that end after 1 January 2021.

A small number of UK projects involving EU-restricted information may be unable to continue in their current form. The Commission will inform the affected participants. Read more about EU Exit and Horizon 2020.

Horizon 2020 priorities

The programme focuses on the following three core themes:

  • excellent science - boosting top-level research in Europe
  • industrial leadership - providing access to finance and support for small and medium-sized enterprises (SME)
  • societal challenges - tackling major societal challenges across Europe, such as climate change, sustainable transport, renewable energy, food safety and ageing population

Find more information on Horizon 2020 core themes.

How does Horizon 2020 work?

Funding opportunities under Horizon 2020 are set out in multiannual work programmes by the European Commission (EC), and cover the large majority of support available.

Horizon 2020 is open to applications from all types of organisations, including:

  • those involved in research, technological development and innovation on an international scale
  • individual researchers
  • public bodies and third-sector organisations
  • private businesses

Opportunities to apply for funding are issued via calls for proposal publicised on the Horizon 2020 participant portal. Find out more about Horizon 2020 calls for proposal.

Types of projects suitable for Horizon 2020 support

Horizon 2020 can provide:

  • funding for research and innovation projects
  • support for attracting and supporting researchers
  • support for strengthening your international network
  • support for acquiring new knowledge and expertise

Horizon 2020 cannot support:

  • community projects or groups to carry out localised activities
  • employment creation schemes
  • small scale individual projects

Extensive guidance for potential applicants is available online via the Horizon 2020 online manual. Alternatively, watch the video below to learn more about Horizon 2020.