Horizon 2020

What is the scheme?

Horizon 2020 is the European Union’s Framework Program for Research and Innovation. The program runs from 2014 to 2020 with a € 70 billion budget, aiming to stimulate European innovation and research.

Participation in Horizon 2020 is not easy, but offers great opportunities for excelling SMEs.

  • finance your innovative project;
  • strengthen your international network;
  • attracting and retaining researchers;
  • the acquisition of new knowledge and expertise.

Horizon 2020 and SMEs

All knowledge institutes and companies which are actively involved in international research, technological development and innovation can participate in Horizon 2020.

Among companies, there is a specific focus on SMEs with up to 250 employees, up to € 50 million turnover and / or with a balance sheet up to € 43 million. What are the most important terms and conditions?

  • A cooperation needs to be formed, usually by 3 independent companies from 3 different countries.
  • Each project participant must have an equal contribution to the project.
  • The project starts after the grant is awarded.
  • You can participate on a Call for Proposals to which your company subscribes.


Horizon 2020 is an umbrella program. From 2014 open calls are regulary presented on Cordis.

Do you want to know how your company can benefit from Horizon 2020 programs? Contact RTE Adviesgroep now for more information.

Horizon 2020: three pillar structure

Horizon 2020 has three main priorities; industrial leadership, excellent science and societal challenges.

Industrial leadership
Stimulating strategic investment in key industrial technologies and promoting Europe as a world leader in groundbreaking research and innovation. Horizon 2020 has a focus on the following areas:

  • ICT;
  • nanotechnology;
  • modern materials;
  • biotechnology and production technologies.

Excellent science
Reinforcement and extension of European excellence in science through specific components, such as:

  • excellent, groundbreaking research;
  • cooperation in promising new breakthrough areas;
  • promoting training and mobility of researchers;
  • enhancement of quality and accessibility of research infrastructures.

Societal challenges
Tackling societal challenges by interdisciplinary cooperation. Challenges include:

  • health, demographic change and wellbeing;
  • food security, sustainable agriculture and forestry, marine and maritime and inland water research, and the Bioeconomy;
  • 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 societies;
  • secure societies - protecting freedom and security of Europe and its citizens.