H2020 is the chief financial assistance for research and innovation in Europe and aims to provide support for problems often faced by many early-stage R&D developments. Running from 2014 to 2020, with a proposed budget of €80 billion (46% higher than that of FP7), the project aims to encourage growth and employment across the whole of the European continent.
As well as offering significantly higher funds than FP7, H2020 also intends to operate a simpler process via a set of comprehensive rules. The aim is to combine the research and innovation funding currently on offer through the Framework Programmes for Research and Technical Development and the innovation-related activities of the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme and the European Institute of Innovation and Technology.
Split into three main outcomes, known as the ‘pillars’ of R&D support, the aims of H2020 are:
1. Excellence in Science: funding the best science via open competition. To strengthen the European Union’s position in science, H2020 offers a huge budget of €24 598 million to encourage top-level research, which includes an increase in funding of 77% for the European Research Council. This aims to fund projects via the European Research Council, Research Infrastructures, Future and Emerging Technologies and the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions programme.
2. Industrial Leadership: to fortify industrial leadership in innovation with €17 938 million, including major investment in key technologies, greater access to capital funds and providing additional support for SMEs.
3. Better Society: to address societal concerns widespread across the EU, H2020 will provide €31 748 million to aid societal development, i.e. climate change, sustainable transport, renewable energy affordability, food safety and the challenges of an ageing population.
There are a host of workshops, partnering sessions and consultations being held across Europe, including a number of detailed and helpful sessions run by the Enterprise Europe Network. By taking advantage of these events you can ensure you are fully prepared for the launch of Horizon 2020 in January 2014. As the final project negotiations come to a close, the European Parliament are preparing to vote on the proposed package in Autumn 2013, Strasbourg.