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Research funding


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The European Commission continues to reinforce its research ambitions. Through research and innovation, the Commission wants to continue stimulating growth and employment in Europe. Horizon 2020 is the new European programme which combines European research and innovation funding. This includes possibilities to conduct base research, mobility, career development and cooperation between the industry and the academic world. Horizon 2020 is the successor of the seventh framework programme for research and technological development (FP7) and has a duration from 2014 to 2020. The envisaged budget is 74,5 billion Euro. 

Horizon 2020 is structured in accordance with the three pillars below: ‘Excellent Science’, ‘Industrial Leadership’ and ‘Societal Challenges’, under which different programmes and calls for funding exist.



Within the framework 'Excellent Science' Europe wants to invest in top notch research. A solid base of world-class research should ensure European competitiveness in the long term.  The four programmes (and associated calls) in this pillar should attract talented researchers and grant access to the available research infrastructure. The programmes are open to all research domains and are accessible to individual researchers or research teams.

- European Research Council (ERC)
- Marie Sklodowska Curie Actions (MSCA)
- Future and Emerging Technologies (FET)
- European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI)

More about the pillar 'Excellent Science' can also be found on the website of the European Commission.


Europe needs to stay an attractive place to keep investing in research and innovation. 'Industrial Leadership is aimed at industry and innovation and offers many possibilities for applied research. With this pillar, Europe invests in important industrial technologies (Key Enabling Technologies (KET’s)) and thereby wants increase the participation of European companies in research and innovation.
Europe defined the 6 technologies below as Key Enabling Technologies:

- Nanotechnology
- Advanced materials
- Biotechnology
- Advanced Manufacturing and processing
- Micro- and nanoelectronics
- photonics

More about the pillar 'Industrial Leadership' can also be found on the website of the European Commission.



The European Commission wants to tackle societal challenges and offer solutions to those problems that Europe is confronted with today. The pillar 'Societal Challenges' pools resources and knowledge from different disciplines and various technologies and supports, in other words, multidisciplinary research and cooperation projects.
The societal challenges on which this pillar focusses are:

- Health, demographic change and wellbeing;
- Food security, sustainable agriculture, marine and maritime research, and the bio-economy;
- Secure, clean and efficient energy;
- Smart, green and integrated transport;
- Inclusive, innovative and reflective societies;
- Climate action, resource efficiency and raw materials;
- Secure societies.

More about the pillar 'Societal Challenges' can also be found on the website of the European Commission.