The most important programme for funding Research and Innovation in Europe is ready to go. The initial doubts about the kick-off of Horizon 2020 are now solved, as everything indicates that January 2014 will see the launch of its first calls. The H2020 programme will run from 2014-2020 and counts with a provisional budget of €70 billion for a seven-year period.
But how will H2020 differ from its predecessor, the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7)? Firstly, H2020 brings together three initiatives that were separate in the past, i.e. the FP7 itself, the Competitiveness and Innovation Programme (CIP) and EU’s contribution to the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT). In addition, the H2020 will put greater emphasis on innovation and supporting close-to-market activities, which reflects in the creation of a wide range of actions addressing these objectives.
Finally, there will be simplified rules for participation, with the promise of reduced bureaucracy and shortened times to grant. Similar attempts were made in the transition from FP6 to FP7 -with limited impact, to be honest-, so we will have to wait in order to assess the real effectiveness of this new set of measures.
With respect to its structure, the H2020 is built around three main pillars: i) Excellent science, which covers the existing ERC, FET, Research Infrastructures, and Marie Curie programs; ii) Leadership in enabling and industrial technologies, supporting the development of technologies that underpin innovation across a range of sectors; and iii) Tackling societal challenges, which specifically addresses major concerns shared by European citizens through dedicated instruments. Pillars one and three will each account for some 37% of the overall budget, while the second one is expected to receive some 22%.
With major financial and administrative issues settled, several work programme drafts already circulating and a good number of infodays planned in the coming months, the European research community will restart engines after the summer. Autumn will see the beginning of a frenetic activity, with European organizations working on the materialization of their H2020 strategy and the birth of the first project proposals and consortia.
The UPC BarcelonaTech Technology Center (CIT UPC) is fully engaged into this process. May you be interested in mutual cooperation, do not hesitate to contact us. See you in H2020!