Horizon 2020 logo

Horizon 2020 is the European Union's new research funding mechanism for 2014-2020. H2020 replaces FP7 and has been allocated a budget of €70.2b to support research across the EU.

H2020 is composed of three pillars as shown in the table below.

The work programmes for 2016-2017 are now accepting proposals for a number of open calls, with almost €16billion promised for the next two years. There is a focus on areas such as personalised healthcare, digital security and smart cities.

There will be €3billion for Excellent Science in year one, including €1.7 billion for grants from the European Research Council for top scientists and about €800 million for Marie Skłodowska-Curie fellowships for younger researchers. Industrial Leadership projects will receive €1.57 billion, while Societal Challenges will receive over €2 billion.

The work programmes can be obtained on the Horizon 2020 webpage and the calls related to the work programmes can be found on the Participant Portal H2020 page.


Collaborations are a requirement for many Horizon2020 calls. The Horizon 2020 site contains advice on finding appropriate partners. National Contact Points (NCPs) can also support in networking and finding suitable collabortors. Find NCPs for the UK.

Faculty of Engineering research strategy office

The Faculty of Engineering research strategy office offers advice for Horizon 2020 funding. Contact:

Dr Alex Berry
Research Facilitator
Tel: +44(0)20 7594 1184

Imperial College EU research office

Imperial College Research Office offers support for Horizon 2020 funding. The contacts in this office are:

All ERC applicants and those leading consortium bids should discuss their submissions with Carole or Margaret in the EU office.

Please be aware that you need a formal agreement from your Head of Department before proceeding.

Programme management office (PMO)

Please contact the Programme management office (PMO) if you are planning to coordinate a H2020 project proposal. The PMO team can support you with the pre-award proposal preparations, during the negotiation phase with the European Commission and with the post-award management of the project. Contact:

Horizon 2020 - definition of action types

Horizon 2020 calls can have different types of actions or funding schemes. The type of action specifies the scope of what is funded and the reimbursement rate.

Showcase area

Research and innovation actions

Funding for research projects tackling clearly defined challenges, which can lead to the development of new knowledge or a new technology.

Who? Consortia of partners from different countries, industry and academia.

Funding rate: 100% of eligible costs.

Innovation actions

Funding is more focused on closer-to-the-market activities. For example, prototyping, testing, demonstrating, piloting, scaling-up etc. if they aim at producing new or improved products or services.

Who? Consortia of partners from different countries, industry and academia.

Funding rate: 70% of eligible costs (except for non-profit legal entities, where a rate of 100% applies).

Coordination and support actions

Funding covers the coordination and networking of research and innovation projects, programmes and policies. Funding for research and innovation per se is covered elsewhere.

Who? Single entities or consortia of partners from different countries, industry and academia.

Funding rate: 100% of eligible costs.

Grants of the European Research Council (ERC) to support frontier research

ERC Starting Grant - support up-and-coming research leaders who are about to establish a proper research team and to start conducting independent research in Europe. Scheme will support the creation of excellent new research teams. For researchers of any nationality with 2-7 years of experience since completion of PhD (or equivalent degree) and scientific track record showing great promise.

ERC Consolidator Grant - support researchers at the stage at which they are consolidating their own independent research team or programme. Scheme will strengthen independent and excellent new individual research teams recently created. For researchers of any nationality with 7-12 years of experience since completion of PhD (or equivalent) and scientific track record showing great promise.

ERC Advanced Grant - for exceptional established research leaders of any nationality and any age to pursue ground-breaking, high-risk projects that open new directions in their respective research fields or other domains. The ERC Advanced Grant funding targets researchers who hav e already established themselves as independent research leaders in their own right.

ERC Proof of Concept Grant - open to researchers who have already been awarded an ERC grant. ERC grant holders can apply for this additional funding to establish the innovation potential of ideas arising from their ERC-funded frontier research projects.

Funding rate: 100% of eligible costs.

SME instrument

This instrument is aimed at highly innovative SMEs with the ambition to develop their growth potential.

It offers lump sums for feasibility studies, grants for an innovation project’s main phase (demonstration, prototyping, testing, application development, etc.), and the commercialisation phase is supported indirectly through facilitated access to debt and equity financial instruments.

Who? Only SMEs can participate. Either a single SME or a consortium of SMEs established in an EU or Associated Country.

Fast track to innovation

Funding started in 2015 as a pilot action. Continuously open, innovator-driven calls will target innovation projects addressing any technology or societal challenge field. The pilot action will undergo an in-depth assessment half-way through Horizon 2020.

Who? Industry, including SMEs, with a minimum of 3 and maximum of 5 partners.

Funding rate: A maximum EU contribution of €3 million per project.

ERA-NET COFUND actions (EU fund other funders)

Supports public-public partnerships, including joint programming initiatives between Member States, in their preparation, establishment of networking structures, implementation of joint activities as well as Union topping-up of a trans-national call for proposals. It is based on the merger of the former ERA-NET and ERA-NET Plus actions. It allows for programme collaboration in any part of the entire research-innovation cycle.

The main and compulsory activity of the ERA-NET Cofund is the implementation of the co-funded joint call for proposals to fund trans-national research and innovation projects. The EU contribution is limited to max. 33% of the total eligible costs of the action.

Who can apply? Participants in ERA-NET Co-fund actions must be research funders: legal entities owning or managing public research and innovation programmes.

Funding rate: varies (joint funding from the EU and national governments, industry or other bodies).

Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions (MSCA)

Funding for international research fellowships in the public or private sector, research training, staff exchanges.

Who? Early stage researchers or experienced researchers (of any nationality), technical staff, national/regional research mobility programmes.

Funding rate: 100% of eligible costs

Marie Sklodowska-Curie Individual Fellowships (MSCA IF)

  • European Fellowships
  • Global Fellowships

Marie Sklodowska-Curie Innovative Training Networks (ITN)

  • European Training Networks
  • European Industrial Doctorates
  • European Joint Doctorates

Marie Sklodowska-Curie Research and Innovation Staff Exchange (RISE)

  • Research and Innovation Staff Exchange (RISE)
  • Co-funding of regional, national and international programmes (COFUND)

Pre-Commercial Procurement (PCP) actions

Enables the public sector as a technologically demanding buyer to encourage research and development of breakthrough solutions that can bring radical quality and efficiency improvements in areas of public interest.

PCP actions aim to encourage public procurement of research, development and validation of new solutions that can bring significant quality and efficiency improvements in areas of public interest, whilst opening market opportunities for industry and researchers active in Europe.

Public Procurement of Innovative Solutions (PPI) actions

Reinforces early deployment of innovative solutions that address challenges of public interest. The aim is to enable transnational groups of procurers to share the risks of acting as early adopters of innovative solutions and to overcome the fragmentation of demand for innovative solutions in Europe.

The objective of PPI actions is to enable groups of procurers to share the risks of acting as early adopters of innovative solutions, whilst opening market opportunities for industry.