Partnership with EU Programme “HORIZON 2020”

Programme “HORIZON 2020”

The structure of Horizon 2020 Programme

  • Modern science

    • European Research Council (ERC)
    • The Future & Emerging Technologies (FET)
    • The Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions
    • Research Infrastructures
  • Industrial Leadership

    • Leadership in industrial technologies – ICT, Key Enabling Technologies, space
    • Access to risk finance
    • Innovations in SME
  • Societal Challenges

    • Health, demographic change and wellbeing, Food Security, Sustainable Agriculture and Forestry, Marine, Maritime and Inland Water Research and the Bioeconomy
    • Smart, Green and Integrated Transport
    • Climate Action, Environment, Resource Efficiency and Raw Materials
    • Inclusive, innovative and reflective societies
    • Secure societies

Horizon 2020 Components

    Horizon 2020 Programme has three main components:

    • Framework Programme for Research and Technical Development
    • Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme - CIP
    • European Institute of Innovation and Technologies – EIT

    Prioritized spheres for Horizon 2020 financing:

    • Information and communications technology, ICT
    • Nanotechnologies
    • Innovative materials
    • Biotechnologies

Horizon 2020 Programme focus finance on three different complementary priorities of the EU:

  • Excellent Science

    Activities under this pillar aim to reinforce and extend the excellence of the Union’s science base and to consolidate the European Research Area in order to make the Union’s research and innovation system more competitive on a global scale.

  • Industrial Leadership

    This pillar aims to speed up development of the technologies and innovations that will underpin tomorrow's businesses and help innovative European SMEs to grow into world-leading companies.

  • Societal Challenges

    Horizon 2020 reflects the policy priorities of the Europe 2020 strategy and addresses major concerns shared by citizens in Europe and elsewhere. A challenge-based approach will bring together resources and knowledge across different fields, technologies and disciplines, including social sciences and the humanities.

SME Support

The SME instrument offers Europe's brightest and boldest entrepreneurs the chance to step forward and request funding for breakthrough ideas with the potential to create entirely new markets or revolutionize existing ones. Unlike the other activities, the application procedure allows even single small or medium enterprise to apply. The support is given on three different phases which makes full innovative cycle:

  • 1 Phase 1

    Phase 1. A feasibility study (technical and commercial), including a business plan.

    Grant of 50,000 Euros + trainings

    Exploring and assessing the technical feasibility and commercial potential of a breakthrough innovation that a company wants to exploit and commercialize. Activities funded could be: risk assessment, design or market studies, intellectual property exploration; the ultimate goal is to put a new product, service or process in the market, possibly through an innovative application of existing technologies, methodologies, or business processes. The project should be aligned to the business strategy, helping internal growth or targeting a transnational business opportunity. Duration of this phase typically around 6 months:

    • Exploring and assessing the technical feasibility
    • Risk calculation
    • Design development
    • Development of pilot use

    Assessment of the feasibility of the realization:

    • Find partners.
    • Intellectual property regime;
    • Risk assessment;
    • Assessment of the feasibility of the concept.


    • 2 evaluators
    • 4 weeks
    • Result: approved/not approved, without the feedback
    • Time till grant: 8-12 weeks
  • 2 Phase 2

    Phase 2. Innovative project – from concept to prototype

    Grant of 1-3 million Euros (covering up to 70% of eligible costs) + trainings

    Grant of 1-3 million Euros (covering up to 70% of eligible costs) + trainings

    Funding is available for innovation projects underpinned by a sound and strategic business plan (potentially elaborated and partially funded through phase 1 of the SME Instrument). In exceptional cases, funding might be available for projects which are more research-oriented than innovative. This must be indicated in the relevant contest theme. Demonstration of the commercial potential of the prototype (1-2 years)

    • Development, prototype, testing
    • A new idea (product, process, service) that may be launched on the market
    • The strategy of commercialization
    • Pilot use
    • Scaling
    • Development of the programme


    • 3 evaluators
    • 4 weeks
    • Result: unanimous decision, feedback provided
    • time till grant: maximum 150 days
    • It is possible to start the mechanism from Phase 2
  • 3 Phase 3

    Phase 3. Commercialization – from prototype to entering the market

    Risk finance (private/state)

    Risk finance (private/state)

    Support for investment readiness, assistance with access to risk financing and clients, as well as services of the Enterprise Europe Network (EEN). will help business commercialization of innovations in Phase 2.

    • Access to private finance
    • Network support, training, dissemination of results

    Access to the market

    1. EU quality mark
    2. Window for SME in financial institutions of the EU (EIB/ EIF).
    3. Investment readiness training

    European Investment Bank (EIB) and European Investment Fund (EIF) have significant role in the implementation of each financial instrument on behalf of the European Commission or in cooperation with the European Commission. For the European Investment Fund it includes the announcement of tenders for the selection of financial intermediaries, such as banks or other funds that provide SME loans or invest in their activities. The European Investment Bank provides loans directly, using financial intermediaries to support medium and large enterprises. Negotiations took the place with other financial institutions of this kind, so it is possible that in the future they will join the European Investment Bank and the European Investment Fund. The European Investment Bank and the Directorate-General for Research and Innovation established loan platform “Six simple steps to loan financing” for the easier access to information about European financial decisions for innovative projects. More details:

You must be in charge of successful innovations, if…

  • You represent single SME or the consortium of SMEs
  • You have extremely innovative idea valuable for the EU market
  • You wish your business grow at European and other markets

…but you still need support on your way to the market, such as…

  • Funds for the transformation of your idea into innovative product, service or model which works?
  • Strategy, skills or competences for the successful export of your innovation?
  • Widening of your innovative activities on the European level which may help you to get the access to the new market and financial opportunities?

Terms of participation in Horizon 2020 Programme

To apply you have to meet following minimum conditions.

  • at least 3 legal entities (established in the EU Member State or associated country) must participate in your project;
  • each of such legal entities must be established in different EU Member state or associated countries;
  • all three legal entities must be independent from each other;
  • The following legal entities have the right to apply for EU funds:
  • legal entities established in the EU Member state or associated country;
  • international organizations in which the EU participates;
  • legal entities established in third countries, determined in working programme.

Ho to join Horizon 2020 Programme

  • 01

    Find a call

  • 02

    Find partners

  • 03

    Create your account

  • 04

    Register your organization

  • 05

    Submit a proposal

More information available on Participant Portal

Prospect participant must:
  • Register on Participant Portal;
  • In the section “My area” you need to submit all necessary information about yourself, your organization and the topic of your research study.
  • legal entity must complete the procedure for obtaining an identification number (PIC code) and appoint a legal representative (LEAR) who will sign the grant agreement and will select individuals for the electronic signature of legal and financial reports.
  • Obtaining an identification number

    The procedure for obtaining PIC may be completed on the web-site of Participant Portal in section “How to participate – Beneficiary register”. As a result the organization will obtain unique nine-digit number which will be used to submit project proposals for any contact with the European Commission. In case of loss of your number you may renew it if you use button “Search” in section “Beneficiary Register”.

  • Registration of legal representative  (LEAR)

    For the registration of LEAR you need to fill all the relevant documents, sign them and put the seal of the organization. You may find these documents on Participant Portal in section “How to participate – Н2020 Online Manual”, “LEAR appointment”. All the necessary documents needed to be sent to the address of the European Commission: European Commission, Research Executive Agency, H2020 Support (Al), C0V2 13/132, B-1049 Brussels, Belgium.

Find a partner

The network of contact centers of Horizon 2020 on the National Portal “Horizon 2020”

The network of contact centers of Horizon 2020 on the National Portal “Horizon 2020”

  • NCC network
  • RCC network

Useful information

Successful foreign examples of the access to financing

The National Contact Centre on access to financing

The National Information Centre on cooperation with the EU in science and technologies

Look over the last news on Horizon 2020