Then, you can start looking for a suitable call depending on your research area and type of actions.

Societal Challenges

The Horizon 2020 Societal Challenges Programme reflects the policy priorities of the Europe 2020 strategy and addresses major concerns shared by people across Europe and beyond. This challenge-based approach brings together resources and knowledge across different fields, technologies and disciplines, including social sciences and the humanities.

The Societal Challenges Programme:

  • Covers activities from research to market with a new focus on innovation-related activities, such as pilots, demonstrations and test beds.
  • Includes support for public procurement and market uptake.
  • Helps to establish links with the activities of the European Innovation Partnerships (EIP).

This programme covers the following fields:

  1. Health, demographic change and wellbeing;
  2. Food security, sustainable agriculture and forestry, marine and maritime and inland water research, and the Bioeconomy;
  3. Secure, clean and efficient energy;
  4. Smart, green and integrated transport;
  5. Climate action, environment, resource efficiency and raw materials;
  6. Europe in a changing world – inclusive, innovative and reflective societies;
  7. Secure societies – protecting freedom and security of Europe and its citizens.

Industrial Leadership

This part of Horizon 2020 covers the programmes focussing on industrial and commercial sectors, it aims to accelerate the development of technologies and innovations that will underpin tomorrow’s businesses and help innovative European SMEs to become major players on the world.

It covers the following fields:

  1. Information and Communication Technologies;
  2. Nanotechnologies, Advanced Materials, Advanced Manufacturing and Processing, and Biotechnology;
  3. Space;
  4. Access to risk finance;
  5. Innovation in SMEs.

Future and Emerging Technologies (FET)

FET actions, as part of Excellent Science under Horizon 2020, are expected to initiate radically new lines of technology through unexplored collaborations between advanced multidisciplinary science and cutting-edge engineering.

The FET programme has three complementary lines of action to address different methodologies and scales, from new ideas to long-term challenges:


1. FET Open

FET Open funds projects on new ideas for radically new future technologies, at an early stage when there are few researchers working on a project topic. This can involve a wide range of new technological possibilities, inspired by cutting-edge science, unconventional collaborations or new research and innovation practices.


2. FET Proactive

FET Proactive nurtures emerging themes, seeking to establish a critical mass of European researchers in a number of promising exploratory research topics. This supports areas that are not yet ready for inclusion in industry research roadmaps, with the aim of building up and structuring new interdisciplinary research communities.


3. FET Flagships

FET Flagships are 1-billion, 10-years initiatives where hundreds of excellent European researchers unite forces to focus on solving an ambitious scientific and technological challenge, like understanding the Human Brain or developing the new materials of the future, such as Graphene.

Fast Track to Innovation (FTI)

The Fast Track to Innovation (FTI) pilot provides funding for bottom-up proposals for close-to-market innovation activities in any area of technology or application.

It offers the possibility for all kinds of innovation actors to work together and deliver innovation onto the market and/or into society. So it should nurture trans-disciplinary and cross-sectoral cooperation.

The aim is to reduce time from idea to market, stimulate the participation of first-time applicants to EU research funding, and increase private sector investment in research and innovation.

Actions funded under the FTI pilot are to be ‘business-driven’ because they are intended to give promising innovation ideas the last push before entering the market. Therefore, substantial industry involvement in FTI actions will be mandatory to ensure quick market take-up.

The FTI Pilot is implemented across the Horizon 2020 priority “Societal Challenges” and the specific objective “Leadership in Enabling and Industrial Technologies (LEITs)”, without further topical restrictions. The pilot is implemented through one common and continuously open call, meaning that proposals can be submitted at any time. Proposals are evaluated and ranked and funding decisions taken after three cut-off dates each year.

More information about this pilot will be found on this Evaluators’ briefing for FTI video.

Types of action

  1. Reasearch and Innovation Action (RIA)
  2. Innovation Action (IA)
  3. Coordination and Support Action (CSA)
  4. Fast Track to Innovation
  5. ERA-NET
  6. Pre-Commercial Procurement
  7. Public Procurement of Innovative Solution

Find out more information about types of action: