Home Strategy What is Horizon 2020 and how have these Projects Helped European Cities?

What is Horizon 2020 and how have these Projects Helped European Cities?

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In the coming weeks we will be bringing you a series of articles about different Horizon 2020 projects, but before we do that we thought that it would be interesting to take an overview of the program and how it is helping to drive innovation in sustainability across Europe.

Horizon 2020 is the most ambitious research and innovation program that the European Union (EU) has ever run and it is expected to lead to further breakthroughs and discoveries in sustainable development – taking great ideas from laboratories into successful market products. This instrument is endowed with more than €80,000,000,000 which will be distributed over a period of seven years (2014-2020), plus private and state public investment attracted by the long-term nature of the different projects.

Horizon 2020 has the political backing of the leaders of the EU and the members of the European Parliament. They all agree that investment in research and innovation is of prime importance for the future of Europe and should form part of the foundation of the future European strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. Horizon 2020 contributes to this goal by combining research and innovation and backing its program around three priority areas: Excellent Science, Industrial Leadership, and Challenges of Society. Its aim is to ensure that Europe produces science and technology of international stature capable of boosting economic growth.

Horizon 2020 is a program that open to all and it is governed by a series of clear rules and procedures. This makes it possible for the participants to focus their attention on what matters: research, innovation, and results. This approach allows new projects to take shape quickly and bear fruit sooner. The rules are intended to ensure a fair process, protect participants and ensure that public funds are earmarked for the appropriate purposes.

The program was created to support the implementation of the Europe 2020 strategy and the Union for Innovation flagship initiative; directly contributing to addressing the main challenges of society, create and maintain industrial leadership in Europe, as well as strengthening the excellence of the scientific basis that is essential for Europe’s long-term sustainability, prosperity and well-being.

According to the provisional results available, the Spanish entities have obtained a subsidy of 1,933.8 million Euros in the calls for tenders in the period 2014-2016. This implies a return of 9.8% EU-28 for Spain and a fourth position in the ranking of countries by grant raised, behind Germany, United Kingdom and France.

It can be said that these are excellent results, exceeding both those achieved in the whole of the 7th Framework Program (8.3% EU-28) and the ambitious targets set for the H2020 group (9.5%).

To find solutions to the challenges of society while stimulating growth and competitiveness, Europe needs to rely on a fully functional network of research excellence: the European Research Area (ERA). This unique market for knowledge, research, and innovation, developed with EU funds, promotes the free movement of researchers, their knowledge and findings across EU territory.

The ERA sets up a framework for the exchange of knowledge and ideas at European level, thus reducing the risk of duplication, i.e: different European laboratories carry out the same research at the same time, with the unnecessary expense entailed. With this coordinated approach, backed by Horizon 2020, every euro spent on research is invested strategically.

The beneficiaries of the program can be any entity: public bodies, private companies, universities, associations, etc. They are usually from the EU Member States, although other countries are also participating in a number of projects.

Keep your eyes out for the Horizon 2020 project articles that we will be showcasing over the coming days and weeks!