Horizon 2020 – Objectives & Agencies

Objectives & Agencies

Horizon 2020 is the eighth framework programme that is funding technological development, innovation and research. The name of the programme has been changed to Framework Programme for Research and Innovation.

This programme ran from 2014 to 2020 and provided an estimated 80 billion euros worth of funding, increasing 23% from the previous phase. Horizon 2020 provides research and innovation project grants with the help of open competitive calls for proposals. Any country’s legal entities are eligible to submit project proposals to these calls.

Participation both from outside and within the European Union is actively, even explicitly, encouraged. European Union member states’ participants associated with Horizon 2020 are automatically funded. The Horizon 2020 programme supports open access to research results as well. In the case of registration of patents in joint projects from within Horizon 2020, members of the network possess equal rights to them. All these activities are overseen and regulated by international law. Horizon Europe will be the successor to Horizon 2020. Projects like the European Processor Initiative benefited greatly from the Horizon 2020.

Objective And Pillars

The programme consists of three main areas of research which are known as pillars.

● Excellent Science is the first pillar, and it focuses on basic science. It has a budget of €24 billion.
● Industrial Leadership is the second pillar, with a budget of €14 billion. Managed by DG Enterprise, it is based on Innovation Union strategies and Europe 2020. Industrial Leadership aims to find ways to modernize those industries that have suffered because of a fragmented European market.
● Societal Challenges is the third pillar, funding potential solutions to social and economic problems. This pillar is to implement solutions to lessen technology development.


The structure follows the previous FP7 from 2007–13 to the sub-programmes’ level under the pillars.
Horizon 2020 also implements the European environmental research and innovation policy, aimed at defining and turning into reality a transformative agenda for greening the economy and the society as a whole so as to achieve genuinely sustainable development.


The Framework Programme is implemented by the executive body of the European Union, the European Commission. However, the various agencies that are also included in this implementation include
● Directorate-Generals (DGs)
● Directorate-General for Research and Innovation
● Directorate-General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology
● Executive Agencies
● Research Executive Agency (REA)
● Executive Agency for SMEs (EASME)
● ERC Executive Agency (ERCEA)

Associated Countries

A lot of countries signed an association agreement to be included in the Framework Programme. So far 14 countries are associated with Horizon 2020. European Union member states and countries’ participants related to Horizon 2020 are automatically funded. Switzerland is considered partly associated because of the country’s 2014 referendums, allowing free movement of workers between Switzerland and the EU. Several Swiss organizations are active participants in Horizon 2020, however, and their participation is sometimes covered by national funding.


The Framework Programme has helped several countries work with the EU in bringing about technological innovations. With further support, they can continue to do so.

Horizon 2020 – Objectives & Agencies

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