The Funding landscape for research and innovation in europe is mainly dominated by the European Commission's framework "Horizon Europe", that runs from 2021-2027.
The programme facilitates collaboration and strengthens the impact of research and innovation in developing, supporting and implementing EU policies while tackling global challenges. It supports creating and better dispersing of excellent knowledge and technologies. Horizon Europe tackles climate change, helps to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and boosts the EU’s competitiveness and growth. It creates jobs, fully engages the EU’s talent pool, boosts economic growth, promotes industrial competitiveness and optimises investment impact within a strengthened European Research Area. The presentation and overview outlining Horizon Europe can be found in the link below (available in 23 languages).
Horizon Europe research framework
The content of Work Programmes for Horizon Europe is prepared by strategic planning and the resultant Strategic Plan. Funding opportunities under Horizon Europe are set out in Work Programmes. Horizon Europe incorporates research and innovation missions to increase the effectiveness of funding by pursuing clearly defined targets.
Horizon Europe has different call topics across the different Work Programmes devided in 3 pillars that aim at:
- Pillar 1: Stimulating high-risk/high impact tech developments and excellent science. This is mainly done through the personal grants in ERC (single partner, TRL 1-2), Marie-Curie actions (MSCA) (single-partner (Postdoctoral Fellowships) to medium multi-partner projects (Training Networks) at TRL 2-3), and Research Infrastructures (RI, TRL 1).
- Pillar 2: Finding solutions for global challenges through the six Clusters, as well as through the Missions. This pillar publishes most of the calls for the research consortia. The calls will require medium to large multi-partner projects and TRL levels generally range from 3 to 6.
- Pillar 3: Technology / industry-driven developments and industrial leadership in the pillar Innovative Europe. This provides funding for projects at higher TRL levels (TRL 5-8). Project sizes range from single partner to medium multi-partner projects and funding schemes are for example EIT, Innovative Ecosystems and EIC accelerator.
- Finally, at TRL 8-9 there is funding from Structural funds, Social Funds, InvestEU, etc, for projects of any size.
General rules and features of Horizon Europe (consortium)
FINDING INFORMATION ON THE CALLS
All information on the Work Programmes and specific Calls – both for consortia and individual grants - can be found on the EU Funding & Tenders portal. The Work Programmes contain the texts with all the details on each call. Templates for proposals and budget calculations can also be found there. The Funding & Tenders portal also allows to search for open and upcoming calls.
Size of the consortium
Consortia must have at least 3 participants from at least 3 member states or associated countries. Legal entities from the EU and associated countries can participate. Details on eligible countries can be found in the Work Programme Call Topics and in this document.
Type of actions (RIA, IA, CSA)
Calls always specify what types of action can be funded. There are three main types of actions:
- Research and Innovation actions (RIA): are typically for lower TRL and involve more ‘basic research’. Projects often last 4-5 years.
- Innovation Actions (IA): these are for projects at higher TRL levels, where products or technologies are almost ready to be demonstrated in the real environment. Innovation Actions typically last 3 years, after which you should have demonstrated it in the real environment.
- Coordination and Support Actions (CSA): these are not for research, but rather to set up networks, create roadmaps, policy documents etc.
Technology Readiness Levels (TRL) indicate how close a product or technology is to market uptake and actual use. Funding calls typically specify what TRL they require to be reached after the funding period. Most research at universities involves lower TRLs, whereas higher TRLs are often created by private companies, although this is not a strict separation.
Participating in a consortium or coordination a consortium
Participating in a consortium to obtain EU funding for your research and is encouraged by the UT. To find a consortium, it is usually best to use your network. Connect to fellow researchers and start early on (as soon as the Work Program is published). As UT we have a subscription to the platform Crowdhelix which anables researchers to find consortium partners. Funding opportunities can be found on the Funding & Tenders Portal of the EC and in databases such as RESEARCHconnect.
Coordinating a consortium is more prestigious, but it also requires sufficient experience. It involves writing and coordinating a 50-70 page proposal and extensive commitment. Therefore, we advise to coordinate only after you have participated in several consortia. Furthermore, the larger the consortium, the harder it is to manage. If you are considering coordinating a consortium, contact your faculty and the SBD-Grants Office so that we may support you in the best possible way.
What can be funded?
What can be funded typically depends on the call and the type of action. Costs need to be specified in detail. The EC is currently piloting with lumpsum funding. The primary applicant (coordinator) of a project can hire capacity for project management at the SBD Project Management Office for the administrative part of the project. The project manager supports the project lead in all aspects of project management (communication, meetings, workshops, etc.). The associated costs can be included in the project grant.