The National Research, Development and Innovation Office will inform applicants about the new calls of the European Commission’s funding programme in various events. Horizon 2020, the EU’s research and innovation funding programme, supports scientific excellence in Europe. According to the European Commission’s press release published on 27 October 2017, over the next 3 years the Commission will seek greater scientific, economic and social impact of its research funding and will focus on supporting breakthrough, marketable and market-creating innovation.
The press release emphasises that the EUR 30 billion to be announced over the next three years (2018–2020) in directly accessible Horizon 2020 calls will be spent on fewer research and innovation areas, but this more targeted funding is expected to exert a greater social impact. The key focus areas (directly promoting the Commission priorities) are the following:
- A low-carbon, climate resilient future: EUR 3.3 billion
- Circular Economy: EUR 1 billion
- Digitising and transforming European industry and services: EUR 1.7 billion
- Security Union: EUR 1 billion
- Migration: EUR 200 million
Between 2018 and 2020, the Commission will mobilise EUR 2.7 billion from Horizon 2020 to support high-risk, high-gain innovation.
The SME Instrument, which supports small and medium enterprises from the feasible innovative idea to the market, having a total budget of EUR 1.6 billion, will also be announced by the European Innovation Council. Hungarian SMEs have so far garnered more than EUR 20 million in this call, and in the second stage of the call Hungary has been ranked first among the EU13 and even outperformed some of the EU15 countries (Austria, Belgium, Greece and Luxemburg).
The H2020 programme continues to direct special attention to discovery research which is also one of the strengths of Hungary in certain research fields. Based on its performance in European Research Council (ERC) calls, Hungary tops the EU13 countries with 24 funded projects and a total funding amount of EUR 37.7 million. The annual Work Programme of the ERC for 2018, adopted in August, will enable support for excellent researchers with nearly EUR 1.86 billion. Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions, which fund fellowships for researchers at all stages of their careers, receive a boost with EUR 2.9 billion in total in the period between 2018 and 2020.
Between 2018 and 2020, EUR 460 million under the “Horizon 2020 Spreading Excellence” sub-programme will be allocated specifically to supporting Member States (including Hungary) and associated countries that do not yet participate in the programme to their full potential. Hungary has performed outstandingly in the Teaming action of this programme in the previous period: in phase 2 of the Teaming action 2 out of the 10 funded projects were Hungarian, which is an unprecedented success.
A remarkable EUR 2.2 billion will be earmarked for clean energy projects in the following areas: renewables, energy efficient buildings, electro-mobility and storage solutions, including EUR 200 million to support the development and production in Europe of the next generation of electric batteries. Another novelty in the upcoming H2020 period is the introduction of the lump sum pilot, a new, simpler approach to providing financial support to participants. This type of funding will be open to consortia in two calls in the fields of health and innovative production.
The successful participation of Hungarian applicants in H2020 calls are assisted by the National Contact Points (NCP) of the National Research, Development and Innovation Office. NCPs are primarily responsible for providing free high-quality professional assistance to potential applicants in relation to the specific H2020 sub-programmes through the dissemination of information, consultation relating to the application process, and providing help in finding project partners, contracting and project management.
The NRDI Office organises information events about the new calls of the 2018-2020 work programme, as detailed in the NRDI Office’s calendar for H2020 programmes. In November information events will be dedicated to the topics of agricultural economy, environmental protection (10 Nov.), transport (27 Nov.) and the Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions (22 Nov.). These events not only provide information on the current calls of the new work programmes but they also function as forums where successful applicants and evaluators share their experience with the audience.
As of October 2017, Horizon 2020 has in total funded more than 15,000 grants to the tune of EUR 26.65 billion, of which almost EUR 3.79 billion went to SMEs. The programme has also provided companies, in particular SMEs, with access to risk finance worth over EUR 17 million under the “InnovFin - EU finance for innovators” scheme.
The new work programmes and further information are available here:
Horizon 2020 Framework Programme