Horizon 2020

Running from 2014 to 2020 with a budget of some 80 billion euros, Horizon 2020 houses all of the European Commission’s research and innovation-related funding programs under one roof.

Horizon 2020 combines and concentrates the European community’s efforts in the areas of research, technology and innovation in order to find solutions for the major challenges facing society today. By coupling research and innovation, the aim is to cover the entire innovation cycle, from fundamental research to practical research to marketability.

Research and innovation along the entire value chain is funded, from the research stage to market launch.

Horizon 2020 is based on the following three strategic priorities:

Excellent Science

  • European Research Council (ERC): grants for excellent rising and established scientists (individual funding)
  • Future and Emerging Technologies (FET): three funding schemes for research associations to develop novel ideas
  • Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions: facilitating mobility among young scientists
  • Research infrastructures: Linking existing research infrastructures/establishing research facilities and systems that are of pan-European interest

Promoting basic and industrial technologies, including key technologies (industrial leadership)

  • Funding for research and innovation in areas of particular relevance to industrial competitiveness (Information and communication technologies, nanotechnology, modern materials, biotechnology, modern production techniques and space exploration)
  • Targeted funding of small and medium-sized enterprises
  • Risk financing

Societal challenges

  • Health, demographic change and welfare
  • Nutritional and food safety, sustainable agriculture and forest management, marine, maritime and limnological research
  • Safe, clean and efficient energy
  • Intelligent, environmentally friendly and integrated transport
  • Climate protection, resource efficiency and raw materials
  • Europe in a changing world: integrative, innovative and reflective societies
  • Secure societies: protecting the freedom and security of Europe and its citizens

Horizon 2020 also focuses on:

  • spreading excellence and widening participation for concerted efforts in pursuit of cohesion policy objectives
  • Science with and for society as a continuation of the 7th EU research framework program, “Science in Society,” including increasing scientific acceptance
  • the European Institute for Innovation and Technology (EIT), which unites the knowledge triangle (academic education, research and innovation)
  • the Joint Research Centre’s non-nuclear, direct activities

Official website of the European Commission on Horizon 2020:


Horizon 2020 on the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) website:


Experts wanted

Proposals are evaluated as part a peer review system, which is why the European Commission is looking for experts in a range of different subjects, including the energy sector. Industry experts, experts from the scientific field and even experts on energy technology users are needed. The comprehensive coverage of the entire innovation chain under Horizon 2020 is setting new priorities and therefore requires new experts with specific expertise.

Working as an evaluator is a paid position, but is also one that provides special insights into selection processes at the European level. This is an advantage many evaluators value should they decide they are interested in getting involved in the Commission’s call for proposals as an applicant in future.

More information is available through the European Commission Participant Portal.