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European funding

The European Research Area (ERA) is composed of all research and innovation activities, programmes and policies in Europe which involve a transnational perspective.

The Framework Programme contributes to the further development of ERA and its initiatives. Horizon 2020, the EU’s eighth Framework Programme for funding research and innovation, runs from 2014 to 2020 and has a total budget of just over €70 billion. Horizon 2020 is a funding programme for all types of actors involved in research and innovation and contains a number of different schemes and mechanisms. It is based on a structure of three pillars: Excellent Science; Industrial Leadership; and Societal Challenges.

Horizon 2020 brings together activities funded under the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7), which ran from 2007 to 2013 with a total budget of over €50 billion, with some aspects of the Competitiveness and Innovation Programme and the European Institute of Innovation and Technology.

Further information about Horizon 2020 and current calls can be found on the European Commission Research Participant Portal where comprehensive information about EU research can be found.

Research Councils also participate in a number of ERA-NET and ERA-NET+ programmes. This type of mechanism was introduced as part of FP6 and aims to fosters collaborative working among national or regional agencies and research programmes.

There are many other funding programmes outside the Framework Programme. One significant programme, which focuses on education and vocational training schemes, as well as sport, is the Erasmus+ programme. Erasmus+ runs alongside Horizon 2020, with a budget of approximately €14.7 billion. Erasmus+ replaces the Lifelong Learning Programme, Youth in Action, Erasmus Mundus, ALFA III, TEMPUS EDULINK in one over-arching programme.

The reformed cohesion policy is intended to ensure more synergies with research and innovation funding under Horizon 2020.

The Research Councils are members of Science Europe, which is an association of European Research Funding Organisations (RFO) and Research Performing Organisations (RPO), based in Brussels. Science Europe promotes the collective interests of its Member Organisations and supports them in their efforts to foster European research. 

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