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The European Commission has presented its first calls for projects under Horizon 2020, the European Union’s €80 billion research and innovation programme. Worth more than €15 billion over the first two years, the funding is intended to help boostEurope’s knowledge-driven economy, and tackle issues that will make a difference in people’s lives. This includes 12 areas that will be a focus for action in 2014/2015, including topics such as personalised healthcare, digital security and smart cities.
Most calls from the 2014 budget are already open for submissions, with more to follow over the course of the year. Calls in the 2014 budget alone are worth around €7.8 billion, with funding focused on the three key pillars of Horizon 2020:
The 2014-15 calls include €500 million over two years dedicated to innovative small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) through a brand new SME Instrument. Gender aspects are expected to be included in many of the projects, and there is funding to further stimulate debate on science’s role within society. There are also new rules to make ‘open access’ a requirement for Horizon 2020, so that publications of project results are freely accessible to all.
The funding opportunities under Horizon 2020 are set out in work programmes published on the EU’s digital portal for research funding, which has been redesigned for quicker, paperless procedures. Participants will also find simpler programme architecture and funding, a single set of rules, and a reduced burden from financial controls and audits.