More European funding opportunities on the Horizon

More European funding opportunities on the Horizon

Sofie Meerschaut Posted 07 May 2019

Horizon 2020 is the current EU framework programme supporting Research and Innovation. With nearly €80 billion of funding available over 7 years (2014 – 2020), Horizon 2020 wants to secure Europe’s global competitiveness, by supporting world-class science, removing barriers to innovation and making it easier for the public and private sector to work together in delivering innovation. To date, Belgian participants have been active in nearly 3,000 projects, taking home nearly €2 billion in funding.

So what else is on the horizon? From 2021 on, the next framework programme Horizon Europe will start, with an even bigger budget. While the EU parliament still needs to agree on the final details of this budget, it appears we can look forward to a whopping €100 billion, with at least €8 billion allocated to Health-related topics. Similar to Horizon 2020, funding rates will range between 70% to 100% of the costs. For many organisations, this makes all the difference in whether or not to undertake a challenging research and innovation project.

Sounds like a no-brainer? Before you get overly excited, some thoughts to consider.

Both Horizon 2020 and Horizon Europe can tailor to everyone’s needs. But herein also lies the complexity. Finding the right call topic for your organisation in the EU funding maze, getting your project selected and bringing it to a successful end will surely test your determination.

To name but a few challenges:

  • No need to hide it, overall success rates are notoriously low. In the Health calls no more than 9% of the proposals receive funding and in the SME instrument success rates are even lower.
  • Both framework programmes can cover everything from fundamental science to close-to-market innovation activities. However, the type of activities eligible for funding varies greatly from topic to topic, so you need to be able to read between the lines to understand what exactly the EU is after.
  • Funding is open to every organisation: universities, research organisations, large companies, SMEs. Just not every call… and not at the same funding percentages… or under the same conditions.
  • EU funding is no free money. It comes with complicated reporting requirements, considerable obligations in terms of communication and results dissemination and particularly for collaborative projects can also be quite complicated in terms of intellectual property protection.
  • Some calls have minimum requirements on the number of participants or the composition of the consortium, while in others you are completely free to choose your partners.
  • Following the Brexit referendum, the position of the UK in Horizon 2020 is unclear. And for Horizon Europe, negotiations haven’t even begun yet.

Embarking on an EU funded project surely has its benefits, the high funding percentages being the most obvious one. But it is worthwhile to do your research, know what you are getting yourself into and weigh up the pros and cons.

At Modis we know it is not easy to navigate the world of grant schemes for life sciences and biotech organisations. Our team of Grant and Innovation consultants has been involved in dozens of EU, Flemish and US grants. This broad knowledge lets us help you find the best opportunities and assist in proposal writing, reporting and project management. Come and talk to us at knowledge for growth on May 9th, 2019 or contact us for more information!

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