Horizon Europe is the EU’s ninth Research and Innovation Programme, running from 2021 to 2027.
Horizon Europe is organised into three pillars - 1) Excellent Science, 2) Global Challenges and European Industrial Competitiveness, and 3) Innovative Europe. There is also a fourth component, on widening participation and strengthening the European Research Area, which cuts across the entire programme.
Each area of Horizon Europe publishes annual or bi-annual work programmes listing all upcoming calls. The SLU Grants Office usually receives drafts of upcoming work programmes (only accessible to SLU staff), and there may be opportunities for you to provide comments. If you would be interested in doing so, please contact the Grants Office (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Types of funding
Pillar I – Excellent Science
Pillar I supports frontier research and breakthrough scientific ideas, teams up the best researchers from Europe and beyond, and equips them with skills and world-class research infrastructures.
- The European Research Council (ERC)
Focus: flexible, long-term funding for pioneering research in Europe. There are three annual calls based on the academic age of the applicant - Starting Grant, Consolidator Grant and Advanced Grant. There is also a Synergy Grant, where 2 to 4 researchers can collaborate on a single project.
- Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA)
Focus: all fields, from basic to applied research, supporting the mobility of researchers across national borders, sectors and disciplines. There are four main annual calls - Postdoctoral Fellowships, Doctoral Networks, Co-fund (of PhD or Postdoc programmes), and Staff Exchange.
- Research Infrastructure
Focus: to support the development, upgrading, and consolidation of excellent pan-European research infrastructures while optimising their use to address major scientific and societal challenges.
Pillar II – Global Challenges and European Industrial Competitiveness
Pillar II encourages cross-disciplinary, cross-sectoral, cross-policy and cross-border collaboration in pursuit of the Sustainable Development Goals by following the principles of the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, and the competitiveness of the EU’s industries.
The areas within Pillar II are:
- Cluster 1 - Health
Focus: to promote knowledge, build capacity, design, develop and demonstrate innovative solutions to improve human health and wellbeing, as well as develop health care systems.
- Cluster 2 - Culture, creativity and inclusive society
Focus: social, economic, technological and cultural transformations towards healthier democracies where cultural values are protected.
- Cluster 3 - Civil security for society
Focus: crisis management, the fight against crime and terrorism, external and border security, cybersecurity, privacy and trust.
- Cluster 4 - Digital, industry and space
Focus: a climate-neutral, resource-efficient circular industry, advanced materials, digital technology, artificial intelligence, next-generation internet, and space research.
- Cluster 5 - Climate, energy and mobility
Focus: to combat climate change by better understanding its causes, evolution, risks, impacts and opportunities, and by making the energy and transport sectors more climate and environment-friendly, more efficient and competitive, smarter, safer and more resilient.
- Cluster 6 - Food, bioeconomy, natural resources, agriculture and the environment
Focus: a greener Europe and a healthy planet for all. Here, you will find calls linked to forestry, food production, and biodiversity, among many other topics relevant to SLU.
- EU Missions
Focus: a new way to bring concrete solutions to some of our greatest challenges – adapting to climate change; cancer; climate-neutral and smart cities; restoring oceans and waters; healthy soils.
Pillar III - Innovative Europe
Pillar III supports the development of disruptive and market-creating innovations and enhances European innovation ecosystems.
- The European Innovation Council (EIC)
Focus: promoting high-risk, high-impact breakthrough innovation with scale-up potential at the global level. There are three main recurring calls – Pathfinder (for radically new technologies emerging from research excellence), Transition (to bring research results to innovation potential), and Accelerator (to develop and upscale high-risk innovations by start-ups and SMEs).
- European Innovation Ecosystems (EIE)
Focus: to create interconnected, inclusive, and efficient innovation ecosystems to support the upscaling of companies, encourage innovation, and stimulate cooperation among innovation actors. The programme supports education, policy work, and projects seeking synergies between EU, national, and regional activities.
- European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT)
Focus: to increase Europe’s ability to innovate by nurturing entrepreneurial talent and supporting new ideas. They support dynamic, long-term and Europe-wide partnerships among leading companies, research laboratories, and research firms - creating Europe’s largest innovation network.
Widening participation and strengthening the European Research Area
- Widening participation and spreading excellence
Focus: to unlock the R&I potential of EU Member States and support low R&I performing Member States to increase their participation in Horizon Europe.
- Reforming and enhancing the European R&I system
Focus: training researchers for successful participation in R&I activities while enhancing networking, gender equality, ethics and integrity.
Horizon Europe projects are always associated with some level of co-funding for direct costs, indirect costs, or both. Each programme has specific rules for funding rates and cost eligibility – you can find an overview in the General Annexes to the Horizon Europe work programme.
At present, some areas of Horizon Europe are prioritised by SLU and are therefore eligible to apply for central co-funding when SLU is the coordinator. Other projects may be eligible for three-part co-funding (department + faculty + central).
Co-funding priorities are reviewed annually, so please make sure to check the latest list of prioritised grants, eligibility criteria, and application processes in SLU’s co-funding guidelines.
How to apply
All Horizon Europe calls are announced on the European Commission’s Funding & Tenders Portal, and this is also where you create and submit your application. You will always be asked to provide SLU’s Participant Identification Code (PIC) - our PIC is 999887350.
Via the F&T Portal, you can download many reference documents, including a comprehensive Horizon Europe Programme Guide, copies of the latest work programmes, and standard templates. Once you register a draft application in the F&T Portal, you will be able to download an editable version of the proposal template, which may include amendments specific to the call – make sure always to use this version.
Horizon Europe applications consist of an online form and one or more proposal parts, which you upload as pdfs. If there are several partners in your project, each organisation must fill in part of the online form with administrative information. The coordinator or lead applicant must add other information to the online form, for example, an abstract, ethics declarations and budgetary data. They must also upload all proposal parts and submit the application.
There are strict deadlines for Horizon Europe applications indicated in each call. The submission system in the F&T Portal will close at the deadline (usually at 17:00 CET), and late submissions are not accepted. Make sure to submit your application in good time – the F&T Portal can become busy and slow in the hours before the deadline, so a last-minute submission is risky. You can submit and re-submit your application as many times as you want before the deadline, so it is a good idea to submit a version you are happy with a week early and then re-submit as you refine and make final edits.
Support with your application
If you are interested in applying, the Grants Office can answer your questions and, in some cases, offer one-to-one support:
- Global Challenges (Clusters 1-6 and Missions)
- MSCA - Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions
- ERC - European Research Council
- Other parts of Horizon Europe – send an email to email@example.com
The European Commission offers a lot of guidance to help you understand their funding programmes and prepare your application:
- There are regular Information Days to present specific areas of Horizon Europe and describe the open/upcoming calls – these sessions are recorded and available to watch online.
- The Horizon Europe Programme Guide contains detailed guidance on the structure, budget and political priorities of Horizon Europe. It also includes details on how to prepare proposals, including cross-cutting issues such as dissemination/communication/exploitation, international cooperation, gender, social sciences & humanities, ethics, open science & data management, and artificial intelligence.
- The Programme Guide contains comprehensive information on international cooperation, but you can also find a standalone list of countries eligible for funding in Horizon Europe.
- The Horizon Europe Work Programme 2021/22 General Annexes set out the general conditions applicable to calls under the Horizon Europe main work programme. They also describe the evaluation and award procedures and other criteria for Horizon Europe funding.
- The Horizon Europe Online Manual explains how EU grants work and how to manage them electronically in the F&T Portal. It is limited to procedural aspects and explains the functionality of the IT tools behind the Portal (roles and access rights, proposal submission and evaluation, grant management, amendments, etc.).
- The F&T IT How-To Guide contains step-by-step instructions for all of the tools and features of the F&T Portal.
Managing your project
Grant Agreements and Consortium Agreements
You will report your project expenses and results to the European Commission via their Funding & Tenders Portal.
At SLU, it is usually the department's responsibility to provide support during the implementation and administration of projects, including handling financial issues. Each department has a dedicated person with the administrative role 'project finance', with the main task of supporting the implementation and reporting of research projects.
The university administration's support for project accounting and financial reporting to funding bodies primarily comes from the Division of Financial Administration via firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Grants Office can advise you on the functionality of the Funding & Tenders Portal and appropriate templates to use (e.g. timesheets, progress monitoring).
All Horizon Europe projects have specific data management and open access responsibilities. You can find details and guidance in the Horizon Europe Programme Guide.
Drafts of upcoming work programmes (when available)