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A variety of funding opportunities for research or innovation projects are offered by the European Union (EU).

Horizon 2020

Horizon 2020, the European programme for research and innovation, provides a framework for funding research and innovation throughout the spectrum from basic research to market introduction. It was launched in 2014 and is planned for a term of seven years (2014-2020).

It consolidates research funding programmes at European level an, in comparison to previous programmes, it is more strongly oriented to cooperation between science and industry. The programme thus contains important strategic and structural measures for strengthening innovation in societally relevant areas, and it will accelerate translation of findings from basic research into new products, processes and services.

The programme's main instrument consists of funding of transnational European collaborative research alliances. Horizon 2020 stimulates SME participation across the whole programme, yet with a particular focus on close-to-market support.

The ERA-NET instrument under Horizon 2020 is designed to support public-public partnerships in their preparation, establishment of networking structures, design, implementation and coordination of joint activities as well as topping up of single joint calls and of actions of a transnational nature.

To provide guidance, practical information and assistance on all aspects of participation in Horizon 2020 the network of National Contact Points (NCPs) were established.


Horizon 2020 is flanked by two mechanisms that provide a framework for cooperation between research institutes and companies in Europe, without direct procejt funding: COST (European Cooperation in Science and Technology) and EUREKA (Initiative for intensified technological cooperation in Europe).

Further EU Programmes

With a number of measures, the European Union funds different areas of life in its member countries and associated states. In addition to Horizon 2020, EU structural funds are among the most important funding instruments for SMEs.

More information about EU funding is offered in German:
Förderung durch die Europäische Union