The current EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation running from 2014 to 2020 aims at making the European Union a true knowledge economy, fully implementing the flagship initiative Innovation Union.
Horizon 2020 makes the most of the experience of the previous Framework Programmes and, more generally, of the past European financial instruments and measures supporting research and innovation. Moreover, it tries to go beyond major difficulties with a much greater, single and simplified financial support which is able to effectively put together EC and Member States programmes.
Horizon 2020 aims at creating a more coherent and consistent European system for Research and Innovation and bridging the long-lasting structural gap, with nearly €80 billion of funding available over 7 years (2014 to 2020) in three main areas:
- Excellent Science, to reinforce and extend the excellence of European science and to promote frontier research
- Industrial Leadership, to promote applied research and industrial development of enabling key technologies and to increase the growth potential of European companies, supporting their internationalisation, their access to venture capital and all the forms of innovation in SMEs
- Societal Challenges, to provide effective responses to societal challenges, thanks to a multiple approach exploiting a wide range of resources, knowledge, technologies and subject fields.
Horizon 2020 goal is to make stronger and more efficient communication channels between the main actors that produce, spread and use knowledge: schools, universities and research institutions.
According to smart communities principles, the focus is on ICTs which provide:
- high performance connectivity and data, information and knowledge processing capacities
- the creation of more Cooperative and competitive Communities which are able to put in place more efficient, competitive and inclusive solutions thanks to networks and widespread knowledge dissemination.
The pivotal programme actions are:
- to develop knowledge,
- to enhance education and research capacity,
- to increase and spread digital skills,
- to firmly support digital literacy development,
- to reinforce the relationship between new technologies and the business environment, and
- to put all this at the European society disposal.