HORIZON 2020 - EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation

Funding support for innovative research in the European Union





Horizon 2020 is the financial instrument implementing the Innovation Union, a Europe 2020 flagship initiative aimed at securing Europe's global competitiveness. Running from 2014 to 2020 with a budget of just over €70.9 billion, the EU’s new programme for research and innovation is part of the drive to create new growth and jobs in Europe.


‘Horizon 2020 will succeed Framework Programme 7 with an increased budget as the main financial instrument supporting European research and development.


Horizon 2020 provides major simplification through a single set of rules. It will combine all research and innovation funding currently provided through the Framework Programmes for Research and Technical Development, the innovation related activities of the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP) and the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT).


The proposed support for research and innovation under Horizon 2020 will:

  • Strengthen the EU’s position in science with a dedicated budget of € 24,341 million. This will provide a boost to top-level research in Europe, including the very successful European Research Council (ERC).

  • Strengthen industrial leadership in innovation € 17,015 million. This includes major investment in key technologies, greater access to capital and support for SMEs.

  • Provide € 30,956 million to help address major concerns shared by all Europeans such as climate change, developing sustainable transport and mobility, making renewable energy more affordable, ensuring food safety and security, or coping with the challenge of an ageing population.


Horizon 2020 will tackle societal challenges by helping to bridge the gap between research and the market by, for example, helping innovative enterprise to develop their technological breakthroughs into viable products with real commercial potential. This market-driven approach will include creating partnerships with the private sector and Member States to bring together the resources needed.


International cooperation will be an important cross-cutting priority of Horizon 2020. In addition to Horizon 2020 being fully open to international participation, targeted actions with key partner countries and regions will focus on the EU’s strategic priorities. Through a new strategy, a strategic and coherent approach to international cooperation will be ensured across Horizon 2020.


Horizon 2020 will be complemented by further measures to complete and further develop the European Research Area by 2014. These measures will aim at breaking down barriers to create a genuine single market for knowledge, research and innovation.


Horizon 2020 SME development opportunity




One of the groups that stand to significantly benefit from Horizon 2020 are small to medium sized businesses (‘SMEs’), which will be allocated at least €7 billion Euros for research and innovation work. The EU is also making significant efforts to unlock the vast amount of valuable research and Intellectual Property that is held by universities and research centres across Europe, through fast-track to market schemes designed specifically for innovating SMEs.

In particular, Horizon 2020 will see a completely new and dedicated SME instrument designed to:

* Fill gaps in funding for early-stage and high-risk research and innovation by SMEs;

* Provide support for all types of innovation following a bottom-up approach, including scientific, social and service innovations;

* Target all types of developing and growing SMEs.

This instrument will include distinct phases for feasibility assessment, research & development and commercialisation. Each stage will be open to all SMEs and successful completion of one stage will allow an SME to move to the next.



(DRAFT 18/10/2013)
(European Commission C(2013)XXX of XX December 2013)

MG.4.1-2014. Towards the energy efficient and emission free vessel
MG.4.2-2014. Safer and more efficient waterborne operations, new technologies & smarter traffic management
MG.4.3-2015. System modelling and life-cycle cost optimisation for waterborne assets


Horizon Network


H2020 Call: Zero or Near Zero Carbon Vessels (Section 4, Waterborne - MG.4.1-2014) 

Seeking shipbuilders to co-develop low drag hull technology

EU research and innovation  Ref: RDUK20131220001

A UK company is part of a consortium of UK members seeking a European partner to join a Horizon 2020 funding bid. The aim is to develop a novel low-drag hull. They are seeking industrial partners in the shipbuilding industry to co-develop the innovation to proof of concept and to create a demonstration prototype. They are also seeking potential end users, such as supply ships.



Smart, green and integrated transport

Part 11 – pages 28 to 32
(5 page extract of 87 pages)


A modern, safe, secure and resource efficient waterborne transport system, encompassing deep sea shipping, coastal shipping around Europe and the use of the internal waterways, is an essential requirement for an economy which aims at succeeding on the global scale and supporting a truly integrated internal market.

Today΄s challenges for the sustainable development of such a system are defined by the optimal use of energy sources and the minimisation of its environmental impacts, in particular with regard to pollutant and greenhouse gas emissions. The waterborne sector is still lagging behind in these respects as compared with other transport modes.

Europe remains a world leader in the design, production and operation of waterborne assets, but its industry is facing ever fiercer global competition. To stay ahead, the entire value chain needs an accelerated creation and deployment of research and innovation solutions whilst at the same time there is a need to explore new frontiers in terms of vessels, operational paradigms and the industrial use of the oceans.

MG.4.1-2014. Towards the energy efficient and emission free vessel

Specific challenge: The challenge is to support developments that make new and existing vessels in maritime transport and inland navigation significantly more efficient and less polluting through solutions addressing four ship sub-systems: engine, pollution abatement systems, propulsion, energy sources and management including the efficient operation of onboard systems.

Waterborne transport still offers an enormous potential for pollution reduction and energy efficiency gains. The reduction of pollutant and greenhouse gas emissions is far removed from the progress made in road transport, particularly in the category of older, small to medium-size vessels which make up a large proportion of intra-European waterborne transport, including inland navigation.

Since vessels have a long life expectancy, developing technologies for clean retrofit and fuel conversion solutions is a key aspect of the challenge.

Scope: In order to meet this challenge, proposals should address one or several of the following aspects:

• Optimisation of conventional ship engines, including fuel flexibility, new materials, lifetime performance and near zero emissions engines.
• Development of low-maintenance, affordable off-the-shelf retrofit solutions for emission reductions of existing engines.
• Development of Liquified Natural Gas/dual fuel powered engines for small and midsize ships, including the specific aspects of retrofitting, fuel supply and storage, safety (on-board and on-shore) and classification, and solutions to address the risks of methane slip.
• Design and demonstration of new and improved propulsion means and vessel configurations that include the entire drive train and the propeller and hull optimisation for vessels, including applied research in Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD).

Part 11 – page 29

• Use of new energy sources including renewables, alternative fuels, hybrid and electric solutions with the aim to demonstrate the feasibility of the zero or near-zero emissions vessel.


Solutions that are sufficiently close to market take-up so that ship owners will consider these concepts in their future investment plans should be demonstrated. This applies in particular to the existing fleet and retrofitting solutions which must be cost-effective and present a considerable societal return on investment.

Research and innovation efforts should enable pilot applications for new engines, new pollution abatement technologies, new propulsion trains and alternative fuels solutions to enter the market by the end of the research period.

The Commission considers that projects requesting a contribution from the EU between the range of 8 to 17 million euro would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected impact: It is expected to:

• Achieve efficiency gains and emission reductions that go significantly beyond normal technological progress and the benchmarks of the existing regulatory regimes at lowest costs.
• Achieve fuel efficiency gains of at least 15% for retrofitting per type of solution (engine or propulsion) and at least 30% per type of solution for new concepts.
• Accomplish a 25% decrease in greenhouse gas emissions and a reduction of, on average, 80% in air pollution compared with Best Available Technology (BAT).

Experience acquired in this innovative field should be broadly made available to ship owners requiring improvements in the environmental performance of their vessel.

Type of action: Innovation Actions

The conditions for this topic are provided in the general conditions for this call.

MG.4.2-2014. Safer and more efficient waterborne operations through new technologies and smarter traffic management

Specific challenge: Ensuring and enhancing the safety of waterborne operations is of high importance for the EU since past and recent maritime disasters, and accidents in inland navigation, have shown that accidents come with high costs in terms of loss of life, environmental damage, economic impact, and the overall image and public perception of the waterborne sector. Whilst the safe operations of cargo vessels remain a challenge to be addressed (also in the light of the increasing use of Northern sea routes), the significant and continuing growth in the size of cruise ships and the expansion of their operating areas to remote regions (and particularly difficult environments such as the Arctic) has created a new and increasing risk. More research is needed to develop and demonstrate innovative solutions for ship design and waterborne operations in order to avoid and mitigate passenger risks, ensure high levels of safety, whilst at the same time preserving increased passenger expectations of comfort and on-board amenities.


Horizon Magazine, funding links


Part 11 – page 30

Enhanced or new technologies for maritime traffic management will be key for safer and more secure operations as well as to lower emissions, whilst supporting a more competitive maritime transport as part of an integrated transport chain. To reduce congestion in ports and port fairways, port traffic guidance systems need to be at the same time cost efficient and easily deployable. Synergies with existing systems should be ensured, with the aim of integrating the use of port traffic guidance tools by all relevant authorities and ensuring the full interoperability between Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) systems, which monitor vessels, freight and port services.

Scope: Proposals should address one or several of the following aspects:

• Safer shipping through innovative conceptual (hull, general arrangement) and detail designs (exterior and interior) of vessels and systems, and through a new approach to emergency response, to risk-based maintenance, and to the human factor.
• New safety devices and their demonstration, including new technologies and operational solutions for the evacuation of large passenger ships, black-out mitigation, fire proofing and making ships more salvage friendly.
• New and improved systems for the surveillance, monitoring and integrated management of waterborne transport and other activities (commercial and non-commercial).
• New and cost effective European Global Navigation Satellite System (European GNSS)-based procedures for port approach, pilotage and guidance, ICT-enabled shipping lanes and maritime services that will reduce the risk of accidents and incidents in port approaches and dense traffic lanes, and minimise both delays and turn-around times.
• For traffic management, solutions that support the extension, integration and optimisation of waterborne transport information and communication systems with the aim of contributing to build a comprehensive "e-maritime" environment (including e- Navigation components that are compatible with existing or emerging international standards). They should serve the overall objective of building the European Maritime Transport Space without Barriers allowing waterborne transport (including inland navigation) to be used to the full potential of the integrated intermodal logistic chain.

Solutions should also provide the foundation for the deployment of autonomous and actively guided ships as well as the possibility to verify all related safety certificates before the vessel enters the port.

Inputs to EU and international regulatory regimes, standardisation and international research co-operation are expected for the above areas, in particular regarding safety devices and e-Navigation solutions.

In line with the Union's strategy for international cooperation in research and innovation6, international cooperation is encouraged.

The Commission considers that projects requesting a contribution from the EU between the range of 4 to 9 million euro would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. 

Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

6 COM(2012)497

Part 11 – page 31

Expected impact: It is expected to:

• Achieve significant improvements in terms of navigational safety and efficiency (in particular emission reductions) along the entire waterborne transport logistic chain, and decrease administrative burdens.
• Facilitate the transfer of new safety concepts from passenger shipping to other areas of maritime operations.
• Show a statistically relevant decrease in the number of fatalities caused by maritime accidents, the number of ship losses and specific incidents such as fires or black-outs accompanied, where relevant, by operational empirical evidence.
• Support the upgrading of international maritime safety regimes through relevant inputs.

Type of action: Innovation Actions

MG.4.3-2015. System modelling and life-cycle cost optimisation for waterborne assets Specific challenge: The European maritime technologies industry is facing fierce global competition on price in its traditional markets which forces it to shift its focus to profitable (existing and new) markets where technical excellence and smart custom-made solutions are the key to market success. In order to develop these niche markets and exploit them
successfully, research and innovation efforts are required that introduce new design and production processes with the aim of having minimal total costs over the useful economic life of the product which, for waterborne assets (vessels and maritime structures), is particularly long (20-50 years).

Scope: Proposals should address one or several of the following aspects:

• New design and mathematical modelling tools and paradigms supporting the full understanding of operational practices and situations covering the entire useful economic life of a vessel or maritime structure ("from cradle to grave") in terms of costs and performance.
• A comprehensive and detailed approach to system integration and optimisation for vessels which is multi-objective driven, based on virtual product (digital mock-up) methodologies (with virtual reality capabilities). The resulting model must include all technical systems and sub-systems and must cover all operational conditions of the complete system over the entire life cycle (thus taking into account the uncertainties of the future operating context). Modelling should cover the majority of ship types produced in Europe and should be based on the new tools and paradigms, allowing for short lead times and the optimised use in SME yards building complex vessels.
• A large scale virtual demonstrator for smart, adaptive and multi-material complex ships and structures, based on the design tools and concepts for minimised life-cycle costs and using the complete product model.

The Commission considers that projects requesting a contribution from the EU between the range of 5 to 8 million euro would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately.

Part 11 – page 32

Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected impact: It is expected:

• Achieve measurable cost reductions in design, production and lifetime maritime asset management.
• Facilitate a shorter time for assessment and integration of sub-systems on board vessels and a better integration of complex systems, in particular in relation with energy issues and efficient operations. This should lead to efficiency gains of 20% in terms of energy consumption and of 10% in terms of other operational costs.

Type of action: Research and Innovation Actions

The conditions for this topic are provided in the general conditions for this call.





Vision2020: The Horizon Network is administered by Horizon 2020 Limited, a company incorporated in the United Kingdom for this purpose (no. 8336338). The primary contacts for Vision2020 are:

Abdul Rahim, Director, Horizon 2020 Ltd and SME Director, Vision2020

Julia Skiba, Membership Manager, Vision2020

Horizon 2020 Limited
Argyle House, 29-31 Euston Road
London NW1 2SD, United Kingdom

Email: contact@2020visionnetwork.eu
Phone: +44 (0)20 7687 2020




















EU funding schemes

Horizon 2020





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