The European Union (EU) concentrates a large part of its research and innovation activities in the so-called R&D&I Framework Programmes, which reflect the priorities of EU policies in their different thematic areas.
The Framework Programmes are multi-annual and the actions take the form of biannual work programmes, with calls open to proposals from international consortia, which are evaluated in order to select the most suitable for the development of the proposed objectives.
Participation in the Framework Programme is based on competing with the best and in most cases with consortium activities (research groups, companies and users).

The Horizon 2020 programme

This is the framework programme for the period 2014-2020 and is the first of its kind in the EU. integrates for the first time all the phases of a projectThe activities in this area range from knowledge generation to activities closer to the market: basic research, technology development, demonstration projects, pilot manufacturing lines, social innovation, technology transfer, proof of concept, standardisation, support for pre-commercial public procurement, venture capital and guarantee schemes.

The main features of Horizon 2020 are as follows:

  • The proposal approval rate is around 20%.
  • The duration of the projects is about 3 years and the budget is more than €2 million, with some exceptions.
  • Optimal funding conditions: generally 100% of direct costs for all types of entities and 70% for companies working in the innovation phases.


The strategic objectives of the Horizon 2020 programme are as follows:

  •  Creating a science of excellence, to strengthen the EU's position on the world scientific stage. To this end, the European Research Council (ERC) envelope, which supports researchers without requiring international consortium work, has been increased, the field of Future Technologies (FET) has been expanded, and Marie Curie activities to support training, mobility and qualification of researchers and research infrastructures are maintained.
  • Developing technologies and their applications to improve European competitiveness by investing heavily in key technologies for industry, such as Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), nanotechnologies, advanced manufacturing, biotechnology and space.
    In this section it is necessary to highlight the activities to promote SMEs, which can participate in the collaborative projects of the Social and Technology Challenges, with at least 20% of the budget. In addition, these companies have the "SME instrument", a dedicated initiative, without a minimum consortium, which finances from the assessment of the viability of a project to its development, demonstration and replication in the market, including support for commercialisation with assistance services to make the exploitation of the results profitable.
  • Research into the major issues affecting European citizens. The focus is on six essential areas for a better life: health, food and agriculture including marine science, energy, transport, climate and raw materials, inclusive societies and security. The results are aimed at solving concrete problems of citizens, such as an ageing society, information security or the transition to an efficient, low-carbon economy.

In addition, the number of large public and private initiatives has increased significantly:

  • Among the former, joint activities in the R&D&I plans of countries that may have significant H2020 funding for their own calls.
  • Among the latter, and from an industrial perspective, company-led Public Private Partnerships (contractual PPPs) or institutional Public Private Partnerships (JTIs) stand out.

The new framework programme: Horizon Europe.

On 2 May last, the European Commission presented its budget proposal The future Framework Programme 2021-2027, which it has called "Horizon Europe", includes 97.6 billion euros for the different Research and Innovation programmes and will have the following objectives:

  • Strengthening the European Union's scientific and technological bases.
  • Stimulate innovation capacity, competitiveness and jobs in Europe.
  • Delivering on citizens' priorities and supporting the Union's socio-economic model and values.

According to the Commission itself, this is an ambitious and realistic proposal for a modern budget that reflects rapid developments in innovation, the economy, the environment and geopolitics, among other areas. Funding rules will be simplified, to ensure that the budget translates into results for the issues that matter to European citizens.

Like H2020, Horizon Europe will have a three-pillar structure:

  • Pilar I. Open Science, which will be allocated €25.8 billion. It will be made up of the European Research Council actions for frontier research with €16.6 billion, the Marie Sklodowska-Curie actions for the training and mobility of human resources for research and innovation with €6.8 billion, and support for research infrastructures with €2.4 billion.
  • Pillar II. Global Challenges and Industrial Competitiveness, with €52.7 billion. It will provide a cross-sectoral approach to research and innovation activities through five clusters:
  • 1. Health, €7.7 billion.
  • 2. Inclusive and safe societies, €2.8 billion.
  • 3. Digital and industry, €15 billion.
  • 4. Climate, energy and mobility, € 15 billion.
  • 5. Food and natural resources, €10bn.

In addition, Pillar II encompasses the activities of the Joint Research Centre (JRC) for which €2.2 billion will be earmarked.

  • Pillar III. Open Innovation, with €13.5 billion. It includes the European Innovation Council, which has a pilot phase in H2020, to support disruptive innovations with market-creating potential, to which €10.5 billion will be allocated, the Innovation Systems to connect with national and regional actors (€500 million) and the European Institute of Innovation and Technology, which will have €3 billion to continue its activities.
    These three pillars are complemented by horizontal activities under the heading of Strengthening the European Research Area, which will have €2.1 billion to optimise the strengths and potential for a more innovative Europe.

Bosonit and the framework programmes.

The transversal and disruptive nature of the data processing and exploitation technologies that Bosonit works with in the development of its projects make it a potential partner of great value for any project.

Since the beginning of its activity in 2015, Bosonit has considered Europe as its natural market and has shown interest in the Commission's funding programmes. Since 2017, the company is part of several projects funded by H2020 and actively participates in events and activities of different characteristics: programme presentations, workshops, networking and consortium building, project showcases, etc.

Recent weeks have included:

  •  10th Conference of the European Union's Framework Programme for Research and Innovation in Spain. The main objectives were:
  • review the developments launched in the European Innovation Council's pilot to bring research closer to the marketplace and
  •  present and analyse the European Commission's proposal for Horizon Europe from the point of view of Spanish participation.
  •  ICT 2018. Annual European technology fair where high-level policy and strategy roundtables are held, work programmes that will open calls in the coming months are presented, projects funded by the different programmes are showcased and meetings are held to find partners for collaborative programmes.

In La Rioja, the activities and the support of the Economic Development Agency of La Rioja as a node of the EEN network to the participation of regional organisations in the Framework Programmes and other European and international initiatives.
For the next Framework Programme, Bosonit intends to increase its participation in projects, leading consortia and helping other organisations and companies to develop their potential in Europe.


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