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EU launches research and innovation funding for 2016-17

The EU will provide €16 billion in funding for research and innovation in 2016-17 as part of the Horizon 2020 initiative, with over €740 million set aside for highly innovative SMEs.

The EU will provide €16 billion (£11.8 billion) in funding for research and innovation in 2016-17 as part of the Horizon 2020 initiative, with over €740 million (£544 million) set aside for highly innovative SMEs.

Horizon 2020 was launched in 2014 and over seven years will invest €77 billion (£57 billion) in research and innovation projects to support Europe’s economic competitiveness in key areas such as health, the environment, transport, food and energy. It is the largest research and innovation funding programme ever conducted by the EU. 

The funding will cover around 600 topics in total and will be released through a range of calls for proposals, public procurements, and competitions such as Horizon Prizes.

Key priorities

The new work programme for 2016-17 will provide funding for a range of cross-cutting initiatives, including:

  • €1 billion (£735 million) for the modernisation of Europe’s manufacturing industry
  • €670 million (£492 million) for developing sustainable and circular economies
  • €232 million (£171 million) for developing smart and sustainable cities
  • €139 million (£102 million) for developing the ‘Internet of Things’
  • €100 million (£73 million) for technologies and standards for automatic driving.

Resource efficiency and sustainability form a key part of the total Horizon 2020 programme, with 35 per cent of total investment related to action on climate change and 60 per cent related to sustainable development. 

Carlos Modeas, European commissioner for research, science and innovation, said: “Research and innovation are the engines of Europe’s progress and vital to addressing today’s new pressing challenges like immigration, climate change, clean energy and healthy societies.

“Over the next two years, €16 billion from Horizon 2020 will support Europe’s top scientific efforts, making a difference to citizens’ lives.”


The new work programme has been designed to open up research and innovation to a wider range of actors, including attracting more SMEs. 

Around €2 billion (£1.5 billion) of the total funding is expected to go to SMEs, including €740 million (£544 million) through a dedicated instrument to benefit 2,000 highly innovative SMEs. 

All calls for funding are published on a single portal, with specific guidance available for SMEs.