Research and innovation in the European Union


The Horizon 2020 research and innovation program, with a budget of € 77 billion, supports the EU in promoting growth and jobs and in addressing some of our greatest challenges.

Research and innovation play a crucial role in our economy and our society. They are at the heart of Europe’s efforts to create quality jobs and promote growth and investment. We have research and innovation to thank for the knowledge base that not only helps us to solve acute problems, such as the Ebola epidemic of 2014, but also to cope with long-term societal challenges, such as those related to climate change.

At the same time, research and innovation bring about improvements in people’s lives, for example in the areas of healthcare, transport and energy, and pave the way for countless new products and services that can improve the quality of life and our economic performance.

What the EU is doing

The EU is the largest knowledge factory in the world. Almost a third of global science and technology production comes from Europe. However, in the face of increasing competitive pressures, Europe needs to do better to ensure that excellent research and innovative ideas turn into successful products and technologies. All EU member states have their own research policy and set up their own funding programs. However, there are many important issues that can best be tackled with support for collaboration between researchers and innovators from different countries.

With an investment volume of 77 billion euros over seven years (2014-2020), Horizon 2020 is the most extensive research and innovation program in the EU to date; In addition, there are other public and private investments for which these financial resources create incentives. The program generates successes, discoveries and world firsts, both in the research facilities themselves and by taking great ideas from the laboratory to market.

Horizon 2020 has the following three main objectives:

  • Promoting excellence in science, including through the European Research Council , and training and career development for researchers under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions ;
  • Promote industry leadership in areas such as nanotechnology, biotechnology and information and communication technology by supporting businesses and entrepreneurs;
  • Overcoming our greatest societal challenges, including in the areas of health, transport, energy, climate protection and the protection of freedom and security.

The European Commission is also pursuing strategies to promote research excellence and innovation. New strategies and measures can be assigned to three main themes: open innovation, open science and cosmopolitanism .