The questions and answers below will give you a good introduction into Horizon 2020.

Who can apply for Horizon 2020 funding?

Horizon 2020 is the funding programme for research and innovation of the European Union. Any type of organisation from both the private and the public sector is eligible for funding, provided that they perform research or develop innovative products or services. To a lesser extent, Horizon 2020 also funds coordination and support actions that concern topics such as dissemination or support to researchers.

How can I apply for Horizon 2020 funding?

Horizon 2020 funding is awarded based on calls for project proposals, which are published on the Participant’s Portal. The calls for proposals define the thematic areas for which funding is available and provide all criteria that need to be respected. They also include information on the total amount of budget available and the deadline for submitting a call. This deadline has to be respected to the minute – proposals that are submitted too late will not be taken into account.

Your NCP is available to help you identify calls for proposals that can be interesting for you, help you to find project partners where needed, and advise on the submission and evaluation process.

What are the funding rates for Horizon 2020 projects?

The funding rate corresponds to the proportion of approved project costs that is covered by European funds. In order to simplify the management of Horizon 2020 projects, there is one single funding rate per project, with an exception concerning non-profit organisations participating in innovation projects. These are:

  • Research projects: 100% for all types of participants
  • Innovation projects: 100% funding rate for non-profit organisations – 70% for all other types of participants
  • Indirect costs: flat rate of 25 %

What should I focus on to prepare a competitive project proposal?

A basic requirement is to read all the documentation of the call for proposals to understand its objectives and themes and make sure that your project idea is in line with what the call aims to achieve. It is also crucial to keep the European point of view in mind and highlight that your proposed project:

  • Will solve a problem (market need)
  • Has European added value and impact
  • Builds upon existing EU projects
  • Represents excellence and policy or economic impact
  • Includes collaboration across disciplines and/or across the value-chain

It is also crucial to allow enough time for preparations before the submission deadline and respect all formal conditions (page number, etc).

Your NCP is available to advise you further on all these points and help you increase the chances of success of your proposal.

How can I find partners for a HORIZON 2020 project?

We advise you to:

  • Use your existing network
  • Let your network know early on that you are interested
  • Attend EU events

As NCP, it is also our role to help Luxembourg actors find project partners through, for instance, various European networks, our privileged contacts with other NCP and our regular contacts with the European Commission.

How long time will it take for me to know whether my Horizon 2020 project proposal has been approved or not?

The objective of the European Commission is that it should not take more than 8 months between the closing of a call for proposals and the signing of the grant agreement:

  • 5 months to inform participants on the scientific evaluation of their application
  • 3 months to sign the grant agreements/notify the grant decisions

In the case of ERC grants and exceptional justified cases, the overall time might, however, be longer than 8 months.

What are the administrative steps for preparing and implementing a HORIZON 2020 project?

The main steps include:

  • Identifying the relevant call for proposals and preparing a competitive proposal together with your project partners
  • Submitting your project proposal to the European Commission
  • Your proposal will be evaluated by a group of experts who recommend to the European Commission which proposals should be retained for funding. Three general criteria of utmost importance in the evaluation process are the following:
    • Excellence
    • Impact
    • Quality and efficiency of the implementation
  • If your proposal is approved for funding, you will sign a contract for the project with the European Commission
  • During the implementation, your project will be monitored by the European Commission and you will be required to provide reports on your progress and expenditures.

As National Contact Point, we are available to advise you throughout the whole process.

I’m interested in participating in Horizon 2020 projects in the future. What do you advise me to do to keep up to date and be part of the game?

We advise you to:

  • Read EU publications (White papers, Communications, etc)
  • Refer to running or finished EU research projects and their results
  • Become an expert evaluator of Horizon 2020 project proposals
  • Become familiar with draft work programmes
  • Follow policy makers on social media (Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn groups, etc)
  • Refer to selected websites (, euractiv, etc)

As National Contact Point, we regularly organise events to provide information on Horizon 2020, upcoming calls for proposals or theme-specific questions. We also advise EU project participants on a bilateral basis or are available for short in-house presentations.

What are Horizon 2020 programme committees?

The European Commission calls upon committees to implement European legislation. These committees are composed of representatives from Member States and Associated Countries. Luxinnovation represents Luxembourg in various committees on European RDI policy making.

Concerning Horizon 2020, the main subject of discussion are the “work programmes”. These documents define research priorities for each domain that then translate into calls. Committee members can inform the European Commission on national research priorities. They also have the important opportunity to establish bilateral contacts and to draw attention to Luxembourg’s positioning.