Horizon 2020 funding streams / European Research Council Annual Report for 2018

10 Apr 2019


Council and Parliament Reach Common Understanding on Horizon Europe

A Common Understanding on the Regulation Establishing Horizon Europe (an agreement on the essential structure of the financial and legal framework that will be used for Horizon Europe) has been agreed by the European Parliament and Council of Ministers after six sessions of negotiations between the two parties and the Commission, known as the "trilogues". 

This Common Understanding follows the Commission's original proposal and the official positions on the proposal from both the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers. Six trilogues between the three parties followed to deal with areas of disagreement. The intent was to reach a common understanding before the European Parliament elections on 23-26 May to ensure that Horizon Europe, the next EU Framework Programme, will be ready to begin in 2021. As such, the budget and the terms of association for third countries will both be agreed after the new European Parliament is elected and after the main body of the proposal has been accepted.

The key points of compromise agreed upon in the Common Understanding are as follows: (bold our own)

  • Changes to the pillar names and structure
    • Excellent Science
      • Global Challenges and European Industrial Competitiveness
      • Health
      • Culture, Creativity and Inclusive Society (split from original Culture and Security cluster)
      • Civil Security for Society (split from original Culture and Security cluster)
      • Digital, Industry and Space
      • Climate, Energy and Mobility (still one cluster)
      • Food, Bioeconomy, Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environment
    • Innovation Europe
    • Widening Participation and Strengthening the European Research Area
      • Widening Participation and Spreading Excellence 
      • Reforming and Enhancing the European Research and Innovation System
  • Possible Missions suggested in the following areas:
    • Adaptation to Climate Change, including Societal Transformation
    • Cancer
    • Healthy Oceans, Seas, Coastal and Inland Waters
    • Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities
    • Soil Health and Food
  • Introduction of "Fast Track to Research and Innovation" process
    • For bottom-up innovation calls
    • Less than 6 months time-to-grant
    • A maximum of 6 different legal entities in the consortia
    • €2.5 million funding or less
  • Grants will be the "main form of support"
  • FET Flagships and preparatory actions from Horizon 2020 will feed into missions, partnerships and calls in Horizon Europe
  • Ensuring gender balance on evaluation panels and advisory groups
  • The first step of two-step calls may be anonymised
  • Reducing the remuneration gap for researchers working on EU-funded research projects in different Member States and Associated Countries. 

The next step in the process is to resume negotiations once the next European Parliament is in session. The final agreement will also depend on the overall agreement on the Horizon Europe budget, set out in the Multiannual Financial Framework for 2021-2027

European Research Council Annual Report 2018
The European Research Council (ERC) has published its 2018 annual report on ERC activity.
The annual report provides an overview of the roles and responsibilities of both the Scientific Council and the Executive Agency; statistics related to ERC grant funding under Horizon 2020 to-date; a granular analysis of results data for ERC grants in 2018; key updates to the ERC Monitoring and Evaluation Strategy; as well as a review of all other major ERC activities and highlights in 2018.
For example, the report provides some key H2020 statistics including:
  • ERC budget in Horizon 2020 is €13 billion, 17% of the overall budget;
  • ERC has already committed €1.9 billion of funding in 2018;
  • 9,700 projects have received funding since 2007, taking place in 34 member states and associate countries;
  • 60,000 researchers and other staff have been engaged as part of these projects, which have produced over 116,000 publications and resulted in 1,300 prestigious prizes awarded to ERC grantees;
  • Three UK Universities feature in the top ten recipients of ERC Grants to date; and
  • 938 out of 2,606 Proof of Concept grants have been funded (36% average success rate).

 Mention was also made of the successful relaunch of the Synergy grant call following the 2012 and 2013 pilots, with the introduction of an improved, more flexible evaluation system which guaranteed fairer treatment of interdisciplinary projects. 27 Synergy grants were funded in 2018.
Further detailed analysis of the specific calls under ERC in 2018 are available in the full report.