The European Commission has published scoping papers for the Horizon 2020 work programmes 2018-2020 in December 2016; these are used as a basis for the work programmes.

UKRO understands that the work programme will have less detail for 2020 to allow flexibility for changes and to bridge to the next EU Framework Programme. We expect the work programme to have more emphasis on achieving impact, with bigger calls and topics that will be more mission-oriented and which will include better linkages between impact at topic, call and Programme level. UKRO understands there will be four new focus areas; in the areas of sustainable development/climate, digitisation, the circular economy and security. For these calls, topics are coordinated between different societal challenges and we can expect bigger budgets and a mission-oriented approach. We also expect more joint calls to tackle low participation of third countries. Researchers can contact their University European Liaison Officers for details on work programmes and calls, which are already available.


The process for approval has been slower this year due to the Interim Evaluation of Horizon 2020, the outcomes of which (together with the Lamy Report) will feed into the development of the 2018-2020 work programme. Final drafts of the work programme are currently being discussed by the Member State Programme Committees. We expect the European Commission to start pre-publishing final drafts of these work programmes towards the end of this month. The final adoption and publication of the 2018-2020 Work Programme is expected in late October 2017.


Funding opportunities under Horizon 2020 are set out in multi-annual work programmes. The work programmes are prepared by the European Commission within the framework provided by the Horizon 2020 legislation and through a strategic programming process integrating EU policy objectives in the priority setting. The preparation of work programmes involves the consultation of stakeholders and agreement with Member States through dedicated Programme Committees.

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