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Horizon Europe funding – Pillar II basics

Pillar II supports research that addresses societal challenges and aims to strengthen technological and industrial capacities in Europe.

Calls in Pillar II are impact-driven, they are very focussed and follow a top-down approach. This means that the call responds to policies set out by the EC, telling us the topic, what societal challenge that topic is addressing, as well as the scope and expected objectives for that funding call - this is very different from the approach in Pillar I (MSCA, ERC) where applicants propose their own objectives.

There are 3 types of funding in Pillar II:

  • Research and Innovation actions (RIA): projects that establish new knowledge or explore the feasibility of a new or improved technology, product, process, service or solution. The funding rate is 100% for all partners
  • Innovation actions (IA): projects and activities focused on bringing a pre-existing concept or innovation closer to practical application on market or in society. The funding rate is 100% for non-profit entities, and 70% for other participants.
  • Coordination and support actions (CSA): not aimed at research as such, these are support activities e.g., establishing networks or platforms or mapping existing knowledge on a certain topic. Funding rate is 100% for all participants.

A huge amount of information is already written in the documentation (work-programme) available in the Funding and Tenders Portal. You will see it is organised around a ‘Destination’, which describes the expected impacts, and a ‘Topic’, which describes the related expected outcomes critical to the achievement of such impacts. Each destination addresses one or more of the 4 ‘Key Strategic Orientations’ of Horizon Europe and, in total, there are 32 expected impacts that have been defined by the EC.

In the call information, details will be given about the expected objectives, partnerships, synergies with other projects, involvement of groups and sectors, as well as funding conditions such as the starting and final technology readiness level (TRL) and cross-cutting factors to consider (artificial intelligence, digital agenda, etc). Other relevant information to look out for is the total funding for that call and expected budget for each proposal, as well as the criteria for evaluation.

A proposal to Pillar II should be co-created by an international consortia formed of strategic partners/actors that have a part in solving the challenge - across sectors (research organisations, companies, public institutions, NGOs, etc) and often across the value chain. The proposal has to consider and involve the final users and communities that will be affected by the project´s results.
In summary, Pillar II calls are based on the expected impact - the long-term wider effects on society, the environment, the economy and science – and it is the applicant who puts forward a feasible and credible way in which to achieve them with their project proposal.


Guide to prepare proposals