Policy Background

Horizon 2020 Framework Programme (H2020)

Horizon 2020 is the biggest EU Research and Innovation programme ever with nearly €80 billion of funding available over 7 years (2014 to 2020) – in addition to the private investment that this money will attract. It promises more breakthroughs, discoveries and world-firsts by taking great ideas from the lab to the market.

Horizon 2020 is the financial instrument implementing the Innovation Union, a Europe 2020 flagship initiative aimed at securing Europe's global competitiveness.

Seen as a means to drive economic growth and create jobs, Horizon 2020 has the political backing of Europe’s leaders and the Members of the European Parliament. They agreed that research is an investment in our future and so put it at the heart of the EU’s blueprint for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth and jobs.

By coupling research and innovation, Horizon 2020 is helping to achieve this with its emphasis on excellent science, industrial leadership and tackling societal challenges. The goal is to ensure Europe produces world-class science, removes barriers to innovation and makes it easier for the public and private sectors to work together in delivering innovation.

Horizon 2020 is open to everyone, with a simple structure that reduces red tape and time so participants can focus on what is really important. This approach makes sure new projects get off the ground quickly – and achieve results faster.

The EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation will be complemented by further measures to complete and further develop the European Research Area. These measures will aim at breaking down barriers to create a genuine single market for knowledge, research and innovation.

European Transport research contributes to finding solutions to the increasing mobility of people, with low-carbon technologies, clean vehicles, smart mobility systems and integrated services for passengers and freight.
Efficient transport is a fundamental condition for sustainable prosperity in Europe. Transport provides citizens with essential means of mobility and contributes to employment, growth and global exports. The European transport industry represents 6.3% of the Union's GDP and employs nearly 13 million people.
However, our transport systems and habits are too dependent on oil, which will become scarcer and is a serious polluter of our planet. Transport accounts for about 63% of oil consumption and 29% of all CO2 emissions.
Unless the present trends are corrected, the economic costs of traffic congestion will increase by about 50% by 2050, the accessibility gap between central and peripheral areas will widen and the social costs of accidents and pollution will continue to rise.
European research aims to strengthen the competitiveness of our transport industries and to develop a better European transport system for the benefit of all.
In the transport sector, research is at the core of developing new technologies for greener, smarter, more efficient transport means and innovative solutions for safer, more sustainable and inclusive mobility.

Institutional framework of transport research

Transport-related research at EU level is mainly funded and commissioned by four Directorates-General of the European Commission, the Directorates-General for Mobility and Transport (DG MOVE), for Research (DG RTD), for Environment (DG ENV) and for Communications Networks, Content and Technology (DG CONNECT).

Relevant European Commission Directorates-General and Executive Agencies

Funding Sources and Support Initiatives

  • Information system - Advisory Council for Aeronautics Research in Europe (ACARE). ACARE provides a network for strategic research in aeronautics and air transport to meet the needs of society and to secure global leadership for Europe in this sector.
  • Funding programme - Connecting Europe Facility (CEF; 2014–2020). CEF supports the development of high performing, sustainable and efficiently interconnected trans-European networks in the fields of transport, energy and digital services.  The Innovation and Networks Executive Agency (INEA) implements most of the CEF programme budget, in total €27.4 billion out of €30.4 billion (€22.4 billion for Transport, €4.7 billion for Energy, and €0.3 billion for Telecom). On-going CEF calls can be found here: CEF Transport 2018 and CEF Digital.
  • Funding programme - Co-operation in Science and Technology (COST; 1971–ongoing).COST is an intergovernmental framework for European Cooperation in Science and Technology coordinating nationally funded research on a European level. Budget: € 250 million for 2007–2013.
  • Funding programmeLIFE is the EU’s financial instrument supporting environmental, nature conservation and climate action projects throughout the EU. Since 1992, LIFE has co-financed more than 4500 projects. For the 2014-2020 funding period, LIFE will contribute approximately €3.4 billion to the protection of the environment and climate.
  • Network - EUREKA. EUREKA is a pan-European network for market oriented, industrial R&D.
  • Information system - European Rail Research Advisory Council (ERRAC). ERRAC is the European Technology Platform for Rail Transport set up at the initiative of the European Commission to achieve consensus on priorities for European railway research and to guide research towards a common strategy.
  • Information system - European Road Transport Research Advisory Council (ERTRAC). ERTRAC represents a diverse group of contributors to European road transport: consumers, vehicle manufacturers, component suppliers, road infrastructure operators and developers, service providers, energy suppliers, research organisations, and cities and regions as well as public policy experts and authorities at European and national levels.
  • Information system - European Space Technology Platform (ESTP). ESTP aims to create an independent technology portfolio facilitating European strategic independence for access to and exploration in space, and supporting the development of next-generation technologies to best serve Europe’s ambitions in space-related sectors
  • Information system - Forschungs Informations System (FIS), on behalf of the German Ministry for Transport and digital Infrastructure, provides up to date information on recent transport research to support the knowledge transfer between research and application.
  • Network - ETNA2020 is the network of the National Contact Points for the 4th Societal Challenge ‘Smart, Green and Integrated Transport’ of Horizon 2020, the current European Framework Programme and major funding source for Research & Innovation (R&I) in Europe and beyond. It offers the Transport R&I constituency direct opportunities for learning, training and networking, taking into account the variety of its actors, strengthening its internal existing ties, and engaging new stakeholders.