Horizon 2020 is the eighth framework programme funding research, technological development, and innovation. The programme's name has been modified to "Framework Programme for Research and Innovation". The framework programme is implemented by the European Commission, the executive body of the "European Union, either by various internal directorate general (DGs), such as the directorate general for research and innovation (DG RTD) or the directorate general for communications networks, content and Technology, or by executive agencies such as the Research Executive Agency (REA), the Executive Agency for SMEs (EASME), or the ERC Executive Agency (ERCEA). The framework programme's objective is to complete the "European Research Area (ERA) by coordinating national research policies and pooling research funding in some areas to avoid duplication. Horizon 2020 itself is seen as a policy instrument to implement other high-level policy initiatives of the European Union, such as "Europe 2020 and Innovation Union. The programme runs from 2014–20 and provides an estimated "€80 billion of funding, an increase of 23 per cent on the previous phase.
Horizon 2020 provides grants to research and innovation projects through open and competitive calls for proposals. Legal entities from any country are eligible to submit project proposals to these calls. Participation from outside the European Union is explicitly encouraged. Participants from European Union member states and countries associated to Horizon 2020 are automatically funded. Associated countries have signed an association agreement for the purposes of this framework programme. To date, 14 countries are associated to Horizon 2020. Switzerland is considered as "partly associated" due to the "2014 referendums held by "Switzerland, which free movement of workers between Switzerland and the EU. Swiss organisations continue to be active participants in Horizon 2020, however, their participation is sometimes covered by national funding. "Israel is an "associated country" to Horizon 2020. A central point of negotiation was funding to projects beyond the "Green Line;. Israel published its views in an Appendix to the official documents. Horizon 2020 supports "Open access to research results, in order to create greater efficiency, improve transparency and accelerate innovation.
Horizon 2020 is also implementing the "European environmental research and innovation policy, which is aimed at defining and turning into reality a transformative agenda for greening the economy and the society as a whole so as to achieve a truly "sustainable development.
The programme consists of three main research areas that are called "pillars": The first pillar, "Excellent Science", focuses on basic science. It has a budget of 24 billion euro. The second pillar is "Industrial Leadership", with a budget of 14 billion euro. It is managed by DG Enterprise and based on Europe 2020 and Innovation Union strategies. The third pillar funds potential solutions to social and economic problems, "Societal challenges" (SC).
The structure follows the previous framework programme (FP7, 2007–13) to the level of the sub-programmes under the pillars. In the industrial pillar the goal is to find ways to modernize European industries that have suffered from a fragmented European market. In societal challenges the goal is implementation of solutions, less on technology development.
A network of Open Access repositories, archives and journals that support Open Access policies. The OpenAIRE Consortium is a Horizon 2020 (FP8) project, aimed to support the implementation of the "EC and "ERC "Open Access policies.
Its successor OpenAIREplus is aimed at linking the aggregated research publications to the accompanying research and project information, datasets and author information.
Open access to scientific peer reviewed publications has evolved from a pilot project with limited scope in FP7 to an underlying principle in the Horizon 2020 funding scheme, obligatory for all H2020 funded projects. The goal is to make as much European funded research output as possible available to all, via the OpenAIRE portal.— openaire.eu FAQ
The "Zenodo research data repository is a product of OpenAIRE. The OpenAIRE portal is online.
The programmes have been criticized on various grounds, such as actually diminishing Europe's industrial competitiveness and failing to deliver fundamental excellence and global economic competitiveness. In 2010, the "Austrian Research Promotion Agency launched a petition calling for a simplification of administrative procedures, which attracted over 13,000 signatories. The numerous other criticisms of the petitioners were later distilled into a Green Paper. In Horizon 2020 there are significant simplifications: e.g. fewer funding rates (increasing the funding rates of the large companies), less reporting, less auditing, shorter time from proposal to project kick-off.