European Union


The EU funds research in a variety of ways as part of Horizon 2020 – the Framework Programme for Research and Innovation. Its funding programmes include support for collaborative research projects as well as individual actions such as Marie Skłodowska-Curie and ERC Grants.

Horizon 2020 – the New Framework Programme for Research and Innovation

Horizon 2020, the new Framework Programme for Research and Innovation, is the European Union’s main instrument for promoting research, technological development and innovation from 2014 to 2020. The EU has set three main emphases with Horizon 2020:

  • promoting excellent science,
  • strengthening industrial leadership and
  • addressing major societal concerns, such as health, climate, energy, food safety and security.

The various programmes of Horizon 2020 make a significant contribution to the networking of the European research landscape and the formation of a European Research Area (ERA). It is the biggest EU Research and Innovation programme ever with nearly 75 billion euros of funding available over 7 years.

Facts and Figures

  • Nearly 75 billion euros of funding is being made available (2014–2020)

    The excellent science area will have access to a total of over 24.2 billion euros. The ERC will receive the largest budget in this area with 13.1 billion euros, while 6.2 billion euros will be made available for Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions. The remaining funding will be divided into 2.6 billion euros for future and emerging technologies (FET) and roughly 2.4 billion euros for European research infrastructures.

  • Essentially, Horizon 2020 is focusing on the three key areas: excellent science, industrial leadership and societal challenges

The two programmes ERC Grants and Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions will award funding for international research collaborations and scholarships for researchers who are at the beginning of an independent research career.

ERC Grants – Support for Excellent Scientists

Support for excellent researchers is an important element of the Horizon 2020 framework programme. It is the responsibility of the European Research Council (ERC).

The ERC will receive roughly 17.5% of the overall Horizon 2020 budget for this task. It will enable individual scientists and their teams to conduct cutting-edge research in Europe. In a bottom-up approach, outstanding researchers from different fields can apply for various forms of funding. The grants are awarded for a period of up to five years with a funding amount of up to 3.5 million euros, depending on the funding line.

The German National Contact Point ERC (NCP ERC) offers its services to any researcher with a (future) host institution in Germany. Besides rendering individual advice to applicants, the NCP ERC also offers workshops and information sessions on ERC in Germany.

The NCP ERC is a collaboration between the EU-Bureau of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (EU-Büro des BMBF) and the European Liaison Office of the German Research Organisations (Kooperationsstelle EU der Wissenschaftsorganisationen, KoWi),
More: and

Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions – Support of Research Training and Career Development

The human resources and mobility activities of Horizon 2020 also include Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA), a programme that primarily aims to improve researchers’ mobility and career development. MSC Actions offer a variety of different sponsorship programmes, ranging from individual fellowships for experienced researchers to (host-driven) institutional actions providing structured doctoral training for early-stage researchers.

Moreover, MSC Actions comprise an international exchange programme for research and innovation staff. In addition to mobility between countries, MSC Actions aim to support specific partnerships between the academic and the non-academic sector.

The German National Contact Point MSCA (NCP MSCA) provides information and advice relating to participation in the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA).The NCP MSCA is located at the Project Management Agency of the German Aerospace Center (DLR-PT).

More: (in German) and

Contact: National Contact Points for EU Funding

Working on behalf of the German government, the Network of German National Contact Points for Horizon 2020 offers free-of-charge advice and information on EU funding instruments to potential applicants at German research institutions. The following services are provided:

  • Individual advice in all questions concerning the application
  • Legal and financial information with regard to grant preparation and project management
  • Proposal writing and information events in Germany

More: The Network of National Contact Points for Horizon 2020 in Germany is coordinated by the DLR-PT, EU Bureau of the BMBF.



DLR-Projektträger, EU-Bureau of the BMBF


Heinrich-Konen-Str. 1

53227 Bonn



work Phone
+49 228 3821-1630


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EU: Funding for Junior Researchers

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European Research Council (ERC) supports researchers at the beginning of an independent research career with grants that are intended to fund projects of fundamental, ground-breaking and visionary research. More EU: Funding for Junior Researchers

EU: Funding for Senior Researchers

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