Horizon Europe for business

Home Participate Horizon Europe for business

Horizon Europe Programme supports innovation in business within the frames of all the pillars. Pillar 1 offers funding of doctoral & postdoctoral study programmes and exchanges under Marie Sklodowska-Curie Action. Thematic clusters of Pillar 2 present funding opportunities for business in the forms of grants (from 60 to 100% of costs). With a budget of around 13.6 billion €, Pillar 3 nurtures start-ups and SMEs focussed on deeptech and breakthrough innovations.

Horizon Europe Programme mainly provides financing for collaborative projects, however certain bodies (e.g. EIC Accelerator, EIT) accompany individual projects.


Vast majority of calls for proposals require a team of at least 3 partner organisations from 3 different EU or associated countries. At least one among them must be from an EU country.

However, several calls are individual, e.g. Eurostars require 2 partners.

Participation in Horizon Europe program allows business entities to:

  • develop innovation capacities and benefit from knowledge and skills of other experts;
  • diversify financial risks as every partner participates in the project implementation with co-financing of public powers;
  • limit technical risks as every partner is responsible for its part of the project;
  • strengthen competitivity through access to the innovation market;
  • share project results;
  • reinforce strategy and international positioning.

Thematic calls

The calls are organised in thematic roadmap or “working program” covering a 2 years period and providing details on the budgets, eligibility and other conditions. More information you can find at the special EU portal.

Public-private partnerships

Objective of this type of calls is to bring together and mobilise R&I communities of the same sector at the European level. Commission and Industry representatives very often co-finance equally the projects, so Industrial partners participate in the calls’ description which later became a part of the working program. This type of instruments completes classic calls.

European Innovation Council (EIC) helps to identify, develop and scale up breakthrough technologies and companies, which are crucial for EU policies to achieve the green and digital transition and help ensure future open strategic autonomy in critical technologies.

Two actions are open for collaborative projects:

  • EIC Pathfinder – TRL 1 to 4: supports emerging breakthrough technologies. It facilitates fundamental research to develop scientific basis to foster breakthrough innovations.
  • EIC Transition – TRL 4 to 5: supports maturity stage and transition of the innovation to the market.

European Innovation Ecosystems (EIE) creates more connected and efficient innovation ecosystems to support the scaling of businesses,  encourage innovation and stimulate collaborative projects among national, regional and local innovation actors.

EIEs achieve the goals through two destinations: CONNECT and INNOVSMES.

CONNECT destination focus on building interconnected, inclusive innovation ecosystems across the EU by drawing on the existing strengths of national, regional and local ecosystems and encouraging the involvement of all actors and territories to reinforce network connectivity for sustainably business growth and to set, undertake, and achieve collective ambitions towards challenges for the benefit of society, including green, digital, and social transitions.

INNOVSMES destination support actions of the European Partnership on Innovative Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs), which help innovative SMEs to increase their research and innovation (R&I) capacity and productivity and successfully embed in global value chains and access new markets.

European Institute of Innovation & Technology (EIT) increases Europe’s ability to innovate by nurturing entrepreneurial talent and supporting new ideas. EIT helps businesses, education and research bodies work together to create an environment conducive for innovation and entrepreneurship in Europe.

EIT model of innovation-driven knowledge triangle seeks to promote dynamic, multi-country partnerships, known as Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs). KICs are Europe-wide networks focused on a specific societal challenge.

Currently nine KICs are operational:  EIT Digital, EIT Climate, EIT InnoEnergy, EIT RawMaterials, EIT Food, EIT Manufacturing, EIT Urban Mobility, EIT Culture & Creativity and EIT Health.

Each KIC could offer support & funding opportunities by designing collaborative projects (research and innovation actions).

TRL means technology readiness level. This scale is applied to the project proposals to evaluate the maturity level of a technology. The scale consists of 9 maturity levels (from 1 – basic to 9 – strong). The higher level is, the closer technology to the market will be.


EIC Pathfinder supports the exploration of innovative ideas for radically new technologies. It offers opportunities for individual teams and small consortia (two partners).
Grants could be up to 3 to 4 million € to support early stage development of future technologies.

EIC Transition funds the maturation and validation of novel technology in the lab and in relevant application environments. It also supports the development of a business case and (business) model towards the innovation’s future commercialisation.
Transition projects should address both technology and market/business development, including learning processes based on early customer or user feedback.
Amount of grants is up to 2.5 million € to validate and demonstrate technology.

EIC Accelerator provides support to start-ups and SMEs :

  • having innovative, game changing product, service or business model that could create new markets or disrupt existing ones in Europe and worldwide;
  • having ambition and commitment to scale up,
  • looking for substantial funding but the risks involved are too high for private investors alone to invest.

Several grant schemes are available from 2.5 to 15 million euros.

EIT programs «Innovation» or «Business Creation» offer support to individual start-ups, SME and enterprises in the spheres of KICs’ actions (health, digital, food, climate, etc).