Horizon 2020

Horizon 2020, the EU's current framework programme for research and innovation runs from 2014 to 2020 with a budget of nearly EUR 80 billion. Horizon 2020 is fully open to international cooperation. It is the biggest EU research and innovation programme ever. It will lead to more breakthroughs, discoveries and world-firsts by taking great ideas from the lab to the market. Horizon 2020 is based on 3 pillars: Excellent Science, Industrial Leadership and Societal Challenges.


The Work Programme 2016/2017 has been published. Calls for proposals covering nearly 600 topics worth almost 16 billion euro are all open to researchers and innovators from China, with deadlines in 2016 and 2017. In line with Commissioner Moedas' strategic priorities, Horizon 2020 will be open to innovation, open to science and open to the world.


  • Chinese participation is welcomed in ALL Calls for Proposals of Horizon 2020.
  • Connect the best teams and individual researchers from China with Europe’s excellence in research and innovation
  • Access to Europe's knowledge, access to data, access to infrastructures and access to world-leading scientific networks
  • Boost your individual research career and contribute to boost innovative growth!

Research and innovation stakeholders from China are encouraged to become partners in collaborative research projects, to apply to mobility schemes under the Marie-Sklodowska-Curie Actions or to apply for an excellence grant from the European Research Council.

In addition to the general openness of all topics, in the 2016/2017 calls several topics are specifically targeting co-operation with China. In these flagged topics the participation of Chinese partners is strongly encouraged and will add value to the proposals. Check out the list of Topics Targeting China 2016/2017!

The EU and China are committed to develop research and innovation flagship initiatives in a selected number of strategic priority areas of joint interest: Food, Agriculture, Biotechnologies; Aviation and Aeronautics, Sustainable Urbanisation.


On 16 December 2015 the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology has launched its first call for proposals under the EU China Co-funding Mechanism (CFM) for Research and Innovation. Up to 200 million RMB, or 28 million euro, will be made available annually by the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) on the Chinese side for the benefit of China-based entities that will participate in joint projects with European partners under Horizon 2020. The deadlines of the first MOST call under the CFM are: 

  • 31 March 2016 for the Chinese participants in the Horizon 2020 projects selected under Work Programme 2014/15 and under Work Programme 2016
  • 31 July 2017 for the Chinese participants in Horizon 2020 proposals under Work Programme 2016

The CFM will pave the way for deepened cooperation between European and Chinese research and innovation stakeholders. It will also be open to a variety of thematic areas such as food, agriculture, biotechnology, information and communication technology, space, aviation, energy, health, transportation, water resources, energy conservation, advanced manufacturing, new materials, sustainable urbanization, young scientists exchange activities.

Opportunities for Hong Kong and Macao S.A.R.

A similar mechanism, the "EC-RGC Collaboration Scheme 2016/17", has been launched by the Research Grants Council of Hong Kong (RGC). RGC allocates an annual budget of HK$ 9 million for the benefit of Hong Kong researchers that will participate in joint projects with EU partners under Horizon 2020. The application deadline of the first Call for Proposals of the scheme is 04 July 2016 offering funding for participation in projects of the work programme 2016/2017.

Researchers in Macao can benefit from the newly launched "EU-Macao Collaboration Scheme for Research and Innovation" of the Macao Science and Technology Development Fund (FDCT). FDCT With maximum amount of funding per project at $5 million patacas and maximum funding limit per year at $1 million patacas, FDCT provides financial support to Macao partners in selected Horizon 2020 projects under all themes.


The European Commission and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) signed an Implementing Arrangement in June 2015 that will foster cooperation between the European Research Council (ERC) and NSFC. In order to promote scientific cooperation among top level researchers, this implementing arrangement will give the opportunity to young Chinese researchers who are active holders of NSFC grants to establish and pursue research collaboration with Europe-based scientists already supported by the European Research Council (ERC). The first Call for Expression of Interest for NSFC grantees has been launched in January 2016.


Short- and long-term mobility of researchers both ways is an important driver of the EU China research and innovation partnership. The Excellent Science Pillar of Horizon 2020 offers dedicated programmes like Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions and The European Research Council (ERC) to support the best research talents irrespective of their nationality with fellowships and grants. The ERC in particular is bringing "Great ideas to life".

DG Education and Culture and the Chinese Ministry of Education (MoE) are responsible for the High level People-to-People Dialogue (HPPD) which was established with a Joint Declaration in April 2012 and constitutes the Third Pillar of the EU China relations. It covers education, culture, youth, multilingualism and also mobility of researchers. Mobility of students, faculty and researchers is also supported through the new Programme Erasmus+.

More support can be provided through EURAXESS China. EURAXESS is an EU-funded platform facilitating the mobility of researchers that has been present in China since 2009. It assists researchers on mobility-related issues, in cooperation with the EU Delegation.


Distinguished Chinese researchers and innovators are strongly encouraged to register as prospective experts to the EU database. Registration is free of charge. The database of experts is used by the European Commission mainly to select and appoint peer reviewers of project proposals. Appointed experts will receive a daily honorarium and reimbursement of travel and accommodation costs for their occasional short-term assignments. The desired areas of expertise comprise every research discipline included in the Horizon 2020 calls.

More information (on eligibility, remuneration, workload etc.) and registeration details can be found on the following website. http://ec.europa.eu/research/participants/portal/desktop/en/experts/index.html

Make best use of Europe’s excellent opportunities in research and innovation!


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