Frequently asked questions


What are the objectives of Climate action, environment, resource efficiency and raw materials theme?

The specific objective is to achieve a resource- and water-efficient and climate change resilient economy and society, the protection and sustainable management of natural resources and ecosystems, and a sustainable supply and use of raw materials, in order to meet the needs of a growing global population within the sustainable limits of the planet’s natural resources and ecosystems. Activities will contribute to increasing European competitiveness and raw materials security and to improving well being, whilst assuring environmental integrity, resilience and sustainability with the aim of keeping average global warming below 2°C and enabling ecosystems and society to adapt to climate change and other environmental changes.

  • (a) Fighting and adapting to climate change The aim is to develop and assess innovative, cost-effective and sustainable adaptation and mitigation measures and strategies, targeting both CO2 and non-CO2 greenhouse gases and aerosols, and underlining both technological and non-technological green solutions, through the generation of evidence for informed, early and effective action and the networking of the required competences. Activities shall focus on improving the understanding of climate change and the risks associated with extreme events and abrupt climate-related changes with a view to providing reliable climate projections; assessing impacts at global, regional and local level, and vulnerabilities; developing innovative cost-effective adaptation and risk prevention and management measures; and supporting mitigation policies and strategies, including studies that focus on impact from other sectoral policies.
  • (b) Protecting the environment, sustainably managing natural resources, water, biodiversity and ecosystems The aim is to provide knowledge and tools for the management and protection of natural resources, in order to achieve a sustainable balance between limited resources and the present and future needs of society and the economy. Activities shall focus on furthering our understanding of biodiversity and the functioning of ecosystems, their interactions with social systems and their role in sustaining the economy and human well-being; developing integrated approaches to address water-related challenges and the transition to sustainable management and use of water resources and services; and providing knowledge and tools for effective decision making and public engagement.
  • (c) Ensuring the sustainable supply of non-energy and non-agricultural raw materials The aim is to improve the knowledge base on raw materials and develop innovative solutions for the cost-effective, resource-efficient and environmentally friendly exploration, extraction, processing, use and re-use, recycling and recovery of raw materials and for their substitution by economically attractive and environmentally sustainable alternatives with a lower environmental impact, including closed-loop processes and systems. Activities shall focus on improving the knowledge base on the availability of raw materials; promoting the sustainable and efficient supply, use and reuse of raw materials, including mineral resources, from land and sea; finding alternatives for critical raw materials; and improving societal awareness and skills on raw materials.
  • (d) Enabling the transition towards a green economy and society through eco-innovation The aim is to foster all forms of eco-innovation that enable the transition to a green economy. 39 Activities shall, inter alia, build upon and enhance those undertaken in the Eco-Innovation Programme and focus on strengthening eco-innovative technologies, processes, services and products, including exploring ways to reduce the quantities of raw materials in production and consumption, overcoming barriers in this context, and boosting their market uptake and replication, with special attention for SMEs; supporting innovative policies, sustainable economic models and societal changes; measuring and assessing progress towards a green economy; and fostering resource efficiency through digital systems.
  • (e) Developing comprehensive and sustained global environmental observation and information systems The aim is to ensure the delivery of the long-term data and information required to address this challenge. Activities shall focus on the capabilities, technologies and data infrastructures for Earth observation and monitoring from both remote sensing and in situ measurements that can continuously provide timely and accurate information and permit forecasts and projections. Free, open and unrestricted access to interoperable data and information will be encouraged. Activities shall help define future operational activities of the Copernicus programme and enhance the use of Copernicus data for research activities.
  • (f) Cultural heritage The aim is to research into the strategies, methodologies and tools needed to enable a dynamic and sustainable cultural heritage in Europe in response to climate change. Cultural heritage in its diverse physical forms provides the living context for resilient communities responding to multivariate changes. Research in cultural heritage requires a multidisciplinary approach to improve the understanding of historical material. Activities shall focus on identifying resilience levels through observations, monitoring and modelling as well as provide for a better understanding on how communities perceive and respond to climate change and seismic and volcanic hazards.

Where I can find information about new Horizon 2020 work programmes?

Please visit: All H2020 work programmes are available online.

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.

Who is my NCP?

Please check

There you can find NCPs in different countries and topics.

Which are the conditions for subcontracting costs to be eligible?

To be eligible, costs for subcontracting must fulfil the general conditions for actual costs, i.e. incurred during the action duration, necessary, linked to the action, etc. These conditions are defined in Article 6.1. (a) of the Model Grant Agreement.

The eligible costs are the prices charged by the subcontractor to the beneficiary (usually containing a profit margin). The beneficiary must award the subcontracts on the basis of best value-for money (or lowest price) and absence of conflict of interests. (source Luxinnovation )

Is there a maximum threshold for subcontracting?

Specific rules may apply for subcontracts of a value higher than EUR 60 000. The Commission’s/Agency’s authorising officer will consider the principle of proportionality, i.e. taking into account the value of the contracts and the relative size of the EU contributions in relation to the total cost of the action. These rules must refer to a specific provision in the H2020 Financial Regulation. Also, the upper limit may be increased if this is justified (by a risk assessment, for example). (source Luxinnovation)

What should I do, if there are two PICs for my organisation? Which one should I choose?

This means that your organisation has been registered twice (possible when there are different departments), and thus one registration is a duplicate. Duplicate registrations (and the respective temporary PICs) will be identified by the Validation Services if the proposal is successful and the participants enter negotiation. Your organisation would then be notified about the PIC which has been validated as permanent, and it is that permanent PIC that you would use in any applications. Until a PIC is validated as permanent, you can use any of the received temporary PICs when submitting your proposal.

The European emblem (flag) may be used by third parties only if is not:
likely to create confusion between the user and the European Union or the Council of Europe;
linked to aims or activities incompatible with the principles and objectives of the European Union or the Council of Europe.
In the case of EU-funded projects:
logos that are developed for projects funded by the EU, and that are not owned by the EU, may not be identical or similar to the European emblem (this includes logos that incorporate the twelve stars);
the European emblem should be given appropriate prominence when displayed in association with a logo;
contractors are exempt from the obligation to obtain prior permission from the Commission to use the emblem, but are subject to the general third-party-use restrictions mentioned above. This tacit authorization to use the European emblem implies no right of exclusive use. It does not permit the appropriation of the emblem, or of any similar trade mark or logo, whether by registration or by any other means.

For further information please see: Europa – The European Flag (see the Graphics guide to the European flag link for more details) (Source: EU Commission)

Guides on funding:

How to find the calls?

The calls for proposals will be published under Work programs (WP). Up to now, the EC published these work programs annually. Under H2020, the Directorates of the EC will set up the priorities on a multiannual basis. These priorities will serve as political narratives for the work programs with a 2 year-duration.

WPs under H2020 shall be presented user-friendlier, making it more accessible for newcomers too. Under Horizon 2020, four work programs are planed:

  • WP 2014/2015
  • WP 2016/2017
  • WP 2018/2019
  • WP 2020

The EC publishes the annual work programs on the following website:

What is a JPI? and How can I participate?

The overall aim of the Joint Programming process is to pool national research efforts in order to make better use of Europe’s precious public R&D resources and to tackle common European challenges more effectively in a few key areas.

First you need to make sure is your country joint with the activities of this specific JPI you are interested in. Thereafter please contact the organisation dealing with this JPI in your country for further assistance (e.g Ministry of Environment etc). More info:

Proposal submission:

Topics following a two-stage submission and evaluation modus: Do the same evaluators perform stage-1 and stage-2 evaluation?

No, usually different evaluators are involved. However, the EC normally tries to include at least one stage-1 evaluator in the Panel for stage-2 proposals

Two-stage submission and evaluation modus: do evaluators of stage-2 proposal have access to stage 1 evaluation report?

No, usually the evaluators of stage-2 have no access to the report. However, the EC can make the report available to the evaluators of full proposals

Do the TRLs (Technology Readiness Levels) mentioned in the topic descriptions reflect the desired evolution during the project or a TRL range at the end of the project?

In general, topics specify a range of TRLs. The bulk of each project’s activities are expected to be within the indicated range, and the target TRL is expected to be reached at the end of the project.
For topics where only the target TRL at the end of the project is indicated, activities are also expected to span a range of TRLs, depending on the state of the art. (Source: EU Commission)

How is innovation defined in Horizon 2020 and how does Horizon 2020 strengthen the approach to innovation?

Horizon 2020 will support all forms of innovation. This includes innovation that results from research and development (R&D) activities. It also includes innovation that results from other activities, such as finding new uses or combinations of existing technologies or developing new business models or new ways of interacting with users. While innovation is generally understood as the commercial introduction of a new or significantly improved product or service, innovations can also be for non-commercial applications such as for better public services or for addressing social needs (‘social innovation’).
Horizon 2020 will strengthen the approach to innovation in a number of ways. First, it will increase support for testing, piloting, and demonstrations of new technologies, such that their potential in real world environments can be better understood.
Second, Horizon 2020 will support the market demand for innovation, including through the development of specifications for new standards and through supporting public bodies to procure R&D services or innovative products and services. New approaches are also foreseen, such as inducement prizes that reward the achievement of specific goals, encouraging a wider range of innovators to become involved. Furthermore, bottom-up activities will be strengthened, and call topic descriptions will be less prescriptive, allowing Europe’s brightest and most creative minds to propose their own solutions.
Third, Horizon 2020 introduces a new SME instrument specifically designed to support SMEs to innovate.
Fourth, Horizon 2020 will scale up financial instruments in which the public sector shares the risk with the private sector in make investments available for the development of innovative companies or projects.

For further information please see: Horizon 2020 web site

International Cooperation

Can researchers at Swiss institutions participate and get funding?

Although Switzerland is at least until the end of 2016 not associated to pillars 2 and 3 of Horizon 2020 (including the societal challenge “Climate action, environment, resource efficiency and raw materials”), Swiss organisations can participate in Research Actions, Research and Innovation Actions and Coordination and Support Actions, as long as the minimum numbers of partners is fulfilled. Swiss institutions can normally not receive funding from the EC, but there is a national system of payments in place that covers the budgets of Swiss partners.

Funding of applicants from non-EU countries

Pursuant to Article 10.2 a) of the Regulation 1290/2013 on rules for participation and dissemination in Horizon 2020 legal entities from third countries are eligible for funding in indirect actions under Horizon 2020 on an exceptional basis, if their participation is deemed essential by the Commission for carrying out the action. See:

According to published guidelines under Horizon 2020 manual (, such participation is deemed essential for carrying out the action by the Commission (as an Authorising Officer) if the potential participant from a third country provides outstanding competence/expertise, access to research infrastructure, access to particular geographical environments or access to data.

For the particular case of eligibility of travelling and /or dissemination costs please consult the guidelines provided under Article 6 of the Annotated Model Grant Agreement (available at:

Under which exceptional circumstances can Legal entities established in countries not listed in Annex A of the Work Programme receive EU funding?

Legal entities established in countries not listed in Annex A of the Work Programme will have to cover their own participation costs. In exceptional circumstances these entities can receive EU funding if:
there is a bilateral agreement between that country and the EU. For instance, researchers in the United States are eligible for EU funding when participating in the health programme on the basis of a reciprocal EU – US/NIH arrangement, or
the country is explicitly identified in the relevant work programme and call for proposal as being eligible for funding, or
their participation is deemed by the European Commission to be essential for carrying out the action. (Source: EU Commission)

Open Access & Open Data

What is Data Management Plan that should be included in proposals as a draft?

With DMP you should try to answer to the following questions: what data will be exploted, what standards will be used, what data will be collected and similar.