European programmes

The CNRS is a major player in the development of the European Research Area and therefore an important contributor to the European integration process, in particular via the EU calls for proposals.

Horizon Europe

Horizon Europe is the EU’s key funding programme for research and innovation with a budget of €95.5 billion.

It tackles climate change, helps to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and boosts the EU’s competitiveness and growth.

The programme facilitates collaboration and strengthens the impact of research and innovation in developing, supporting and implementing EU policies while tackling global challenges. It supports creating and better dispersing of excellent knowledge and technologies.

It creates jobs, fully engages the EU’s talent pool, boosts economic growth, promotes industrial competitiveness and optimises investment impact within a strengthened European Research Area.

Legal entities from the EU and associated countries can participate.

[This page is being updated]


Horizon 2020

Within the “France-Europe 2020” strategic agenda, aimed at helping French research take on important challenges, and in keeping with the momentum of the Horizon 2020 framework programme, the CNRS strives to increase the participation of its research teams to European calls for proposals. In particular, it will encourage its scientists to answer calls for coordinating strategic scientific projects. Our institution will also continue to provide information and support to its researchers and encourage them to submit proposals.


Programme structure

The programme is based on three strategic pillars: excellent science, industrial leadership and societal challenges.

First pillar: excellent science

European Research Council – ERC

The ERC programmes are dedicated to exploratory research, based on scientific excellence. Depending on their profile, researchers can access three different grants for a maximum period of 5 years (up to 6 years for the Synergy Grants):

  • Starting Grant (StG): 2-7 years following completion of a PhD
  • Consolidator Grant (CoG) : 7 -12 years following completion of a PhD
  • Advanced Grant (AdG) : 12 years following completion of a PhD
  • Synergy Grant (SyG) : (group of two to four Principal Investigators of all profiles)

All Principal Investigators in an ERC frontier research project are eligible to apply for and participate in an ERC Proof of Concept Grant.

ERC contacts


Future and emerging technologies – FET

The FET project aims to turn Europe’s excellent science base into a competitive advantage. It relies on three complementary lines of action to address different methodologies and scales:

  • FET Open: funds projects around new ideas for novel future technologies, at an early stage when few researchers are working on a project topic
  • FET Proactive: aims to structure new interdisciplinary research communities
  • FET Flagship: long-term projects with a 1-billion euro budget, meant to encourage top-level European researchers to join forces and focus on meeting an ambitious scientific and technological challenge. Two projects were selected:
    • Graphene Flagship: its mission is to respond to today’s huge scientific and technological challenges through long-term, multidisciplinary research and development efforts.
    • Human Brain Project: aimed at building a research infrastructure to help advance neuroscience, medicine and computing.

National points of access

Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions (AMSC)

This programme is dedicated to researchers’ mobility and the development of their careers.  Candidates have complete freedom to choose their field of research.

The AMSC comprises four actions:

  • Innovative Training Networks (ITN): their role is to oversee the mobility of PhD students 
  • Individual Fellowships (IF): they focus on disciplinary, sectoral and geographical mobility
  • Research and Innovation Staff Exchange (RISE): this action enhances international cooperation through exchanges, from research to market
  • Co-funding of regional, national and international programmes (COFUND): this initiative is meant for top-level PhD students and post-docs

National points of access

Research Infrastructures (IRs)

The IRs programme is open to all European students. Its missions consist in:

  • Developing global research infrastructures
  • Giving national IRs pan European dimensions
  • Creating and operating ICT-based e-infrastructures
  • Strengthening the European policy of the IRs as well as promoting international cooperation

National points of access

Second PILLAR: industrial leadership

This pillar aims to accelerate the development of innovations that will give rise to future scientific breakthroughs.

It consists of three specific objectives:

  • Providing support for research and innovation, in the fields of information and communications technology (ICT), nanotechnology, advanced materials, biotechnology, advanced manufacturing and processing, and space.
  • Overcoming deficits in the availability of debt and equity finance for R&D and innovation-driven companies and projects at all stages of development.
  • Providing SME-tailored support to stimulate all forms of innovation in SMEs, targeting those with the potential to grow and internationalise across the single market and beyond.


Leadership in Enabling and Industrial Technologies (LEIT)

This part of the programme will contribute to boosting competitiveness, creating jobs and supporting growth. The focus is on areas of research and innovation where mastering new technological opportunities will enable and drive innovation.

The emphasis for LEIT actions will be on:

  • Research and innovation to strengthen Europe’s industrial capacities and business perspectives
  • Efficient ressource management
  • Contributions to solving societal challenges
  • Cross-cutting aspects, such as international cooperation and responsible research and innovation

The involvement of industrial participants is crucial in maximising the expected impact of these actions.

The objective is to achieve the EU’s Industrial policy goals, which represents an important component of the EU Strategy for Key Enabling Technologies (KET).

These technologies include:

  • Nanotechnologies
  • Advanced materials
  • Advanced manufacturing and processing
  • Biotechnology
  • Photonics
  • Micro- and nanoelectronics

KET are transverse: they are identified as ICT and NAAB in the calls for proposals.

  • Nanotechnologies, Advanced Materials, Advanced Manufacturing and Processing, and Biotechnology (NAAB)
  • Information and Communication Technologies (ICT)

Find out more

Fast track Innovation (FTI)

The FTI programme is a bottom-up innovation support scheme that promotes market-oriented innovation activities.

The FTI is transverse: calls for proposals can be found both in the second and third pillars of H2020.

To receive FTI funding, the project must meet the following criteria:

  • a sufficient level of maturity since the aim is to find commercial applications in the short term (less than 36 months after the launch of the project);
  • a consortium of 3 to 5 partners, with companies enjoying a prominent status (at least 60% of the project’s budget);
  • a 12 to 24 months duration.

National point of access

THIRD PILLAR: Societal Challenges

This pillar reflects the policy priorities of the Europe 2020 strategy and addresses major concerns shared by citizens in Europe and elsewhere.

A challenge-based approach will cover activities from research to market with a new focus on innovation-related activities, such as piloting, demonstration, test-beds, and support for public procurement and market uptake.

Funding will focus on the seven following challenges:

Health, demographic change and wellbeing
Food security, sustainable agriculture and forestry, marine and maritime and inland water research, and the bioeconomy
Secure, clean and efficient energy
Smart, green and integrated transport
Climate action, environment, resource efficiency and raw materials
Europe in a changing world – inclusive, innovative and reflective societies
Secure societies – protecting freedom and security of Europe and its citizens.

Cross-cutting programmes

The H2020 framework programme is transversal. Some projects and tools cover the different priorities of the three H2020 pillars:


Integrated into the H2020 programme, EURATOM aims to develop nuclear skills and expertise, with an emphasis on improving nuclear safety.


Science with and for Society

A cross-functional programme seeking to make science more attractive to Europeans by developing innovative ways of connecting it to society.


Spreading Excellence and Widening Participation

With a budget of 816.5 million euros for the 2014-2020 period, the “Spreading Excellence and Widening Participation” programme is designed to capitalise on the research and development potential of all European countries.


European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT)

The EIT aims to strengthen synergies and cooperation among businesses, education institutions and research organisations, thereby contributing to Europe’s competiveness. Its actions are built around a “knowledge triangle”: research, innovation and education.

EIT Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs) are the operational wing of the EIT. Their objective is to bring together universities, research organisms, public or private companies and financial institutions, as well as local and regional communities.

Three EIT Innovation Communities were launched in 2010:

Two new EIT Innovation Communities exist since 2014:

Joint Research Centre (JRC)

The Joint Research Centre is a Directorate General of the European Commission. It supervises seven research institutes located in five EU member states (Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain).

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Public Private Research Partnerships

Public-private partnerships are agreements that allow EU countries to set up joint research programmes. These cooperative tools must comply with the European Commission’s requirements for cohesion between its member states and industry in order to take on common challenges more effectively.

JTI – Joint Technology Initiatives

Created by the EU Commission under the FP7 framework programme, the Joint Technology Initiatives ensure a direct contribution from the private sector to the development of working programmes of interest to industry.

As part of the “Innovation Investment Package”, the Commission proposed five JTIs:

Not included in the “Innovation Investment Package”:

Contractual public-private partnerships (cPPPs)

cPPPS are contractual agreements between the Commission and business representatives. They have an impact on European industry and are accessible to businesses, universities, research institutions and innovative SMEs.

List of the cPPPs linked to the KET programme:

SPARC – Robotics
5G PPP (5G Infrastructure Public Private Partnership)
FoF (Factories of the Future)
E2B (Energy-efficient Buildings)
SPIRE (Sustainable Process Industry through Resource and Energy Efficiency)
EGVI (European Green Vehicles Initiative)
HPC (High Performance Computing)
BDV (Big Data Value)

Other European Programmes


As an important competitiveness cluster, EUREKA includes 40 member states working hand in hand to develop enabling technologies by supporting innovative projects.

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European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST)

Created in 1971, COST is the oldest European scientific cooperation programme. It aims to enhance collaboration between researchers, engineers and academics across the continent.

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European international cooperation projects


The European Interest Group (EIG) CONCERT-Japan is an international joint initiative created in December 2014 to support and promote science, technology and innovation (STI) cooperation between Europe and Japan. Partners representing France (CNRS), Germany (BMBF), Spain (AEI – MINECO), Norway (RCN), Lithuania (MITA), Slovakia (SAS), Turkey (TUBITAK), the Czech Republic (CAS & MEYS), Bulgaria (BNSF) and Japan (JST) organise calls for proposals on various themes. Nearly 7,800,000 euros were earmarked for the last four calls for proposals.

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Era-Net RUS +

ERA.Net RUS Plus is an ERA-NET with Russia. Its main objective is to improve innovation, research and development cooperation between the European Union and Russia. It follows ERA.Net RUS, in force between 2009 and 2013 to connect Russia with the European Research Area.

Between 2014 and 2016, ERA.Net RUS Plus has issued joint calls for transnational and excellent science projects in two priority areas for funding: one for “innovation projects” and the other for “science and technology projects”. In 2018, the EU Commission decided to extend the deadline for ERA.Net RUS Plus until October 2019.

The CNRS is a member of the Core Consortium and is involved in preparing the calls and overseeing their implementation.

Find out more   


Applying for European Project Engineers

The CNRS encourages researchers to coordinate European projects and employs European Project Engineers to support them.