Collaborative Funding: Global Challenges

The second and third pillars of the Horizon Europe programme are dedicated to collaborative funding opportunities which tackle specific industrial/technological and global challenges that Europe faces. Consortia usually include a combination of academic and industry representatives who come together to deliver innovative projects ranging in size, duration and budget depending on the individual topic criteria.

These projects are called ‘collaborative projects’ as they require the involvement of at least 3 organisations from 3 different EU Member States (MS) and/or Associated Countries (AC) with at least 1 partner from a Member State (except CSA – min 1 MS/AC)​. Third Countries (non-MS/AC) can also participate; however, their costs may have to be covered by a national co-funding mechanism.

The terms of the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement (Brexit deal) allows the UK to become an Associated Country. This means access to Horizon Europe on the same terms as a Member State. The UK therefore counts towards the minimum requirement of 3 different Member states (MS) and/or Associated Countries (AC).

Click the drop-down links below to find out more about the main collaborative funding opportunities within the Global Challenges & European Industrial Competitiveness under Pillar II.

Global Challenges

The Global Challenges (GC) pillar aims to helptheUN achieve its Sustainable Development Goals and boosts Europe’s competitiveness and growth. Six areas of major concern or ‘challenges’, for Europe and elsewhere, are addressed under this pillar and turned into research and innovation opportunities.

Most of the opportunities under this pillar strengthen the impact of R&I in developing, supporting and implementing Union policies, and support the uptake of innovative solutions in industry and society to address global challenges. Calls under this pillar are top-down calls. Thanks to its challenge-based approach, this pillar particularly supports multi-disciplinary cooperation and the involvement of Social Sciences and the Humanities (SSH).

2021-2027 Work Programmes

All the calls for proposals can be found in each work programme.

Open and forthcoming calls for each of these global challenges can be found on the EU Funding and Tenders Opportunities portal. The average success rate for proposals submitted to calls within the Societal Challenges pillar during Horizon 2020 was 14%, however there is a wide range in rates across the different calls.

Mission-based approach

Mission based approach is a new development in Horizon Europe. The aim of EU missions is delivering solutions to global challenges like fighting cancer, adapting to climate change, protecting our oceans, living in greener cities and ensuring soil health and food. They are an integral part of the Horizon Europe Programme for the years 2021-27.

The Horizon Europe missions are listed below;

Type of projects funded, minimum eligibility conditions & reimbursement rates

Three main types of collaborative grants are funded:

  • Research and Innovation Actions (RIA) – First phase of the research and innovation cycle. Research activities to establish new knowledge and/or to explore the feasibility of a new or improved technology, product, process, service, or solution.
  • Innovation Actions (IA) – Call topics are positioned along the scale from research to market, with a strong focus on innovation-related activities, such as pilots and demonstrations.
  • Coordination and Support Actions (CSA) – fund accompanying activities such as networking, road mapping, training and capacity building and policy/advisory work.

The Action Table describes the activities funded under each of these actions as well their eligibility conditions and reimbursement rates.

Please always check the call topic documents for the indicative budget and any specific topic condition. Flexibility is provided in terms of budget and project duration to suit the specific planned activities of a project.

Evaluation Process

The evaluation is based on three criteria: ‘Excellence’, ‘Impact’ and ‘Implementation’. Under each of these criteria, a list of specific sub-criteria is provided for each type of action funded: Research & Innovation Actions (RIA), Innovation Actions (IA) and Coordination & Support Actions (CSA).

Evaluators are asked to score proposals as they were submitted, rather than on their potential if certain changes were to be made. When an evaluator identifies significant shortcomings, they must reflect this by awarding a lower score for the criterion concerned. Projects scoring above the high-quality threshold may however not be funded, as Horizon Europe is a very competitive programme.

One-stage submission schemes

For each of the three criteria, scores range between 0 and 5. Half marks may be given. The threshold for individual criteria is 3. The overall threshold (applying to the sum of the three individual scores) is 10.

The page limit for a full RIA and IA application is 45 pages and CSA application is 30 pages.

Two-stage submission schemes

For the evaluation of first-stage proposals under a two-stage submission procedure, only some of the sub-criteria under ‘Excellence’ and ‘Impact’ are evaluated. The threshold for both individual criteria is 4.

If it is a two-stage submission scheme, the page limit for the first stage proposals is 10 pages.

For more detail on the interpretation of the evaluation scores (i.e. 0 to 5 scores) and to consult the full list of evaluation criteria, please download the for one or two stage proposals Horizon Europe RIA, IA and CSA evaluation form. (HE 1st stage RIA, IA and CSA)

Support available

Please consult our EU pre-award section for further information on how to apply and the type of support offered by the EU team.