General rules for participation

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Simplified Rules for participation

  • broad range of possible participants: research groups at universities or research institutes, companies, small or medium-sized enterprises (SMEs,)associations,public or governmental administration, individual researchers (early-stage, experienced,)institutions running research infrastructures, civil society organisations as well as organisations and researchers from third countries and international organisations
  • For most parts of Horizon 2020, it is required to form a consortium to participate in a collaborative research project. The minimum requirement for a consortium: at least three independent partners (legal entities) from three different Member States or Associated Countries.
  • Exceptions can be found for instance with the ERC, Marie-Skłodowska-Curie Actions, Coordination and Support Actions, the SME-instrument, Fast Track to Innovation or programme co-fund actions.
  • As in FP7 several countries can become associated to Horizon 2020. This is specified in specific association agreements requiring a financial contribution based on the GDP of the specific country
  • Above the minimum requirements for participation (3 MS/AC), researchers and institutions from third countries can participate in an EU R&I project.


Association to Horizon 2020

Association open to:

  • Candidate/potential candidate countries
  • Selected third countries:
    • With good STI capacity
    • Good track record in EU R&I programmes
    • Close geographic and economic links with EU
    • and are EFTA members or ENI countries

List of countries which are associated to Horizon 2020: Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Faroe Islands, former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Iceland, Israel, Montenegro, Norway, Republic of Moldova, Serbia, Turkey and Ukraine

Additional information on the negotiation process of the association agreements can be found in the European Commission Factsheet on Associated countries


Switzerland - partly associated

Subject to signature and conclusion of an Agreement associating Switzerland to parts of Horizon 2020, Switzerland will participate from 15 September 2014 with an associated country status in actions under:

  • the "Excellent Science" pillar (the 1st pillar), containing the European Research Council, Future and Emerging Technologies, Research Infrastructures and the Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions;
  • actions under the specific objective “Spreading excellence and widening participation”;
  • the Euratom Programme; and
  • the activities carried out by the European Joint Undertaking for ITER and the Development of Fusion for Energy for 2014-2020.

The participation of Switzerland to these areas should be effective from 15 September 2014 until 31 December 2016. This means that Swiss entities can participate here as other entities from associated countries. In all other parts of the Horizon 2020 programme, Switzerland will remain a third country participant.

Additional information on the Swiss association can accessed here.

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