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Horizon 2020: rules for participation and dissemination (2014-20)

Horizon 2020: rules for participation and dissemination (2014-20)

This regulation lays down the rules for participation in the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme and the rules governing the exploitation and dissemination of results.


Regulation (EU) No 1290/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2013 laying down the rules for participation and dissemination in Horizon 2020 - the Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (2014-20) and repealing Regulation (EC) No 1906/2006.


The regulation covers:

  • participation in indirect research and innovation activity undertaken under Regulation (EU) No 1291/2013, i.e. actions to which the EU provides financial support and which are undertaken by participants. It does not cover direct research which is done directly by the Commission’s Joint Research Centre;
  • how the results of the research are used and disseminated.

Forms of funding

These include:

  • grants (direct financial contributions from the EU budget to participants selected by means of calls for proposals),
  • prizes (funding given as a reward following a contest),
  • procurement (for example, procurement by public authorities of R & D, allowing them to direct the research to specific public sector needs),
  • financial instruments (for example, equity or quasi-equity investments, loans or guarantees, or other risk-sharing instruments, which may be combined with grants).

Grant-eligible entities

The basic rule is that any entity, whether an individual or a legal person (regardless of place of establishment), or international organisation, may participate in an action under the conditions laid down in this regulation, the relevant work programme and call. More specifically, the minimum conditions are that at least three separate entities, established in different EU countries or associated countries, may participate in an activity, although derogations or additional conditions may be imposed.

Grant proposals

Proposals are in principle invited following the publication of calls specifying time limits and deadlines by which applicants are to be informed of the outcome of the evaluation process and an indicative date for the signature of grant agreements (in total, time to grant is limited to 8 months from final submission date, unless in duly justified cases). It is also possible to carry out joint calls for projects jointly funded with non-EU countries or international organisations in priority areas of common interest and expected mutual benefit where there is a clear added value for the EU. In addition, specific support is provided to SMEs by means of calls issued under the dedicated SME instrument.

Grant evaluation

Independent experts, mainly drawn from the research and academic communities, evaluate the submissions on the basis of excellence, impact and quality and efficiency of implementation. They draw up a ranking on the basis of which selection takes place. The panels must be diverse in terms of skills, experience and knowledge, as well as nationality and gender. The Commission systematically reviews proposals raising ethical issues.

Grant agreement and implementation

Participants selected for funding enter into a grant agreement establishing the rights and obligations of each party. All exchanges with participants, including the conclusion of the grant agreement, are made through the electronic exchange system set up by the Commission or the relevant funding body.

Participants implement actions in compliance with the grant agreement, using the appropriate resources and means, including when necessary calling upon third parties and subcontractors. In the case of a consortium, one member is appointed to act as coordinator and the principal point of contact between the consortium and the Commission.

Funding of actions

In the case of grants, the regulation states that funding cannot exceed the total eligible costs minus the receipts of the action, as defined in the EU’s Financial Regulation (Article 126). The EU contribution can vary and be as much as 70-100 % of the total eligible costs.

Use of results

  • Results remain the property of the participants generating them. Where results can be commercially or industrially exploited, they must be protected. Specific rules are applied where participants intend not to apply protection to or intend to abandon protection of their results.
  • Recipients of EU funding are expected to exploit their results, mainly by transfer and licensing. They are also expected to disseminate their results as soon as possible. Any additional obligations shall be provided in the grant agreement.
  • A participant enjoys royalty-free access rights to the results of another participant in the same action if needed to carry out its work under the action or to exploit its own results. The EU institutions, bodies or agencies enjoy access rights solely to the results of a participant who has received EU funding if justified to develop, implement and monitor EU policies and programmes. These EU access rights are limited to non-commercial and non-competitive use and are royalty-free.



Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Regulation (EU) No 1290/2013



OJ L 347 of 20.12.2013, pp. 81-103


Regulation (EU) No 1291/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2013 establishing Horizon 2020 - the Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (2014-20) and repealing Decision No 1982/2006/EC (Official Journal L 347 of 20.12.2013, p. 104-173).

Council Decision of 3 December 2013 establishing the specific programme implementing Horizon 2020 - the Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (2014-20) and repealing Decisions 2006/971/EC, 2006/972/EC, 2006/973/EC, 2006/974/EC and 2006/975/EC (2013/743/EU) (Official Journal L 347 of 20.12.2013, pp. 965-1041).

Last updated: 25.06.2014