Research activities of the European Union
- The ''Excellent science'' priority
- The ''Industrial leadership'' priority
- The "Societal challenges" priority
The Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (2014-2020) – called 'Horizon 2020' pursues the Union's objective, specified in Article 179 TFEU, to strengthen the scientific and technological bases of the Union by achieving a European Research Area ("ERA") in which researchers, scientific knowledge and technology circulate freely, and by encouraging the Union to advance towards a knowledge society and to become a more competitive and sustainable economy in respect of its industry [Regulation 1291/2013]. To pursue that objective the Horizon 2020 programme carries out activities to implement research, technological development, demonstration and innovation, promote international cooperation, disseminate and optimise results and stimulate training and mobility. The Horizon 2020 programme is also meant to achieve the Europe 2020 strategy which set the objectives of smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, highlighting the role of research and innovation as key drivers of social and economic prosperity and of environmental sustainability and setting itself the goal of increasing spending on research and development in order to attract private investment of up to two thirds of total investments, thereby reaching an accumulative total of 3% of gross domestic product (GDP) by 2020 while developing an innovation intensity indicator [see section 7.3].
Horizon 2020 focuses on three priorities, namely generating excellent science in order to strengthen the Union's world-class excellence in science, fostering industrial leadership to support business, including micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and innovation, and tackling societal challenges, in order to respond directly to the challenges identified in the Europe 2020 strategy by supporting activities covering the entire spectrum from research to market. These three priorities of Horizon 2020 are explicated in the following sections.