Horizon 2020 ICT

Provides 1 - 5M € in subsidies for research, development, and demonstration within:

About Horizon 2020 ICT

With Horizon 2020 ICT there is a strong focus on how to keep EU in the lead of developing and marketing new technologies in the field of ICT, combined with the development of new solutions that are responding to needs from industries and society. Through a successful application to the program, companies can get:

  • 1-5 MEUR for technology and product development
  • IPR – Intellectual Property Rights
  • Network to partners
  • Access to new markets
  • Technology and knowledge transfer

Possibilities with Horizon 2020 ICT

The ICT program offers opportunities for both SME’s and large companies to cofinance their development of new technologies and the use of existing technologies in new a context. Therefore the program is also interesting for more conventional production companies and not only companies in advanced technology. The most important is that the company is facing a technological challenge or is having an idea to solve a technical problem. Horizon 2020 ICT is both cofinancing research, development and demonstration activities.

The Horizon 2020 ICT calls will be offered to projects within the following categories (see current calls below):

  • Next generation components and systems: Smart system integrations, cyber-physical systems etc.
  • Advanced, customized and low power computing
  • Future Internet: Smart networks, novel internet architectures, optical and wireless network technologies, advanced cloud infrastructures and services, web entrepreneurship, 5G network infrastructure etc.
  • Content technologies and information management: Big data, technologies for creative industries and social media, gaming technologies etc.
  • Robotics
  • Micro- and nano-electronic technologies and photonics
  • ICT Cross-cutting activities: Cybersecurity, etc.

Requirements for Horizon 2020 ICT

There are a number of requirements that need to be met to be considered for Horizon 2020 ICT:

  • Innovation height – the product or technology needs to be novel and solve an European problem
  • Large market potential or great socio-economic impact – minimum 100 MEUR over 5 years
  • The project requires international cooperation

Upcoming deadlines

Below are the upcoming deadlines for Horizon 2020 ICT. Expect 1-2 months for the proposal writing process.


"Smart anything everywhere" stands for the next wave of products that integrate digital technology inside. Proposals should address all of the following three aspects:

  • Establishing across-Europe networks of multidisciplinary competence centres offering one-stop shops/marketplaces for companies that want to experiment with digital technologies inside their products. 
  • Carrying out a critical mass of cross-border experiments bringing together different key actors along the full value chain to customise the technologies according to the requirements of the users.
  • Activities to achieve long-term sustainability of one-stop shop / market place services by the competence centres and the eco-system. 

The challenge is to eliminate the current and anticipated limitations of network infrastructures, by making them capable of supporting a much wider array of requirement than is the case today and with capability of flexibly adapting to different "vertical" application requirements. 

The call covers three strands that complement each other. Proposal may address parts of a strand or parts that cut across several strands.

  • Strand 1: wireless access and radio network architecture/technologies
  • Strand 2: High capacity elastic - optical networks 
  • Strand 3: "Software Network"

Network and service providers are faced with increasing challenges to manage convergence technologies. On the one hand, technological versatility increases service provision capabilities, with ever raising possibilities to dimension service offer to context and user specific SLA's. On the other hand, convergence technologies are getting increasingly complex, with ever larger integration of multiple technological heterogeneous hardware and software components, and more difficult properties to characterise at scale. The challenge thus tackles scalability and usability of mixed network technological approaches that can benefit from previous research, towards validation of deployment at scale. 

Proposal will relate to:

  • Ubiquitous 5G access leveraging optical technologies 
  • Flexible network applications
  • Cooperation in access convergence 

Proposals may cover one or more of the themes identified below:

  • Scientific and technology advances for novel use of the spectrum potential, de-risking technological building blocks at frequencies above 90 Ghz up to Thz communications backed by innovative usage scenarios, address visible light communications and develop radically new approaches for spectrum efficiency.
  • Advanced signal processing, antenna processing, information theory and coding to optimize and reach Tbit/s in wireless communications.
  • Demand-attentive and cooperation networking alternative to 5G architectures, including HetNets, opportunistic networks novel architectures and protocols for routing, latency and caching in complex networks notably for mobility. 

The scope of the proposal is demonstration and validation of new technologies, services and solutions through large scale demonstrations, pilots or close-to-market prototypes exploiting the convergence, interoperability and integration between broadcasting, broadband Internet-based services, audiovisual and social media. 

Proposals should address one but ideally more challenges to exploit media and content convergence opportunities. A non-exhaustive list of challenges that proposals might want to look at are:

  • Exploiting synergies between the participation of individuals connected through social media and the convergence environment. 
  • Developing immersive and pervasive solutions for increased personalised user experience in content consumption in order to meet new user expectations.
  • Facilitating the convergence process to enable the interaction with content on any device, anywhere, anytime in a multiplatform scenario.
  • Development and advancement of accessibility solutions specifically for converging media and content. 

this topic addresses the adoption of the next generation of ICT advances in the manufacturing domain. Focus is on emerging innovative technologies and processes, which need to be customised, integrated, tested and validated before being released on the market.  

Proposers should cover at least one of the following four areas of technologies for adoption in manufacturing: 1) CPS and IoT, 2) Robotics, 3) Modelling, simulation and analytics, or 4) Digital design for additive Manufacturing. 


New approaches for educating skills need to be developed, piloted and scaled up. There is a lack of sufficient collaboration with entrepreneurial stakeholders in teaching and students practice, and a lack of inter-generational learning. Young people need to be supported with tools, resources and an open environment encouraging experimentation and the development of joint projects including based on interdisciplinary approaches. Effective supporting schemes should guide young people into their entrepreneurial journey. 


In order to better understand and inform the present by richer interpretations of the past, actions should create affordable and efficient digital access, documentary methods analysis and preservation services for cultural resources. This should be achieved by tackling issues such as automatic contextualisation and identification of content and by developing analytical tools, including methods for automatically finding content which is semantically similar to a given item, or content which is related to a given high-level concept. This aspect also calls for fundamental work related to the philosophy of meta-data designs especially of language-based data that should be in close coherence with the architecture and typology of human conceptual systems. Actions should also develop innovative tools and methods to extract meaning from digital artefacts (including video recordings, audio recordings, digital images, text, multispectral and thermal information and 3D representations of objects or scenes) considering also the spatio-temporal dimension and the quality of the digital content in order to allow the study and preservation of European heritage. 


The specific challenge of this topic is to develop innovative EGNSS based applications in aviation, road, maritime and rail that will make EGNOS and Galileo more available to transport users and enable new end-to-end solutions that require accurate and resilient positioning and navigation.

Innovation activities within this topic should build on: 

  • Exploitation of the distinguishing features of EGNOS and Galileo signals
  • Implementation of EGNSS based pilot projects and end-to-end solutions, ready for use by the private or public sector
  • Standards
  • Exploitation of synergies with other positioning and navigation systems

Proposals may be submitted in any of the following four transport domains: 

  • Aviation
  • Road
  • Maritime
  • Rail

Proposals should aim at developing new innovative applications, with commercial impact and a clear market uptake perspective. Below are some areas which are identified as especially promising for further European Global Navigation Satellite System (EGNSS) applications development:

  • Mobility as a service and Smart Cities
  • Internet of things
  • Commercial and social LBS

Proposals should aim at developing new innovative applications, building also on the combination of European Global Navigation Satellite System (EGNSS) with earth observation and Copernicus services, with commercial impact or with satellite communication. Proposals should have a clear market uptake perspective. Below are some areas which are identified as especially promising for further EGNSS application development:

  • Agriculture
  • Surveying and Mapping
  • Timing and Synchronisation
  • Other professional applications: clearly demonstrating amongst others the contribution of EGNSS differentiators, the potential of integration with earth observation data, and the future commercial potential are also invited.

Copernicus, the Union's Earth observation and monitoring programme entered into force in 2014 and produces a wealth of data and information regarding the Earth sub-systems (land, atmosphere, oceans) and cross-cutting processes (climate change, emergency and security). Copernicus data and information are mainly made available on a free open and full basis. This is expected to unleash unique market opportunities.

Proposals may address a wide variety of applications stemming from the use of Earth observation and its smart integration with other related technologies. Copernicus should be considered as part of the solution which may include other space or non-space inputs. This is likely to lead to greater value, opportunities and especially market uptake. To this aim, a robust business model, which includes the phase of the project following the end of the public funding, shall be part of the proposal.

The choice of EO application is left to the proposer.


Two main strands of activities are expected to be addressed: (i) the evolution of the Copernicus data infrastructure; and (ii) the adaptation of big data technologies to Copernicus user scenarios (i.e. data discovery and analytics to store and extract information).

Proposals should take into account needs emerging from ongoing linked actions within Copernicus including the dissemination platform; access to data and the Collaborative Ground Segment. To that end an information document will be made available as part of the general call package.


Activities shall address technologies identified on the list of Actions for 2015/2017 focusing on those areas that have not so far benefitted from prior Framework Programme funding and representing the highest potential for being implemented through the types of action available in Horizon 2020.

Accordingly, the following priority technologies have been identified:

  • U09 - Cost effective multi - junction solar cells for space applications.
  • U16 - Space qualified GaN components and demonstrators.
  • U17 - High density (up to 1000 pins and beyond) assemblies on PCB and PCBs.
  • U21 - Very high speed serial interfaces.
  • U23 – Development of large deployable structures for antennas.
  • U26 - Space qualified carbon fibre and pre-impregnated material sources for launchers and satellite subsystems. 

The aim of this topic is to demonstrate, in a relevant environment, technologies, systems and sub-systems for Earth observation. Proposals should address and demonstrate significant improvements in such areas as miniaturisation, power reduction, efficiency, versatility, and/or increased functionality and should demonstrate complementarity to activities already funded by Member States and the European Space Agency.

Proposals that develop technologies targeting TRL 6, or lower TRLs, are welcome.

Proposals are sought with relevance in the domain of technology development for space in the fields of:

  • Optical technologies.
  • Detector technology and complete detection chain enhancement.
  • Space sensors.
  • Active antennas for radar.
  • High performance and miniaturised optical (ultra-violet, visible, infra-red), and SAR sensors.
  • Sensors, actuators and control technologies for high precision Attitude and Orbital Control Systems (AOCS).
  • Technologies to advance in fractionated systems and formation flying for Earth Observation.

Activities shall aim at providing advanced on-board data handling and transfer for Earth observation and Telecommunication systems. These activities shall address the future challenge of high data rates transmission and significant improvements in data throughput:

  • Re-configurable high data rate links including high frequency bands.
  • On-board data processing, implementation of complex data algorithms.
  • On-board data compression systems to improve on-board data storage.
  • High data rate image (optical and/or radar) and video processing.
  • Improved on-board data storage.
  • Anticipate how the ground segment will cope with higher data rates to improve the overall data throughput.
  • Anticipate the necessity to link innovative ground segment architectures addressing new ICT technologies. 

EU-Brazil Joint Call 

Proposals are intended to develop innovative cloud computing technologies leading to next generation solutions and services able to cope with the challenges from different application domains in business and societal contexts. The technologies to be developed should aim at future standardization as well as take into account interoperability and data portability. 


EU-Brazil Joint Call 

In order to make use of the rich potential of the Internet of Things (IoT) in real-world scenarios, technologies and tools developed so far need to be demonstrated in controlled environments with the ultimate goal of validation. 

The call supports pilots each addressing a distinct area among the following areas of interest:

  • Environmental monitoring
  • Utilities: smart water management 
  • Utilities: energy management at home and in buildings 
  • Smart assisted living and wellbeing 
  • Smart manufacturing: customisation 

Proposals will provide programming environments and tools optimised for specific application domains of significant economic value, covering the complete software stack from runtime systems to application programming. The solutions proposed will support modern system architectures possibly including those based on heterogeneous processors while allowing for optimization of energy, performance, reliability, time predictability and system cost.  


Action: Pilots of Collective Awareness Platforms (CAPs) demonstrating new forms of bottom-up innovation and social collaboration exploiting digital hyper-connectivity and collaborative tools based on open data, open knowledge, open source software and open hardware, harnessing crowdsourcing or crowdfunding models. Within this vision, target areas for pilots include:

  • New participatory innovation models for economy and society, such as the collaborative or circular economy, collaborative public services and collaborative making
  • Solutions for sustainable lifestyles such as collaborative consumption and production, smart reuse and low carbon approaches
  • Emerging ethics of digital innovation, such as social entrepreneurship, direct democracy, privacy preservation and digital rights. 

The challenge under this call  is to fundamentally improve the technology, methods, standards and processes, building on a solid scientific basis, and responding to real needs. 

Proposals are expected to address cross-sector and cross-border problems or opportunities of clear industrial significance. These will include (but are not limited to):

  • Software stacks designed to help programmers and big data practitioners take advantage of novel architectures in order to optimise Big Data processing tasks
  • Distributed data and process mining, predictive analytics and visualization at the service of industrial decision support processes
  • Real-time complex event processing over extremely large numbers of high volume streams of possibly noisy, possibly incomplete data. 

Actions under this topic will explore novel ways of digital content production and management in the creative industries such as advertising, architecture, performing and visual arts, craft, design, fashion, films, music, press, publishing, radio, TV and video games. They should focus on technologies for the production of new content or for the enhancement and (re-)use of already existing digital content of any type, but the production or acquisition of the content itself is not to be financed through these actions. 


Research on user-driven multimodal interface design has advanced the usability and accessibility of many software and devices to the benefits of all people, especially for those with different functional abilities. However, despite progress, there are still many who are disadvantaged due to lack of accessible and usable systems. Among those are persons with neurological conditions and disorders as well as cognitive disabilities. 

Proposals under this call should cover one of the following themes:

  • Support the development of intelligent, affordable and personalised interfaces and affective computing for people with cognitive disabilities to enable them to undertake everyday tasks and in particular to improve communication and facilitate the uptake and use of digital services.  
  • ​Develop and test solutions, models and algorithms to improve (and act upon) information extraction from brain and neural signals, including through advances on state of the art electrodes and implantable devices. 
  • Building on ongoing efforts, develop and demonstrate decision support tools for the assessment of compliance to web sites accessibility standards and guidelines.  

A key challenge is to revitalise Europe's robot-making capacity.Whilst SMEs are generally regarded as the backbone of EU industry, they are under-contributing to the robotics industry. Proposals must meet this challenge by:

  • Stimulating SMEs in the robotics sector to develop novel and challenging technology and systems applicable to new markets.  
  • ​Development and implementation of robotics application-relevant benchmarks and metrics to assess progress in technologies and systems.  
  • Development of testing protocols for shared space cooperative and collaborative systems leading to viable safety certification standards.  



Europe also needs to strengthen its manufacturing base in photonics to safeguard the further potential for innovation and value creation and for job creation. We must better exploit the large enabling potential of photonics in many industrial sectors and in solutions addressing major societal challenges such as health and well-being, energy efficiency or safety. Focus is on one of the following themes 

  • Application driven core photonic technology developments for a new generation of photonic devices (including components, modules and sub-systems) for agile Petabit/s Optical Core and Metro Networks. 
  • ​Photonic integrated circuit (PIC) technology 
  • Innovation Incubator for SMEs 
  • Application driven core photonic devices integrated in systems 

The proposals must be in the scope of one of the following topics:

  • The development of new approaches to scale functional performance of information processing and storage substantially beyond the state-of-the-art technologies with a focus on ultra-low power and high performance.  
  • 3D sequential integration (at transistor scale) possibly mixed with 3D parallel integration (at circuit level) for system solutions to increase functionalities and capabilities.  
  • In Equipment Assessment Experiments, suppliers of innovative high-tech equipment install, assess and validate their prototypes or products that have left the R&D phase in environments that are very close to real-life conditions in cooperation with end-user 

Proposals should address the requirements of end-user communities in developing countries. This may include technological improvements and adaptations as well as innovative service creation based on existing technologies. 

Proposals could include specific technological targets such as co-design, adaptation, demonstration and validation (e.g. pilots) of ICT related research and innovation in relevant thematic areas addressed by Horizon 2020 including Content Technologies and Societal Challenges.  


Europe lacks a systematic transfer of knowledge and technology across different sectors and there is an underdeveloped data sharing and linking culture. The challenge is to break barriers and to foster exchange, linking and re-use, as well as to integrate data assets from multiple sectors and across languages and formats.  

Proposals should cover one of the following bullets: 

  • Data integration activities will address data challenges in cross-domain setups, where similar contributions of data assets will be required by groups of EU industries that are arranged along data value chains.
  • Data experimentation incubators should address big data experimentation in a cross- sectorial, cross lingual and/or cross-border setup. This setup should include access to data in different domains and languages, appropriate computational infrastructure, and open software tools. 

European research and development in data technologies produces promising results, but these are not yet deployed at large scale in a systematic manner. The challenge is to stimulate effective piloting and targeted demonstrations in large-scale sectorial actions ("Large Scale Pilot actions"), in data-intensive sectors, involving key European industry actors. 

Large Scale Pilot actions should address domains of strategic importance for EU industry and carry out large scale sectorial demonstrations, which can be replicated and transferred across the EU and in other contexts. Possible industrial sectors for Large Scale Pilot actions include (but are not limited to) health, energy, environment, earth observation, geospatial, transport, manufacturing, finance and media.  


The specific challenge is to develop robots that respond more flexibly, robustly and efficiently to the everyday needs of workers and citizens in professional or domestic environments.

The scope of proposals should be the following:

  • Open, generic forward-looking research into novel technical advances in robotics – open to all robotics-related research topics and disciplines.
  • Technology research and development to achieve step changes in the capabilities of the following high priority RAS technologies 
  • Improving the deployment prospects of RAS through end user-driven application developments in domains and application areas with significant market potential 
  • Filling technology or regulatory gaps through end user-driven innovation actions, where the gap represents a challenging market entry barrier.

Proposals should address below mentioned topics:

  • Architectures, concepts, methods and tools for open IoT platforms integrating evolving sensing, actuating, energy harvesting, networking and interface technologies. Platforms should provide connectivity and intelligence, actuation and control features, linkage to modular and ad-hoc cloud services, Data analytics and open APIs as well as semantic interoperability across use cases and conflict resolution.
  • IoT security and privacy. Advanced concepts for end-to-end security in highly distributed, heterogeneous and dynamic IoT environments. Approaches must be holistic and include identification and authentication, data protection and prevention against cyber-attacks at the device and system levels. They should address relevant security and privacy elements such as confidentiality, user data awareness and control, integrity, resilience and authorisation.  

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