The Excellent Science pillar of Horizon 2020 aims to raise the level of excellence in Europe's science base and ensure a steady stream of world-class research to secure long-term competitiveness in Europe. It supports the best ideas, develops European talent and provides researchers with access to a research infrastructure.
Excellent Science has four specific objectives:
- The European Research Council (ERC) will provide attractive and flexible funding to enable talented and creative individual researchers and their teams to pursue the most promising avenues at the frontier of science, on the basis of EU-wide competition;
- Future and emerging technologies (FET) will support collaborative research in order to extend Europe’s capacity for advanced and paradigm-changing innovation. They will foster scientific collaboration across disciplines on radically new, high-risk ideas and accelerate development of the most promising emerging areas of science and technology as well as the EU-wide structuring of the corresponding scientific communities;
- Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) will provide excellent and innovative research training as well as attractive career and knowledge-exchange opportunities through cross-border and cross-sector mobility of researchers, to best prepare them to face current and future societal challenges;
- Research infrastructures (including e-infrastructures) will develop European research infrastructure for 2020 and beyond, foster their innovation potential and human capital, and complement this with the related EU policy and international cooperation.
Dedicated support is available to:
- Support talented individuals and their teams to carry out ground-breaking research by building on the success of the ERC;
- Fund collaborative research to open up new and promising fields of research and innovation through support for FET;
- Provide researchers with excellent training and career development opportunities through the MSCA;
- Ensure Europe has world-class research infrastructures (including e-infrastructures) accessible to all researchers in Europe and beyond.
The activities are inherently forward-looking, building skills in the long term, focusing on the next generation of science, technology, researchers and innovations and providing support for emerging talent from across the whole of the EU and associated countries, as well as worldwide. In view of their science-driven nature and largely ‘bottom-up’, investigator-driven funding arrangements, the European scientific community will play a strong role in determining the avenues of research followed under the programme.