Future and emerging technologies (FETs) are part of the Excellent Science pillar within Horizon 2020. They will support collaborative research in order to extend Europe’s capacity for advanced and paradigm-changing innovation. They contain visionary aspects and exploratory characteristics, looking to open up promising avenues towards powerful new technologies. 

The mission of FETs is to turn Europe's excellent science base into a competitive advantage. They are expected to initiate radically new lines of technology through unexplored collaborations between advanced multidisciplinary science and cutting-edge engineering. It will help Europe grasp leadership early on in those promising future technology areas able to renew the basis for future European competitiveness and growth, and that can make a difference for society in the decades to come.

Under Horizon 2020, FET actions have been allocated a provisional budget of nearly €2.7bn. This represents a nearly threefold increase in budget compared to the previous 7th Framework Programme (FP7).

Lines of action

The FET programme has three complementary lines of action to address different methodologies and scales, from new ideas to long-term challenges:

FET Open

FET Open supports early-stage joint science and technology research around new ideas for radically new future technologies. It will explore a wide range of new technological possibilities, inspired by cutting-edge science, unconventional collaborations or new research and innovation practices.

In the 2018-20 Work Programme, the FET Open Call is part of the European Innovation Council (EIC) pilot. This is intended to enable new or unexpected opportunities to be detected and picked up early on, as well as offering additional networking and financing possibilities.

FET Proactive

FET Proactive nurtures emerging themes and structure communities by addressing a number of promising exploratory research themes. The main benefits of this structuring yet exploratory approach are emerging novel areas that are not yet ready for inclusion in industry research roadmaps, and building up and structuring of new interdisciplinary research communities around them. The present Work Programme supports two broad themes:

  • Boosting Emerging Technologies (BET), including the emerging paradigms of artificial organs, tissues, cells and sub-cellular structures; time; living technologies; socially interactive technologies; disruptive micro-energy and storage technologies; and topological matter; and
  • High Performance Computing (HPC), covering the co-design of the exascale machines integrating the European microprocessor part and addressing the development of scientific and engineering applications that will run on extreme scale HPC machines.

FET Flagships

FET Flagships support ambitious, large-scale, long-term, science-driven, goal-oriented, roadmap-based research initiatives tackling grand challenges. They are expected to provide transformational impact on science, technology and society, lead to novel innovation clusters in Europe and facilitate alignment of national and regional research efforts. FET Flagships require a long-term commitment of all key stakeholders sharing a common scientific vision, and a joint effort of EU and national programmes to provide a large shared financial support.

FET will provide the main EU support in Horizon 2020 of the two FET flagships already chosen under FP7: Graphene and the Human Brain Project (HBP). It also features the ramp-up of a new Flagship on Quantum Technologies, and preparatory actions for new Flagships within one of the following three main areas: ICT and connected society; health and life sciences; or energy, environment and climate change 

Latest FET Work Programme