It consists of three specific objectives:
- "Leadership in enabling and industrial technologies" will provide dedicated support for research, development, and demonstration and, where appropriate, for standardisation and certification, on information and communications technology (ICT), nanotechnology, advanced materials, biotechnology, advanced manufacturing and processing, and space. Emphasis will be placed on interactions and convergence across and between the different technologies and their relations to societal challenges. User needs will be taken into account in all these fields.
- "Access to risk finance" will aim to overcome deficits in the availability of debt and equity finance for R&D and innovation-driven companies and projects at all stages of development. Together with the equity instrument of the Programme for the Competitiveness of Enterprises and small and medium-sized enterprises (COSME) (2014‑2020), it will support the development of Union-level venture capital.
- "Innovation in SMEs" will provide SME-tailored support to stimulate all forms of innovation in SMEs, targeting those with the potential to grow and internationalise across the single market and beyond.
The goal is to make Europe a more attractive location to invest in research and innovation (including eco-innovation), by promoting activities where businesses set the agenda. It will provide major investment in key industrial technologies, maximize the growth potential of European companies by providing them with adequate levels of finance and help innovative SMEs to grow into world-leading companies.
This pillar aims to speed up development of the technologies and innovations that will underpin tomorrow's businesses and help innovative European SMEs to grow into world-leading companies.
ICT in Industrial Leadership
This part covers the following ICT technological areas:
- A new generation of components and system,
- Advanced computing and cloud computing,
- Future Internet,
- Content technologies and information management,
- Robotics and autonomous systems,
- Micro- and nano-electronic technologies, photonics.
The corresponding activities are grouped in a single ICT call, which also covers topics addressing ‘Innovation and Entrepreneurship support’, ‘Responsibility and Creativity’ and ‘International Cooperation Activities’.
These international cooperation activities are complemented by a series of dedicated joint calls with Japan, Brazil and also South Korea (new partner country in 2016-17).
Moreover, one topic of the call for ‘nanotechnologies, advanced materials, biotechnology and production’ requires a contribution from ICT:‘Cross-cutting KETs for diagnostics at the point-of-care’.
In the work programme 2016-17, the research and innovation activities related to digital security and the Internet of Things are covered through two dedicated focus areas, i.e. specific calls which cut across several parts of Horizon 2020. Note that the Internet of Things focus area is presented in a separate part of the work programme specifically dedicated to cross-cutting activities.
The ‘Open and Disruptive Innovation’ (ODI) scheme, successfully introduced in the work programme 2014-15, is also no longer covered in the main ICT call, but in a call which gathers all topics using the SME instrument.