Should you need support and guidance services for the development of joint research projects, particularly under Horizon 2020, do not hesitate to contact an expert using the CHOICE “Ask an expert” section.

What is Horizon 2020?

Horizon 2020 is the biggest EU Research and Innovation programme ever with nearly €80 billion of funding available over 7 years (2014 to 2020) – in addition to the private investment that this money will attract. It promises more breakthroughs, discoveries and world-firsts by taking great ideas from the lab to the market.

Seen as a means to drive economic growth and create jobs, Horizon 2020 has the political backing of Europe’s leaders and the Members of the European Parliament. By coupling research and innovation, Horizon 2020 is helping to achieve smart, sustainable and inclusive growth and jobs with its emphasis on excellent science, industrial leadership and tackling societal challenges. The goal is to ensure Europe produces world-class science, removes barriers to innovation and makes it easier for the public and private sectors to work together in delivering innovation.

Horizon 2020 is open to everyone, with a simple structure that reduces red tape and time so participants can focus on what is really important. This approach makes sure new projects get off the ground quickly – and achieve results faster.

What's in Horizon 2020 for China?

Discover what’s in it for China by going through the following documents prepared for you by the EU Delegation to China:

How to get funded under H2020?

Two year work programmes announce the specific areas that will be funded by Horizon 2020. Look out for them on the online Participant Portal as they can be used as a calendar for the calls for proposals (‘calls’), to be published during the year. The Participant Portal is your entry point for electronic administration of EU-funded research and innovation projects, and hosts the services for managing your proposals and projects throughout their lifecycle.

Each call gives more precise information on the questions that the Commission would like you to address in your proposals. All calls can be found in the EU’s Official Journal – the official source for all EU documents – as well as on the Participant Portal

What is the H2020 application process?

1. Submit your proposal

If you wish to respond to a call, you must submit a proposal before the deadline. The Participant Portal has clear instructions to guide you through the process. The system is simpler than ever – no more paper! All proposals are submitted online.


2. Find your partners

Many calls require a team of at least three partners. If you need help to identify a potential partner with particular competences, facilities or experience, use the partner search options.


3. Evaluation by experts

Once the deadline has passed, all proposals are evaluated by a panel of independent specialists in their fields. The panel checks each proposal against a list of criteria to see if it should receive funding.


4. Grant agreement

Once a proposal passes the evaluation stage (five months’ duration), applicants are informed about the outcome. The European Commission then draws up a grant agreement with each participant. The grant agreement confirms what research & innovation activities will be undertaken, the project duration, budget, rates and costs, the European Commission’s contribution, all rights and obligations and more. The time limit for signing the grant agreements is generally three months.


Want to know more? See how to participate.

What are the main features of the Work Programme?

It combines a strong support to industrial roadmaps with new mechanisms to encourage disruptive innovation. The former will reinforce medium to long term commitment to industrial strategies and provide continuity and stability. The latter will offer flexibility and openness and will help develop dynamic eco-systems in which innovators can operate. Both strands will require the involvement of new actors, on one hand to exploit and leverage new technologies and on the other to initiate and drive change.

Six main activity lines have been identified in the ICT-LEIT part of the Work Programme:

1. A new generation of components and systems
2. Advanced Computing
3. Future Internet
4. Content technologies and information management
5. Robotics
6. Micro- and nano-electronic technologies, Photonics

In addition, the Work Programme features several cross-cutting topics addressing cyber-security, Internet of Things and research on a Human-centric Digital Age. All activities are complemented with support to innovation and take-up, international cooperation and a dedicated action for SMEs to propose bottom-up innovative ideas, using the SME instrument.

Find out more on the Work Programme here.

Where can I find the 2014-2015 work programmes for Horizon 2020?

You will find the Work Programmes 2014-2015 on the Participant Portal’s Reference Documents page.

How to better prepare for the calls of the next ICT work programme for 2016 and create a real impact?

The EU science policy is very democratic, so the most important step would be to contact the NCP on ICT – this information is available online. For the Chinese side, the best solution is to go through the Bilateral Dialogue with the EU and the Chinese authorities, mainly the Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST). Additionally, the best way for the Chinese side to find potential partners is by participating in international events, consulting scientific literature and the list of current projects available on CORDIS (European Commission’s primary public repository platform). It would also be relevant to check the information available on the Enterprise Europe Network (EEN).

ICT and the European Commission

The EU’s strategy to help digital technologies, including the internet, to deliver sustainable economic growth is detailed in the Digital Agenda of the EU.

The Digital Agenda is managed by the European Commission Directorate General for Communications Networks, Content & Technology, DG CONNECT

How to look for potential ICT partners?

Ideal-IST is an international ICT partner search network, with more than 60.000 contacts in line with the international cooperation strategy of the European Commission. Today the Ideal-IST network consists of 63 ICT national partners from EU and Non-EU Countries, such as Associated States, Eastern European Partner Countries (EEPC) and Mediterranean Partner Countries (MPC) and emerging countries like China, Brazil, India, and South Africa in line with the international cooperation strategy of the European Commission.

Ideal-IST provides sophisticated Partner Search Services and the Ideal-IST network creates opportunities to find partners to build ICT projects consortia. Ideal-IST is also cooperating with other networks, such as the NCP SME Network (National Contact Points for European Small and Medium Size Enterprises).

What kind of roles can Chinese partners/stakeholders take up in ICT-related projects?

Chinese partners are more familiar with ICT standards and regulation in China, which could help European partners to easily access the Chinese market. Chinese partners can also provide different kinds of cutting edge ICT-related equipment. Some Chinese partners are good to communicate with other organizations that allow the EU more opportunities to develop business in China.


How is the development of the ICT market in China?

According to ABI Research, in 2013 China replaced the USA as the world´s largest smart phone market. There were 564 million Internet users by the end of 2012, spending on average 20.5 hours each week accessing the Internet. It is expected that in 2015 there be a complete broadband coverage in both urban and rural areas, where the penetration rate of fixed-line broadband will reach 50%, and the users of 3G and LTE will reach 32.5% of the total mobile users.

What are the key directions of the China-EU cooperation in ICT in the next years?

The directions of the China-EU cooperation in ICT will mainly include: next-generation internet, broadband mobile communication, mobile internet, the convergence of three networks, Internet of Things, cloud computing, network and information security, integrated circuit, electronic components, and computers and software.

What is CHOICE about?

CHOICE is an EC funded project, started in 2014, and will last until the end of 2015. The project aims to provide continuity and progress in supporting and strengthening China Collaboration on ICT research with Europe, offering timely input on common ICT R&D priorities and future cooperation opportunities between the EC and China, and assisting in focusing dialogue. For more information, please refer to the main outcomes at http://projects.sigma-orionis.com/choice/main-outcomes/ and the online database at http://choice.spi.pt/.

Any other events in China?

There was also a CHOICE Event “Fostering EU-China Collaborative Innovation in ICT” organized in Chengdu.

Any events this year in Europe?

CHOICE Final Event was held in Lisbon in October. SPI was in charge of the organisation of the event-taking place in Lisbon. Moreover, CHOICE workshop “Exploring FIWARE opportunities towards China” was held in Hamburg on November 6, 2015. It was organised under the aegis of the European Commission as part of the 3rd European Conference on the Future Internet (ECFI-3) and with the support from the FIWARE Mundus initiative.

What are the outputs of CHOICE?

The main outputs of CHOICE include the latest information on EU-China cooperation on ICT. Online database provides relevant EU MS/AC projects and a mapping of Chinese and EU industrial associations. For more information, please refer to the main outcomes from project website http://projects.sigma-orionis.com/choice/main-outcomes/ and online database at http://choice.spi.pt/

What acts constitute IPR infringement through e-commerce?

Unauthorized reproduction of a protected work offered for sale online is an infringement of the content provided online. Using an identical graphic design and colours of the presentation of the website is an infringement of the copyright of the website.

What ICT cooperation has been done between EU and China?

EU-China ICT cooperation began in the 1980s. EU information and communication has been the biggest investment in S&T cooperation for years in China. It was only until the FP7 (2007-2013) that ICT has truly become the most important field of EU-China cooperation.

How can I find National Contact Points?

The network of National Contact Points (NCPs) is the main structure to provide guidance, practical information and assistance on all aspects of participation in Horizon 2020. For more information, please refer to http://ec.europa.eu/research/participants/portal/desktop/en/support/national_contact_points.html

Is there any funding scheme or specific call in Horizon 2020 that will provide funding to EU participants as well as Chinese participants?

Horizon 2020 is the new EU funding programme for research and innovation running from 2014 to 2020 with a €80 billion budget. Regarding funding scheme or specific call for providing funding to EU and Chinese participants, we can’t find any specific calls for funding. However, participants can apply funding through Participant Portal. More information on http://ec.europa.eu/programmes/horizon2020/en/how-get-funding

What are the concrete funding tools for Chinese participants to get funding from China, so that they can cover their research expenses?

Chinese participants can get funding from the Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC), Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and China Scholarship Council (CSC).

I may have the chance to start a project with Chinese stakeholders, which may foresee experimentation of ICTs in their organizations. Does it makes sense and if not, what kind of roles Chinese partners/stakeholders may take in ICT-related projects?

Chinese partners are more familiar with ICT standards and regulation in China, which would help European partners to easily access Chinese market. Chinese partners can also provide different kinds of cutting edge ICT-related equipment. Some Chinese partners are good to communicate with other organizations that allow EU to have more chances to develop the business in China.

How is the RFID market in China? What types of RFID products are applied in China?

The RFID market is huge and is keeping growing. It is estimated that Chinese market for RFID at $3 billion in 2014. The global market for RFID will grow at $23 billion in 2021. The Chinese RFID market has grown quickly through Chinese government support, reaching 37% of the global market, and is continuing to outpace the global market. The applications mainly focus on HF applications, including the second generation of identification card, e-passports, social security card, and etc.

How is the development of Chinese 3D printing market?

China is rapidly embracing 3D printing and sales of printers are expected to grow four-fold to 37,800 printers in 2018, as revenues more than triple to $109 million.

How to maintain the relationship with the Chinese partners?

Although China’s ways of doing business are becoming more Westernized, non-Chinese executives still must work hard at building trust in relationships with their Chinese business partners. More visits to China and face to face meetings are helpful to maintain the relationship.

Is Ostrava (a city in Czech Republic) attractive for Chinese companies to start the business?

In recent years, Ostrava has experienced an enormous economic boom and inflow of investments to its industrial zones, and into the development and construction of hotels. It welcomes Chinese to start business.

What are the barriers when exporting ICT products from Czech to China?

Companies need to handle, or be actively involved in, all the logistics of the transaction (licenses, standards, certification, labelling, shipping, customs related requirements. If it is technological product, companies must be prepared to respond to technical questions, and to provide on-site start-up training.

Is there any toys trade association in Europe?

TIE is the trade association for the European toy industry. At present membership includes fourteen direct member companies and all major national toy associations, representing approximately 80% of European toy sales, as well as affiliate members.

How is the development of e-commerce market in China?

It is estimated that e-commerce in China will be worth US$540 billion by 2015, and by 2020 worth more than e-commerce in the U.S., the UK, Japan, Germany and France combined. Consumers in China are more partial to shopping online, especially through their smartphones.

How can the CHOICE project support the establishment of more joint projects between EU-China on ICT research?

The CHOICE project has three main objectives:

1) Identifying obstacles to reciprocity and encouraging a more balanced relationship with China based on reciprocity, especially supporting European nationals, companies and organisations willing to access Chinese research programmes;

2) Highlighting and showcasing both EU and Chinese excellence in ICT R&D;

3) Strengthening EU-China industrial ICT R&D cooperation.

The project has been developing products that can enhance the establishment of joint projects between EU-China on ICT research, such as the Information Package for EU Researcher to apply for Chinese funding programmes on ICT, the Roadmap to strengthen the cooperation, and the establishment of the project online database on EU-China projects, among others.

What have been the recent developments about EU-China ICT research?

Both the European and the Chinese governmental bodies have been focusing on Scientific research cooperation, which includes the ICT field. The EU and China have been establishing several policy dialogues and promoting joint initiatives in order enhance the cooperation on ICT research, specifically regarding the reciprocity between China’s access to EU’s FP R&D programmes and EU’s access to China’s research funding programmes – the project website provides more relevant information regarding these cooperation issues.

For EU companies, what is the best way to find/interact with Chinese partners for the new H2020 ICT calls?

It is recommended to visit the CHOICE project online database website, where a list of potential interested Chinese partners who are active in international cooperation with Europeans in the ICT sector is available. Attending events from the ICT area (please check the CHOICE website for more information) is also a relevant basis for initiating partnerships with Chinese potential partners.

What are the new opportunities for EU-China cooperation on the field of Smart Cities in the new EU framework programme and where can we get that information?

Smart Cities is one of the main topics in China on ICT research. It is also relevant to mention the EU-China Smartcities project that aims to “facilitate and support current and future implementation of Policy Dialogues between the EU and China on a broad range of key sectors and issues, with the overall aim to strengthen strategic relations between the EU and China”. You can access it at http://eu-chinasmartcities.euNew calls from the H2020 programme on Smartcities can be accessed at the official participant portal under the calls section.

What is the main focus from the Chinese side in terms of urbanization issues?


The Chinese economic development has led to a general improvement of the urbanization process, particularly during the past 10 years. Urbanization provides the biggest potential for enlarging the domestic economy. In the last years, China has been focusing on smart grids, smart transport, smart water supplies, smart land administration and smart logistics in terms of urbanization issues.

How can we access new funding opportunities for EU-China urbanization projects on research and innovation?

New opportunities can be accessed through the EU framework programme for Research and Innovation (H2020), as well through Chinese funding opportunities – these can be found in the CHOICE project website, where there is a detailed document about the different programmes focused on ICT (that may include urbanization topics).

Regarding the potential ICT partnership between EU and China – past achievements of H2020 and some potential rules for the EU – is there any idea of a potential field in which there could be interesting to collaborate with China?

The approach taken from the EU is a top-down approach: at the beginning of each Framework Programme, there is defined a specific Work Programme which includes several fields. In each field, there is a large list of priorities which act as basis for the calls for proposals. All the most advanced fields of research in IT are opened and available. The Chinese participants should have the initiative to contact the EU delegation in Beijing or other relevant bodies and assess the most relevant opportunities for cooperation (subjects and priorities).

How can we better prepare for the calls of the next work programme of ICT for 2016 and really create an impact?

Science policy of the EU is very democratic, so the most important step would be to contact NCP on ICT – this information is available online. For the Chinese side, the best solution is to go through the Bilateral Dialogue with the EU and the Chinese authorities, mainly the Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST).

Additional comment from the speakers: For the Chinese side, the best way to find potential partners is by participating in international events, consulting scientific literature and check the list of current projects available on CORDIS platform. It would also be relevant to check the information available on the Enterprise Europe Network (EEN).

Should I take preventative measures to protect my business’ intellectual property rights in China?

China’s IPR (intellectual property rights) protection system is expanding and improving, but it remains vastly different from the European system. Accordingly, to be successful in China your business must take preventative measures to protect your intellectual property rights; one must obtain valid IPR rights in China as a minimum first step. In other words, the protection of IPR rights should be a key part of your business strategy, whether entering or expanding operations in China.

For more detailed information on the topic, please see the China IPR SME Helpdesk guide to ‘Intellectual Property Rights in China for SMEs in the ICT Industries’