EU Framework Programmes for Research and Innovation


The European Framework Programmes for Research and Innovation are the European Union's (EU) main instruments for implementing its common scientific and innovation policy. The current, ninth Framework Programme, "Horizon Europe", runs from 2021 to 2027 and has a total budget of around EUR 95.5 billion. Horizon Europe officially began on 12 May 2021, but came into retroactive effect from 1 January 2021.

Legal basis

The EU's research and innovation policy, which is set out in the former treaties of Maastricht and Amsterdam and the currently valid Lisbon Treaty, aims to make research in Europe a transnational activity, wherever appropriate. The intention is to share costs and pool resources for large-scale projects and to work together to find solutions to problems affecting the whole of Europe.

The first EU Framework Programmes for Research and Innovation were introduced in 1984. Up to and including the sixth generation (2003–2006), the programmes ran over a period of four or five years. Since 2007, they have run for seven years. The ninth programme was launched under the name of "Horizon Europe" at the beginning of 2021.


Funding of the EU Framework Programmes for Research and Innovation (FPRI) is drawn from the regular contributions made by EU Member States to the EU. In addition, associated countries that have concluded an agreement with the EU on their participation in the FPRI contribute to the programme through a compulsory contribution to the EU. The amount of this contribution is set out in the respective association agreement and was determined in the past by a GDP key. 

Since their inception, FPRI budgets have continuously grown and the thematic priorities and instruments have been adapted according to social and political needs in Europe. Further information on these developments is provided in the Overview of all Framework Programmes.

Project proposals

Project proposals for the EU Framework Programmes for Research and Innovation are submitted by researchers and innovators from one or several states working together, generally in response to specific EU research calls. These project proposals are reviewed by independent experts. Information about currently open calls and funding opportunities is published here EU's Funding and Tenders Portal.

Swiss participation

1 January 2004 is an important milestone in terms of Switzerland's participation in the EU Framework Programmes for Research and Innovation (FPRI). Before then, Swiss researchers taking part in FPRI projects had limited rights and received their funding directly from the Confederation. As of 2004, a corresponding bilateral agreement with the EU enabled Switzerland to participate in the 6th RPFI and the Euratom Research and Training Programme as an associated country with all rights and obligations. A similar bilateral agreement for full Swiss involvement in the 7th FPRI (2007–2013) was also concluded (see Overview of all Framework Programmes).

With associated country status, Switzerland was entitled to be represented in the project committees and the various steering committees. This gave Switzerland direct access to information and meant it could be involved in developing the current programme and in shaping future EU Framework Programmes and the European Research Area (ERA).

Full Swiss association was also planned for the 8th FPRI (Horizon 2020 package including Euratom). Following the outcome of the popular vote of 9 February 2014 on the mass immigration initiative and subsequent failure to sign the Croatia Protocol, the European Commission denied Switzerland full association to Horizon 2020. An agreement on partial association was signed instead on 5 December 2014, with retroactive effect from 15 September 2014. This partial association agreement remained in place until the end of 2016. Switzerland thus continued to take part as an associated state in certain aspects of Horizon 2020 until it became a fully associated member of the Horizon 2020 package including Euratom from 1 January 2017 (see Horizon 2020).

The latest, 9th FPRI (Horizon Europe) officially began on 12 May 2021 but came into retroactive effect from 1 January 2021. The specific conditions for Switzerland’s association will be set out in a separate EU negotiation mandate. Currently, Switzerland participates in Horizon Europe and other related programmes and initiatives as a non-associated third country until further notice. This status can be modified (see Horizon Europe).

Facts and figures on the Swiss participation

A look at the 8th FPRI (2014–2020) shows that researchers from Switzerland were also very successful in competing for EU research funds during those years: around CHF 3.043 billion in funding was allocated to Switzerland. In the list of participating countries by level of funding, Switzerland ranks eighth and first among the associated countries. Of all the projects submitted, the Swiss projects also had the highest success rate. This is mainly due to the success in European Research Council (ERC) individual projects and the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA), which account for a large proportion of Swiss participation. In a global comparison for Horizon 2020, Switzerland is clearly at the top in terms of success rates for individual projects.

Within Horizon Europe, Switzerland has so far recorded 1144 project participations and funding commitments amounting to CHF 564 million (as of October 2023). However, the available data on Horizon Europe are provisional and should be interpreted with caution. The data for the first year of the programme (2021) are not yet complete and only limited data are available for the calls for 2023.

For further information on Swiss FPRI participation and its importance for Switzerland see Facts and figures on the Swiss participation.

The role of SERI

The State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) represents Switzerland and defines the strategic and operative measures necessary for Swiss participation in the EU Framework Programmes. It promotes Swiss interests in the various programme committees of the European Commission and helps shape the strategic orientation of initiatives and programmes. In addition, it monitors the evaluation procedures of the EU Framework Programmes for Research and Innovation and represents Switzerland in the European Research Area (ERA) and its associated bodies.

SERI mandates and funds the Euresearch information network, which provides practical information and advice to researchers and innovators from the private and public sector interested taking part in EU Framework Programmes.