A constellation of interlinked programmes provides European funding for research in the field of bioeconomy. In 2014-2020, most funding comes from Horizon 2020 and the European Structural and Investment Funds. In addition, the European Fund for Strategic Investment supports areas like infrastructure, research and innovation and financing SMEs.

Horizon 2020

Horizon 2020 is the biggest EU research and innovation programme ever. A budget of almost EUR 80 billion is available over seven years (2014 to 2020). It builds up on previous research framework programmes and but also shows significant changes.

The following chart provides an overview on Horizon 2020 funding. Areas that are related to bioeconomy are highlighted in blue.

The Horizon 2020 monitoring report 2015 provides details on the budget spent. 268 grants have been signed under the second societal challenge (grants issued with calls in 2014 and 2015, with the cut-off date for signed grants being 1.9.2016), representing a total EU contribution of EUR 748.7 million.



Horizon 2020: 2014-2017 work programme budget analysed by activity, including the breakdown of Activity 2.4. between SC2 and BBI JU funding (%). Total budget SC2[3] + BBI JU[1][2]: EUR 1 758 million

Source: DG Research and Innovation Unit F1
This information is related to the SC2 2014-2015 and 2016-2017 work programmes and the BBI JU 2014-2016 annual work programmes. [1] The total amount of the budget does not include the year 2017 of the BBI work programme. [2] Funding under SC2 dedicated to ‘other actions’ was not included in the budget calculations. [3] For some topics, the available SC2 budget was topped up with the budget from other societal challenges.

2014-2017 work programmes topic budget breakdown by subactivity between SC2 and BBI JU (in million EUR).

Source: DG Research and Innovation Unit F1
[1] To avoid counting issues twice, the budget of one single topic falling under several areas was split accordingly.

Projects being funded by Horizon 2020 SC2 and BBI JU in 2014-2015. Breakdown of budget (%) related to number of funded projects [1]

Source: DG Research and Innovation Unit F1
This analysis is based on 250 projects funded in 2014-2015 (SC2 and BBI JU).
[1] The graph includes projects funded in 2014-2015 (SC2 and BBI). However, some projects from the BBI call 2015.2 have not been signed yet (August 2016) and are therefore excluded from this graph.
[2] Projects can be attributed to several activities, which is why project numbers per activity are not always integers.

Top 10 SC2 research activities/themes for 2014-2015 work programme (in million EUR)[1]

Source:DG Research and Innovation Unit F1
[1] Research activities/topics amounting to at least EUR 20 million in funding.

European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF)

ESIF investment targets boosting jobs, growth and investment, particularly in least developed areas. ESIF consists of five different funds, summarised in the following chart.

European Fund for Strategic Investment (EFSI)

The EC’s investment plan for Europe, in particular the EFSI, provides new financing opportunities to bioeconomy projects with high-risk profiles. Key features are included in the following chart.

Public-Public & Public-Private Partnerships

In addition to the ‘classic’ project approach often used for R&I activities, the EU also engages in public-public (P2P) partnerships and public-private partnerships (PPPs). The Bio-based Industries Joint Undertaking (BBI JU) is a prominent example of a PPP in the bioeconomy field.

Founded in 2014, the BBI JU is a PPP between the EU, represented by the European Commission, and the industrial partners, represented by the Bio-based Industries Consortium (BIC). The overall budget of EUR 3.7 billion comes from EU public funds (EUR 975 million) and private investment (EUR 2.7 billion).

The objective of the BBI JU is to develop sustainable and competitive bio-based industries in Europe based on advanced biorefineries that sustainably source their biomass.

Impact of the BBI in 2014-2016:

  • 65 projects including 20 demonstration projects and 6 flagship projects
  • A total of 729 participants from 30 countries for a total contribution so far of EUR 425 million
  • 36.7% of beneficiaries are SMEs. Funding to SMEs: 29%
  • Expected outputs by 2020 from 2014 and 2015 calls:
    • 82 new bio-based value chains
    • 46 new bio-based building blocks
    • 106 new bio-based materials
    • 51 bio-based consumer products

Examples of BBI flagship projects:

For further information:
Bio-Based Industries Joint Undertaking
Bio-based Industries Consortium


Other funds

NER 300 (EUR 3 million) funds innovative low-carbon energy demonstration projects and innovative renewable energy, while the LIFE programme 2014-2020 (EUR 3.4 billion (current prices)) aims at supporting environmental, nature conservation and climate action projects.

In November 2016, an investment package of EUR 222.7 million was approved from the EU budget to support Europe’s transition to a more sustainable and low-carbon future.