Minimum conditions for participation in Horizon 2020

Research and Innovation Actions (RIA) and Innovation Actions (IA) require the participation of at least three legal entities which are independent of each other and are based in different EU Member States or countries associated to Horizon 2020.


The term “legal entity” is deemed to include both legal persons and natural persons (e.g. sole proprietors).

Beneficiaries are regarded as independent of each other where “neither is under the direct or indirect control of the other or under the same direct or indirect control as the other.” For details see the Rules for Participation, article 8.

Additional organisations may participate in the project and are not subject to the criteria of independence and establishment in different EU Member States/associated countries.

More detailed information about participation and eligibility of organisations from third countries can be found at Horizon 2020 – International Cooperation.


Specific conditions for participation apply to certain project types such as ERC projects, the SME Instrument or Fast Track to Innovation.

The work programme may specify additional conditions for individual calls (e.g. concerning the number of participants, type of participants and establishment), which can be seen from the relevant call documents.

Please note that the minimum conditions for participation must continue to be fulfilled when beneficiaries terminate their participation during the project!

Beneficiaries not receiving EU funding (article 9 Grant Agreement)

These are organisations, which …

  • either are not eligible for funding (as they are not from an EU Member State/associated country/third country listed in Annex A to the Horizon 2020 Work Programme 2018-2020 or as they were not granted EU funding by the European Commission)
  • or voluntarily do not request any funding.

The estimated costs of these beneficiaries need to be indicated in the project budget (Annex 2), but will not be reimbursed and will not be taken into account for the calculation of the grant amount.

Please note: If such beneficiaries become eligible for funding during the action, they may in principle request funding as from their eligibility (an amendment is necessary). As this does not increase the maximum grant amount, the other beneficiaries need to reshuffle the project budget in order to free part of the project budget for them.

For these beneficiaries not all of the obligations under the Grant Agreement (GA) apply (e.g. the financial obligations and some IPR obligations do not apply).


More detailed information can be found ...

  • in the Guide of the European Commission "Guidance note - Funding of applicants from non-EU countries & international organisations"
  • in the information document of BILAT USA 4.0 "4 ways for US researchers to collaborate in Horizon 2020"


National Contact Point: Legal and financial aspects
T 0043577554008
Mag. Tamara-Katharina MITISKA
Mag. Tamara-Katharina MITISKA
Expert: Legal and financial aspects
T 0043577554009
Robert WOREL
Robert WOREL
T 0043577554611