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Horizon 2020 - SME instrument

Why to deal with this? The new “SME Instrument” under Horizon 2020 aims to fill gaps in funding for early-stage, high-risk research and innovation by SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) as well as stimulating breakthrough innovation.

Only SMEs will be able to apply for funding. SMEs can decide how best to organise the project and with whom to collaborate, including subcontracting tasks if they lack in-house capabilities.

Support is provided in three different stages covering the whole innovation cycle. Phase 1: A feasibility part will allow for an assessment of the technological and commercial potential of a project (proof of concept). Funding is provided in the form of a lump sum. Phase 2: A main grant will support an innovation project focusing on activities such as demonstration, testing, prototyping, pilot lines, scale-up studies, miniaturisation, design, performance verification etc. and market replication. Phase 3: The commercialisation phase is supported indirectly through facilitated access to debt and equity financial instruments as well as various other measures, for example on IPR protection.

Successful completion of one stage will allow an SME to move on to the next, but each stage is open to all SMEs. In addition, a coaching and mentoring scheme is provided exclusively to beneficiaries of the instrument in order to accelerate the impact from the funding provided, thus equipping the company with the skills and capacities for innovation-driven growth. The service will be provided by specially-recruited business practitioners and will be accessible through the Enterprise Europe Network.

Additional information from the draft work programmes, not legally binding:

In the Horizon 2020 Work Programme “Food security, sustainable agriculture and forestry, marine and maritime and inland water research and the bioeconomy” (Societal Challenge 2), SMEs can apply for funding from the SME instrument for projects concerning the topic “SFS-8-2014/15 Resource-efficient eco-innovative food production and processing”.

Phase 1 projects should last around 6 months and receive a lump sum of EUR 50,000. Planned time between cut-off date and signing of grant agreement: 3 months. Phase 2 projects should last between 12 and 24 months, with EU funding of about 0.5-2.5 million (max. 70% of eligible cost). For phase 2, the indicative time between cut-off date and signing of the grant agreement is about 6 months.

When is it suitable/applicable? The SME instrument targets highly innovative SMEs showing a strong ambition to develop, grow and internationalise, regardless of whether they are high-tech and research-driven or non-research conducting, social or service companies.

Support is provided in three different stages covering the whole innovation cycle. Participants can apply to phase 1 with a view to applying to phase 2 at a later date, or directly to phase 2.

Calls for proposals for the SME instrument are assigned cut-off dates, which can be found in the calls for proposals.

When is it NOT suitable/applicable? The instrument is quite flexible, but probably not suitable for projects requiring very short time-to-market.
What costs are related to it (financial, time effort etc.)?  
  • Co-financing of 25% of project volume required
  • Time for project activities, project management and reporting

What’s the relevant HTE output? The search function of this website (Food Tech Innovation Portal) will help you identify institutes and technology centres with experience in your technology area. They may be suitable partners for your R&D project in the frame of Horizon 2020 - SME instrument.
Whom can I talk to from the HTE team? all partners

Relevant internet links Links:
Online databases and tools n/a
Where to get advice, consultancy? Support:
Related innovation sheets EU 7th Framework Programme - Research for SMEs, Eurostars, European financing instruments (loans, guarantees, etc.), Financial x pre feasibility, Financial x feasibility, Management x pre feasibility, Management x feasibility, Horizon 2020

Title Horizon 2020 - SME instrument
Aspect Financial
Latest Version 26-11-2013
Completed by ZENIT


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Created by Hte zenit on 26 November 2013, at 10:04