The SME Instrument

English
Start date: 
Tuesday, 12 November 2013
Deadline: 
Thursday, 31 December 2020
Overview and objectives: 

Horizon 2020 will support Innovative Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) through a new dedicated SME instrument.

In total, more than € 2.8 billion will be allocated for the SME instrument from 2014 to 2020, at least 7% of the total budget of the Societal Challenges and Leading and Enabling Technologies (LEIT) blocks of Horizon2020.

The new SME instrument will be a simpler and more easily accessible funding scheme for SMEs. It comes in addition to the support provided through the participation of SME in collaborative projects that will be continued in Horizon 2020, as well as to other measures for SME (such as the EU contribution of the Eurostar programme).

The aim of the SME Instrument is to fill the gaps in funding for early-stage, Research and Innovation SMEs and accelerating the exploitation of innovations. Projects will be selected through a bottom-up approach within a given societal challenge or enabling technology of  H2020. They must be of clear interest and benefit to SMEs and have a clear European dimension.

SMEs can form collaborations according to their needs, including for subcontracting research and development work to apply for funding and support.

The SME instrument is not meant as a company creation vehicle/instrument, but rather supports the growth of companies with interesting, innovative ideas with European or global potential.

Actions: 

The SME Instrument is structured in 3 phases covering different stages of the innovation cycle. The processes of evaluating the proposals are based on simple rules in order to reduce the time to contract.

Phase 1 aims to cover the assessment of technical feasibility and market potential of new ideas. Project will be supported through a lump sum of € 50,000 and the typical duration should be 6 months.

 

Phase 2 aims to cover R&I activities with a particular focus on demonstration activities (testing, prototype, scale-up studies, design, piloting innovative processes, products and services, validation, performance verification etc.) and market replication encouraging the involvement of end users or potential clients. Projects funding should be up to € 2,500,000 and the typical duration should range from 12 to 24 months (more funding and longer duration are possible if duly justified).

Phase 3 concerns support measures in view of helping SMEs toward commercialising their innovative products and services through measures like networking, training, coaching and mentoring, facilitating access to private capital or better interaction with key stakeholders. SME will be not funded directly under phase 3.

SMEs are recommended to apply for funding starting with part 1, however they are allowed to apply directly to part 2 or even part 3, depending on the stage of their project. Successful completion of one part will allow an SME to move on directly to the next one.

SMEs can apply for funds under phase 1 and phase 2 whenever they need. The calls under these parts will be open according to a ramp-up phase in 2014 (to be confirmed) and then on continuous basis till 2020. As for phase 3, the calls for projects should be open through fixed time-windows.

In 2014 and 2015 the SME Instrument will sponsor SMEs operating within 13 themes:

  • High risk ICT innovation
  • Nanotech, or other advanced tech for manufacturing and materials
  • Space research and development
  • Clinical research for the validation of diagnostics devices and biomarkers
  • Sustainable food production and processing
  • Blue growth
  • Low carbon energy systems
  • Greener and more integrated transport
  • Eco-innovation and sustainable raw material supply
  • Urban critical infrastructure
  • Biotechnology-based industrial processes
  • Mobile e-government applications (2015 only)
  • SME business model innovation (2015 only)
Recipient bodies: 

Available to SMEs only, SMEs can form collaborations according to their needs, including for subcontracting research and development work to apply for funding and support.

Programme budget: 
€3 000 000 000.00
Eligible cost: 
%70
Beneficiaries: 
Developed programme: 

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.

English
Calls developing it: 

BIOTEC-5a-2014-1 Biotechnology-based industrial processes

The large number of SMEs which characterise the EU biotechnology sector are playing a crucial role in the move to competitive and sustainable biotechnology-based processes. These SMEs are characterised by their research intensity and long lead times between early technological development and market introduction. They therefore need to be supported to overcome the so-called “valley of death”.

English

BIOTEC-5a-2014-2 Biotechnology-based industrial processes

The large number of SMEs which characterise the EU biotechnology sector are playing a crucial role in the move to competitive and sustainable biotechnology-based processes. These SMEs are characterised by their research intensity and long lead times between early technological development and market introduction. They therefore need to be supported to overcome the so-called “valley of death”.

English

BIOTEC-5b-2015-1 Biotechnology-based industrial processes

The large number of SMEs which characterise the EU biotechnology sector are playing a crucial role in the move to competitive and sustainable biotechnology-based processes. These SMEs are characterised by their research intensity and long lead times between early technological development and market introduction. They therefore need to be supported to overcome the so-called “valley of death”.

English

BIOTEC-5b-2015-2 Biotechnology-based industrial processes

The large number of SMEs which characterise the EU biotechnology sector are playing a crucial role in the move to competitive and sustainable biotechnology-based processes. These SMEs are characterised by their research intensity and long lead times between early technological development and market introduction. They therefore need to be supported to overcome the so-called “valley of death”.

English

DRS-17-2014-1 Critical infrastructure protection

The aim is to engage small and medium enterprises in security research and development and in particular to facilitate and accelerate the transition of their developed products/services to the market place.

The specific challenge of the actions and activities envisaged under this topic are related to protection of urban soft targets and urban critical infrastructures .

English

DRS-17-2014-2 Critical infrastructure protection

The aim is to engage small and medium enterprises in security research and development and in particular to facilitate and accelerate the transition of their developed products/services to the market place.

The specific challenge of the actions and activities envisaged under this topic are related to protection of urban soft targets and urban critical infrastructures .

English

DRS-17-2015-1 Critical infrastructure protection

The aim is to engage small and medium enterprises in security research and development and in particular to facilitate and accelerate the transition of their developed products/services to the market place.

The specific challenge of the actions and activities envisaged under this topic are related to protection of urban soft targets and urban critical infrastructures .

English

DRS-17-2015-2 Critical infrastructure protection

The aim is to engage small and medium enterprises in security research and development and in particular to facilitate and accelerate the transition of their developed products/services to the market place.

The specific challenge of the actions and activities envisaged under this topic are related to protection of urban soft targets and urban critical infrastructures .

English

ICT-37-2014-1 Open Disruptive Innovation Scheme

The challenge is to provide support to a large set of early stage high risk innovative SMEs in the ICT sector. Focus will be on SME proposing innovative ICT concept, product and service applying new sets of rules, values and models which ultimately disrupt existing markets.

The objective of the ODI is threefold:

English

ICT-37-2014-2 Open Disruptive Innovation Scheme

The challenge is to provide support to a large set of early stage high risk innovative SMEs in the ICT sector. Focus will be on SME proposing innovative ICT concept, product and service applying new sets of rules, values and models which ultimately disrupt existing markets.

The objective of the ODI is threefold:

English

ICT-37-2015-1 Open Disruptive Innovation Scheme

The challenge is to provide support to a large set of early stage high risk innovative SMEs in the ICT sector. Focus will be on SME proposing innovative ICT concept, product and service applying new sets of rules, values and models which ultimately disrupt existing markets.

The objective of the ODI is threefold:

English

ICT-37-2015-2 Open Disruptive Innovation Scheme

The challenge is to provide support to a large set of early stage high risk innovative SMEs in the ICT sector. Focus will be on SME proposing innovative ICT concept, product and service applying new sets of rules, values and models which ultimately disrupt existing markets.

The objective of the ODI is threefold:

English

INSO-10-2015-1 - SME business model innovation

The specific challenge addressed by this topic is to enable SMEs - in traditional sectors, such as manufacturing industries, in sectors of particularly rooted in Europe’s history such as cultural heritage related services, social services and tourism as well as in new sectors including different services and creative industries, and the social economy – to innovate and grow across traditional boundaries, through new business models and organisational change. The international dimension is included.

English

INSO-10-2015-2 - SME business model innovation

The specific challenge addressed by this topic is to enable SMEs - in traditional sectors, such as manufacturing industries, in sectors of particularly rooted in Europe’s history such as cultural heritage related services, social services and tourism as well as in new sectors including different services and creative industries, and the social economy – to innovate and grow across traditional boundaries, through new business models and organisational change. The international dimension is included.

English

INSO-9-2015-1 - Innovative mobile e-government applications by SMEs

The scope of this action is to provide support to innovative SMEs, including start-ups, for the design and creation of innovative applications "apps" , in order to foster the delivery of mobile public services.

English

INSO-9-2015-2 - Innovative mobile e-government applications by SMEs

The scope of this action is to provide support to innovative SMEs, including start-ups, for the design and creation of innovative applications "apps" , in order to foster the delivery of mobile public services.

English

IT.1-2014-1: Small business innovation research for Transport

The European transport sector must have the capacity to deliver the best products and services, in a time and cost efficient manner, in order to preserve its leadership and create new jobs, as well as to tackle the environmental and mobility defies. The role of SMEs to meet these challenges is critical as they are key players in the supply chains. Enhancing the involvement of weaker players in innovation activities as well as facilitating the start-up and emergence of new high-tech SMEs is of paramount importance.

English

IT.1-2014-2: Small business innovation research for Transport

The European transport sector must have the capacity to deliver the best products and services, in a time and cost efficient manner, in order to preserve its leadership and create new jobs, as well as to tackle the environmental and mobility defies. The role of SMEs to meet these challenges is critical as they are key players in the supply chains. Enhancing the involvement of weaker players in innovation activities as well as facilitating the start-up and emergence of new high-tech SMEs is of paramount importance.

English

IT.1-2015-1: Small business innovation research for Transport

The European transport sector must have the capacity to deliver the best products and services, in a time and cost efficient manner, in order to preserve its leadership and create new jobs, as well as to tackle the environmental and mobility defies. The role of SMEs to meet these challenges is critical as they are key players in the supply chains. Enhancing the involvement of weaker players in innovation activities as well as facilitating the start-up and emergence of new high-tech SMEs is of paramount importance.

English

IT.1-2015-2: Small business innovation research for Transport

The European transport sector must have the capacity to deliver the best products and services, in a time and cost efficient manner, in order to preserve its leadership and create new jobs, as well as to tackle the environmental and mobility defies. The role of SMEs to meet these challenges is critical as they are key players in the supply chains. Enhancing the involvement of weaker players in innovation activities as well as facilitating the start-up and emergence of new high-tech SMEs is of paramount importance.

English

SC5-20-2014-1 Eco-innovation and sustainable raw material supply

Innovative SMEs have been recognised as being able to become the engine of the green economy and to facilitate the transition to a resource efficient, circular economy. They can play an important role in helping the EU to exit from the economic crises and in job creation. The potential of commercialising innovative solutions from SMEs is however hindered by several barriers including the absence of the proof of concept, the difficulty to access risk finance, the lack of prototyping, insufficient scale-up studies, etc.

English

SC5-20-2015-1 Eco-innovation and sustainable raw material supply

Innovative SMEs have been recognised as being able to become the engine of the green economy and to facilitate the transition to a resource efficient, circular economy. They can play an important role in helping the EU to exit from the economic crises and in job creation. The potential of commercialising innovative solutions from SMEs is however hindered by several barriers including the absence of the proof of concept, the difficulty to access risk finance, the lack of prototyping, insufficient scale-up studies, etc.

English

SC5-20-2015-2 Eco-innovation and sustainable raw material supply

Innovative SMEs have been recognised as being able to become the engine of the green economy and to facilitate the transition to a resource efficient, circular economy. They can play an important role in helping the EU to exit from the economic crises and in job creation. The potential of commercialising innovative solutions from SMEs is however hindered by several barriers including the absence of the proof of concept, the difficulty to access risk finance, the lack of prototyping, insufficient scale-up studies, etc.

English

SFS-08-2014-1: Resource-efficient eco-innovative food production and processing

Current food production and processing systems, especially in the SME sector, need to be revised and optimized with the aim of achieving a significant reduction in water and energy use, greenhouse gas emissions and waste generation, while at the same time improving the efficiency in the use of raw materials, increasing climate resilience and ensuring or improving shelf life, food safety and quality.

English
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