Horizon 2020 SME Instrument
KEY DRIVER: 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.
Funding Body Horizon 2020
Funding Amount €50k - €2.5m
Next Deadline Rolling dates until 2020
Seen as a means to drive economic growth and create jobs, Horizon 2020 has the political backing of Europe’s leaders and the Members of the European Parliament. They agreed that research is an investment in our future and so put it at the heart of the EU’s blueprint for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth and jobs.
By coupling research and innovation, Horizon 2020 is helping to achieve this with its emphasis on excellent science, industrial leadership and tackling societal challenges. The goal is to ensure Europe produces world-class science, removes barriers to innovation and makes it easier for the public and private sectors to work together in delivering innovation.
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Horizon 2020 is open to everyone, with a simple structure that reduces red tape and time so participants can focus on what is really important. This approach makes sure new projects get off the ground quickly – and achieve results faster.
The EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation will be complemented by further measures to complete and further develop the European Research Area. These measures will aim at breaking down barriers to create a genuine single market for knowledge, research and innovation.
As part of the Horizon 2020 programme, the European Commission is selecting potentially disruptive businesses to invest in and support as part of the SME Instrument scheme. SMEs with a strong growth potential and the ambition to become world-market leaders can receive funding and business support. Only highly innovative and ground-breaking ideas will be considered.
The programme is structured in three phases with an overall aim of transforming disruptive ideas into concrete, innovative solutions with a European and global impact. Applicants are recommended to apply for Phase 1, but may also apply directly for subsequent phases. Please note, Phase 3 offers no financial support.
Phase 1: Concept & Feasibility Assessment: Idea to concept (6 months)
Up to €50 000 of grant funding;
EU will carry out a feasibility study to verify the viability of the proposed disruptive innovation or concept;
Successful applicant will draft an initial business proposal (around 10 pages).
Phase 2: Demonstration, Market Replication, R&D: Concept to Market-Maturity (1-2 years)
between €0.5 million and €2.5 million of grant funding;
Testing phase: e.g. demonstration, testing, piloting, scaling up, and miniaturisation activities;
Successful applicant will draft a more developed business plan (around 30 pages).
Phase 3: Commercialisation: Prepare for Market Launch
Successful applicant will receive support, training, mentorship and facilitating access to risk finance as the project is further polished into a marketable product - provided by Enterprise Europe Network (EEN);
no direct grant funding available.
The fund is available to all SMEs in the UK with an eligible innovation project. Projects at the technology readiness level 6 or higher (technology demonstration) have the best chances to receive funding.
Projects need to address one of the following priority themes identified by the EU:
Nanotech, or other advanced tech for manufacturing and materials
Sustainable food production and processing
High risk ICT innovation
Space research and development
Clinical research for the validation of diagnostics devices and biomarkers
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)