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SMEs will be supported across Horizon 2020 pillars or priorities. Their participation in the programme will be particularly encouraged through a new dedicated SME instrument.
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SMEs will be supported across Horizon 2020 pillars or priorities. Their participation in the programme will be particularly encouraged through a new dedicated SME instrument.

The new dedicated SME instrument under Horizon 2020 Horizon2020 is the EU’s new programme for research and innovation. It will run from 2014 to 2020 with a budget of 80 billion euros (proposed by the European Commission, still in discussion).

H2020 will combine all research and innovation funding currently provided through the Framework Programmes for Research and Technical Development, the innovation related activities of the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP) and the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT).

SMEs will be supported across Horizon 2020 pillars or priorities through a new dedicated SME instrument.

The aim of the SME instrument is to:

- fill gaps in funding for early-stage, high-risk research and innovation by SMEs as well as stimulating breakthrough innovations.

- - target all types of innovative SMEs showing a strong ambition to develop, grow and internationalise.

- provide support to all types of innovation, including non-technological, social and service innovations, given each activity has a clear European added‑value.

The SME instrument will cover all fields of science, technology and innovation in a bottom-up approach within a given societal challenge or enabling industrial technology so as to leave sufficient room for all kinds of promising ideas, notably cross-sector and inter-disciplinary projects, to be funded.

How will it work?

The SME instrument will provide easy access with simple rules and procedures, as well as a staged support in 3 phases which will cover the whole innovation cycle.

The 3 phases can be summerised as follows:

- Phase 1 or the feasibility part will allow an assessment of the technological and commercial potential of a project; it will tackle then the feasibility of concept, risk assessment, IP regime, partner search, design study, pilot application intention, business plan II

- Phase 2: a main grant will be provided to undertake research and development with the emphasis on demonstration and market replication. More in details: development, prototyping, testing, piloting  innovative processes, products and services, miniaturisation/design of products, planning & developing scaling-up (market segments, process etc.), market replication, business plan III

- Phase 3: The commercialisation phase will be supported indirectly through simplified 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, each stage will be open to all SMEs.

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