Horizon 2020 will offer 2 billion euros to support SMEs’ innovations in the next 3 years

Almost 2 billion euros will be available for the SMEs within the Horizon 2020 framework in 2018-2020! This was announced in the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 draft working programme for the next three years. As in the previous editions, it includes two important lines of investment for small and medium-sized enterprises: the SME Instrument and the Fast Track to Innovation (FTI).

As of January 2018, both tools will become the central part of the European Innovation Council (EIC) pilot, which is considered to become the next framework for the EU research and innovation programme.

 

What kind of actions can benefit from SME Instrument and Fast Track to Innovation?

Those small and medium-sized enterprises whose products, services or business models are able to create new markets in Europe and even worldwide. The EC looks for the innovation models that can be scaled up rapidly at European and global levels.

 

What is new for the SME Instrument?

A more open approach and a simplified submission! First of all, contrary to the existing pre-defined topics, now the European Commission will allow entrepreneurs from all sectors of the economy to apply with their innovations.
Second, the submission process became easier thanks to the simplified application forms, and adoption of a business-oriented language, clearer description of the participation conditions.

Additionally, evaluation process has also been improved: more expert-evaluators with an investor profile have been added to the evaluators’ pool, and personal interviews with applicants in Phase 2 have been foreseen.

 

What about the Fast Track to Innovation?

Fast Track to Innovation has proved to be successful. Therefore, it has finished its pilot phase, and it keeps the same conditions that have been provisioned previously. FTI aims at accelerating the market uptake of ground-breaking innovations. In other words, it helps to reduce timing between an initial product’s idea and its entrance to the market.

 

When will the final version be published?

The Work Programme for 2018-2020 will be published on 27 October 2017. Until then, it has to be considered as preliminary and subject to technical modifications.