Horizon 2020, and the instrument for SMEs

Horizon 2020 is the new program of the system of integrated funding intended for research of the European Commission, a task that was up to the Seventh Framework Programme, the Framework Programme for Competitiveness and Innovation (CIP) and the European Institute for Innovation and Technology (EIT). The new program will run from 1 January 2014 until 31 December 2020 and will support the EU in global challenges to researchers and innovators by providing the tools they need to implement their projects and their ideas. The budget for Horizon 2020 (including the program for nuclear research Euratom) is of € 70.2 billion at constant prices / of € 78.6 billion at current prices.

The SME instrument is a new specific measure specifically aimed at small and medium-sized enterprises within the framework Horizon 2020. Its purpose is to encourage the participation of SMEs in the program and develop their innovative potential, making funding mechanisms simpler and responsive to their needs. This tool caters to all small and medium-sized enterprises, geared to internationalization and are able to develop a project of excellence in Innovation, a European dimension and with a high economic impact.

OBJECTIVE: to place SMEs at the heart of the innovation process, offering them a window of dedicated funding and the ability to independently manage the choice of partner, the mechanisms of subcontracting, the organization of the project and its financial sustainability in the long run , according to a bottom-up logic and business-oriented. The model that is inspired by the instrument is the SBIR (Small Business Innovation Research), born in the US to improve competitiveness through the promotion of small high-tech companies. The young high tech companies, while contributing significantly to growth and employment, often have difficulty in finding the necessary funds to finance experiments. Reserve their share of funding for research and innovation can be an important tool to address this critical. As in the SBIR model, even in the new instrument is intended only for SMEs to participate in the announcement of funding and support takes place in three phases, covering the whole innovation cycle. The company received an initial funding to prepare a feasibility study of the technical and scientific project. If the project proves to have potential commercial and technology, the company receives additional financing to develop it up to the demonstration stage. Support for the commercialization phase, financed with private capital, it’s made indirectly, through easier access to financial and management measures and exploitation of intellectual property rights.