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Horizon 2020 SME Instrument

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31 January 2014

Introducing the Horizon 2020 SME Instrument

Are you:

  • An innovative Scottish SME (<250 employees/ ≤ €50 m turnover)
  • Pursuing a near‐market innovation project with international potential?
  • Funding your innovation project over the next 1‐2 years?

The SME Instrument is an entirely new EU funding line which opened under Horizon 2020, with an estimated budget of €3 billion over 7 years (2014‐2020). The instrument targets highly innovative SMEs with a strong ambition to grow and internationalise through market‐oriented innovation projects.

How it Works

Phase 1: Concept and Feasibility (~€50k, 6 months, funded up to 70%) 

  • Time to Grant: ~3 months
  • Outcome: A report used as input for phase 2

Phase 2: R&D, Investment Readiness (~€500k‐3M, 1‐2 years, funded up to 70%) 

  • Time to Grant: ~150 days
  • Outcome: Business Implementation Plan

Phase 3: Commercialisation (Mentoring support, access to EU financial facilities)

  • Outcome: Product placed on market

Key Features

  • Continuously open call, with each Phase open to new applicants
  • Open to single company projects as well as consortia (note: successful projects will emphasise EU added‐value)
  • Open to all innovative SMEs, regardless of whether they are high‐tech and research‐driven or non‐research conducting, social or service companies
  • Any IP generated resides with the SME
  • Projects must be relevant to Horizon 2020 ‘Leadership in enabling and industrial technologies’ (LEITs) and ‘Societal Challenges’ objectives (see below for the 2014/15 SME Instrument Calls and Cut Off Dates)

Open Calls 2014/2015

A number of The following calls were released in December 2013, and proposals must be submitted prior to the below cut-off dates:

  • 2014: Phase 1: 18 June, 24 September, 17 December / Phase 2: 9 October, 17 December
  • 2015: Phase 1: 18 March 2015, 17 June, 19 September, 16 December / Phase 2: 18 March, 17 June, 17 September, 16 December


Industrial Leadership

Information and Communication Technologies (ICT)

  • ICT 37 2014/2015: Open Disruptive Innovation Scheme (45/45 mil. EUR)
  • Summary: Innovative ICT concept, product and service applying new sets of rules, values and models which ultimately disrupt existing markets, prototyping, validation and demonstration in real world conditions, market uptake, strong EU dimension
  • Full Call: cs/2538‐ict‐37‐2014‐1.html
  • POC: Tracey Ward,

Nanotechnologies, Advanced Materials, Biotechnology and Advanced Manufacturing and Processing

  • NMP 25 2014/2015: Accelerating the uptake of nanotechnologies, advanced materials or advanced manufacturing and processing technologies by SMEs (21.8/23.8 mil. EUR)
  • Summary: Commercial uptake of nanotechnologies, advanced materials and advanced production technologies
  • Full Call: cs/2539‐nmp‐25‐2014‐1.html
  • POC: Anis Mourad,

BIOTEC 5 2014/2015: SME‐boosting biotechnology‐based industrial processes driving competitiveness and sustainability (3.8/2.4 mil. EUR)

  • Summary: Market uptake and distribution of innovations tackling the specific challenge of boosting biotechnology‐based industrial processes
  • Full Call: cs/2547‐biotec‐5a‐2014‐1.html
  • POC: Camille Moran, Space

SME SPACE 1 2014/2015: SME instrument (8.5/8.75 mil. EUR)

  • Summary: Any aspect of the Specific Programme for Space, especially in connection to the flagship programmes Galileo and Copernicus, application of terrestrial solutions to challenges in space and the development of certain critical technologies
  • Full Call: cs/2537‐space‐sme‐2014‐1.html
  • POC: Anis Mourad,

Societal Challenges

Health, demographic change and wellbeing

  • PHC 12 2014/2015: Clinical research for the validation of biomarkers and/or diagnostic medical devices (66.1/45 mil. EUR)
  • Summary: Clinical validation of existing in vivo and in vitro potential biomarkers, especially disease related biomarkers, for short term uptake into clinical practice (not the identification of new ones), validation of the clinical performance of new diagnostic devices in combination with the biomarker validation or against existing standards
  • Full Call: cs/2540‐phc‐12‐2014‐1.html
  • POC: Camille Moran,

Food security, sustainable agriculture and forestry, marine and maritime and inland water research and the bioeconomy

  • SFS 8 2014/2015: Resource‐efficient eco‐innovative food production and processing (9/17 mil. EUR)
  • Summary: More resource‐efficient and sustainable food production and processing, achieving a significant reduction in water and energy use, greenhouse gas emissions and waste generation, improving the efficiency in the use of raw materials, increasing climate resilience and ensuring or improving shelf life, food safety and quality
  • Full Call: cs/2541‐sfs‐08‐2014‐1.html
  • POC: Jane Watters,

BG 12 2014/2015: Supporting SMEs efforts for the development ‐ deployment and market replication of innovative solutions for blue growth (3/5 mil. EUR)

  • Summary: Marine biotechnology and aquaculture applications, tools and technologies
  • Full Call: cs/2542‐bg‐12‐2014‐1.html
  • POC: Jane Watters,

Secure, clean and efficient energy

  • SIE 1 2014/2015: Stimulating the innovation potential of SMEs for a low carbon and efficient energy system (33.95/37.26 mil. EUR)
  • Summary: Resource‐efficient, cost‐effective and affordable technology solutions reducing energy consumption and carbon footprint, low‐cost and low‐carbon electricity supply (including renewable energy as well as CCS and re‐use), alternative fuels and mobile energy sources, a single smart European electricity grid
  • Full Call: cs/2543‐sie‐01‐2014‐1.html
  • POC: Lucy Black,


Smart, green and integrated transport

  • IT 1 2014/2015: Small business innovation research for Transport (35.87/38.96 mil. EUR)
  • Summary: Market uptake and distribution of innovations tackling the specific challenges of the Transport Specific Programme
  • Full Call: cs/2544‐it‐1‐2014‐1.html
  • POC: Lorna MacLean,

Climate action, environment, resource efficiency and raw materials

  • SC5 20 2014/2015: Boosting the potential of small businesses for eco‐innovation and a sustainable supply of raw materials (17/19 mil. EUR)
  • Summary: Promising ideas, products, processes, services and business models addressing the climate action, environment, resource efficiency and raw materials challenge
  • Full Call: cs/2545‐sc5‐20‐2014‐1.html
  • POC: Anis Mourad,

Europe in a changing world – inclusive, innovative and reflective Societies

  • INSO 9 2015: Innovative mobile e‐government applications by SMEs (4 mil. EUR) *Opens 1/1/2015
  • Summary: Design and creation of innovative applications for mobile devices combining open public data and services with information and services offered by the private sector
  • Full Call: cs/2568‐inso‐9‐2015.html
  • POC: Tracey Ward,

INSO 10 2015: SME business model innovation (11 mil. EUR) *Opens 1/1/2015

  • Summary: New business models for SMEs in traditional sectors, such as manufacturing industries, cultural heritage, creative industries, social services and tourism
  • Full Call: cs/2569‐inso‐10‐2015.html

Secure societies – Protecting freedom and security of Europe and its citizens

  • DRS 17 2014/2015: Critical infrastructure protection topic 7: SME instrument topic: “Protection of urban soft targets and urban critical infrastructures” (7/7.4 mil. EUR)
  • Summary: Small‐scale demonstration of innovative technologies and tools related to protection of urban soft targets (parks, squares and markets, shopping malls, train and bus stations, passenger terminals, hotels and tourist resorts, cultural, historical, religious and educational centres and banks) and urban critical infrastructures (energy installations and networks, communications and information technology, finance, water, supply chain and government), which are exposed to increasing security threats
  • Full Call: cs/2546‐drs‐17‐2014‐1.html
  • POC: Tracey Ward,