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EU funding for SME sector

The EU SME Instrument for Research & Development & Innovation financing offers opportunities for small and medium-sized machine tool companies. The next phase of the programme is aimed at advanced manufacturing.

Available under Horizon 2020, the European Union's funding programme for research and innovation for 2014-2020, the scheme will provide direct funding to SMEs through the new SME Instrument which is a company not project-centred programme.

It provides support for SMEs that base their growth and market strategy on completely new approaches and breakthrough innovation (including non-technological innovation). The attractive features are: a funding instrument exclusively open to SMEs; application by one single company possible (or by a consortium of companies); supports close-to-market innovation (Technology Readiness Level 6 and beyond); covers all types of innovation including technology, management, services; no limits on the choice of research / innovation topic; submission of proposals possible any time of the year; advanced manufacturing a priority theme in 2014-15 work programme; reduced paper work, only a description of project in 10 pages! (for phase I); short time-to-contract phase (3 to 6 months); 70 % funding rate with funding released at three stages upon successful completion of each phase; SME chooses freely its cooperation partners, possibility to source research to third parties if missing in-house research capacity.

Funding is competitive and project proposals have to be in line with call topics published on the Participant Portal, the gateway to EU research funding:

Choose one of the calls under 13 themes* which suit your project best. These themes are selected as priority the 2014-2015 Work Programme and include
advanced manufacturing.

You can submit your application for phase 1 or phase 2 at any time as of March 2014. The SME Instrument is managed as a permanently open call with – in general – four cut-off dates per year. Applications can be submitted at any point in time. The next cut-off date is 18/06/2014. Evaluation takes places after each cut-off date. Time to contract is 3 to 6 months.

Personalized advice and guidance on how to apply from two support networks who understand your local and global challenges. Discover your personal help lines:

Enterprise Europe Network
•Whether you need information on EU legislation, help finding a business partner, want to benefit from innovation networks in your region or need information on funding opportunities, this is the place to start.

National Contact Points (NCPs)
•NCPs provide information and guidance to SMEs wishing to participate in EU research and are able to offer personalized support in the proposer's own language.

More info:
Read the Frequently Asked Questions – document on participation