HORIZON 2020: SME INSTRUMENT

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The SME Instrument is a Horizon 2020 funding scheme dedicated exclusively to those businesses that come under the definition of “small and medium-sized enterprises” (SMEs). SMEs can participate individually or together with other SMEs.

The SME Instrument is addressed to those SMEs with a revolutionary business idea and breakthrough products, services, processes or models, based on a solid business plan and a strong commercialisation strategy that can allow them to scale up and reach international markets.

These SMEs must be bearers of a “disruptive innovation”, i.e. being able to put themselves on the market using high-impact innovations.

The funding scheme foresees three phases, divided as follows:

Phase 1 - Proof-of-concept

Phase 1 is thought to explore the scientific or technical feasibility and commercial potential of the business idea, with the help of a € 50,000 lump sum grant that finances the development of a feasibility plan.

Phase 2 - Development & demonstration

Phase 2 foresees the development of a ground-breaking business idea further with the help of a grant in the order of € 500,000 to 2,5 million, turning it into a market-ready product, service or process. A detailed business plan and commercialisation strategy should be produced, describing the expected impacts on the company in both qualitative and quantitative terms.

Phase 3 - Go-to-market

This Phase does not provide for additional monetary funding, but it offers continuous support in the introduction and development of the product / service / model on the market.

EVALUATION

The evaluation process is based on 3 criteria:

The SME Instrument, whether applying for a Phase 1 or a Phase 2, is explicitly targeted at applicants presenting innovation projects that have reached TRL 6 as a minimum (or equivalent for non-technological innovations). This means that the proposed activities should take place in an operational or production environment.

TRL – TECHNOLOGY READINESS LEVEL

TRL 1 Basic principles observed and reported
TRL 2 Technology concept and/or application formulated
TRL 3 Analytical and experimental critical function and/or Characteristic proof of concept
TRL 4 Technology validated in laboratory environment
TRL 5 Technology validated in relevant environment (industrially relevant environment in the case of key enabling tecnologies)
TRL 6 Technology demonstrated in relevant environment (industrially relevant environment in the case of key enabling tecnologies)
TRL 7 System prototype demonstration in operational environment
TRL 8 System complete and qualified through test and demonstration
TRL 9 Actual system proven in operational environment

DEADLINES CALENDAR

2019
Phase 1 Phase 2
13/02/2019
07/05/2019
05/09/2019
06/11/2019
09/01/2019
03/04/2019
05/06/2019
09/10/2019
2020
Phase 1 Phase 2
11/02/2020
06/05/2010
02/09/2020
04/11/2020
08/01/2020
18/03/2020
19/05/2020
07/10/2020

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