Funding Opportunity: Horizon 2020 SME Instrument 2018

Updated: Oct 24, 2018

Next deadlines for Horizon 2020 SME Instrument approaching: let's innovate!

Are you a SME or a founder with a highly innovative project? Do you need funding to bring your product/service on the market? Then you can apply to the SME Instrument competition, part of the Horizon 2020 European programme. This grant is extremely competitive and requires your project to be highly innovative.


Phase I - 5th September 2018

Phase II - 9th October 2018


To apply for this grant, you need to be an innovative SME which means your organisation must be engaged in an economic activity and must have:

  • less than 250 employees

  • an annual turnover of no more than €50 M and/or an annual balance sheet of no more than €43 M.

Note that the competition is very tough and only the most innovative and groundbreaking projects are selected. Over the first three years of the competition, the overall success rate was 8.4% for Phase I and 5.5% for Phase 2.

Project size

Depending on the maturity of your project, you can apply to either a Phase I or a Phase II funding:

  • Phase I (next deadline 05/09/2018): if you have a proof-of-concept, a Phase I funding will help you get a grip on the R&D, technical feasibility and commercial potential of a ground-breaking, innovative idea. It will provide the resources to develop a credible business plan in order to scale up your project. Successful applicants will receive a lump sum of €50 000 for a project that should last around 6 months.

  • Phase II (next deadline 09/10/2018): Phase 2 helps you develop your validated business concept further into a market-ready product, service or process aligned with your company's growth strategy. Activities could, for example, include trials, prototyping, validation, demonstration and testing in real-world conditions, and market replication. If the activity concerns a primarily technological innovation, a Technology Readiness Level (TRL) of 6 or above is required. Projects will receive between €0.5 M and €2.5 M but you can request a higher or lower amount, duly justified, when applying. Projects should normally take 12 to 24 months to complete but could be longer in exceptional and well-justified cases.

How to apply

The EU Commission has provided an online manual - which is available here - to help you through the process. The application is divided into three parts:

  • PART A – Administrative section;

  • PART B – Annex 1-3 – Proposal description;

  • PART B – Annex 4-5 – Company.

How to get the grant

If you write the application yourself you have 10% chance of having the grant, if we write the application it goes up to 25%. If you want to see how interesting it is to work with us on such an application, you can read our economic case study on EU funding application.

Don't waste your time and money, get in touch!

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