Horizon 2020 SME instrument 2015 -IV

Updated: Nov 14, 2018

The next deadline for Horizon 2020 SME Instrument is approaching - let's innovate!

Are you an 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 for the SME Instrument competition if:

  • you are an SME or a founder of a highly innovative project

  • you need funding to bring your service/product to market.

The SME instrument is part of the Horizon 2020 European programme. This grant is extremely competitive and requires your project to be highly innovative.


Application for this phase of the Horizon 2020 SME instrument will close on November 25th, 2015


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

  • and 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 the committee will only select only the most innovative and ground-breaking projects.

Note that the competition is very tough and only the most innovative and ground-breaking projects are selected.

Project size

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

  • The goal of Phase I is to help you with R&D, technical feasibility and commercial potential of a ground-breaking, innovative idea. NB: you need to have a proof-of-concept beforehand. Phase 1 will provide the resources to develop a credible business plan, thus allowing you 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: once validated, you'll need to turn your business concept into a market-ready product/service/process. Phase 2 helps you with that, the activities it can fund are numerous. It 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 can then receive between €0.5 M and €2.5 M. You can nonetheless 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: an administrative section (Part A), a description of the proposal (Part B - annexes 1-3) and a description of the company itself (Part b - annexes 4-5)

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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