Horizon 2020 SME instrument - third call of 2017

Updated: Nov 14, 2018

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

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


Phase I - 06 September 2017 Phase II - 01 June 2017


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 1 is designed to help companies at an early stage. It helps them turn a proof-of-concept into a prototype. The funds (€50 000) can finance R&D, technical feasibility studies and commercial potential studies. The goal of it is to help companies scale up their project by developing a credible business plan. The projects should last about 6 months.

  • Phase 2 helps companies develop a market-ready product/service/process (trials, prototyping, validation, demonstration and testing in real-world conditions, market replication etc.). A Technology Readiness Level (TRL) of 6 or above may be required. Projects will then receive between €0.5 M and €2.5 M. 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. There are three parts to this application: the first section is the administrative one, followed by the description of the project (section B - annexes 1-3) and the description of the company (section B - annexes 4-5).

How to get the grant

If you write the application yourself you have 10% chance of having the grant. On the other hand, 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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