SME Instrument


Period of implementation: 2014-2020 Total Programme Budget: 2.8 billion € Link:

Horizon 2020 is supporting Innovative Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) through a new dedicated SME instrument. SMEs can form collaborations according to their needs, including for subcontracting research and development work to apply for funding and support. In total, more than € 2.8 billion will be allocated for the SME instrument from 2014 to 2020, at least 7% of the total budget of the Societal Challenges and Leading and Enabling Technologies (LEIT) blocks of Horizon2020.


The aim of the SME Instrument is to fill the gaps in funding for early-stage, Research and Innovation SMEs and accelerating the exploitation of innovations. Projects will be selected through a bottom-up approach within a given societal challenge or enabling technology of  H2020. They must be of clear interest and benefit to SMEs and have a clear European dimension.


The SME Instrument is structured in 3 phases covering different stages of the innovation cycle. The processes of evaluating the proposals are based on simple rules in order to reduce the time to contract.

Phase 1 aims to cover the assessment of technical feasibility and market potential of new ideas. Project will be supported through a lump sum of € 50,000 and the typical duration should be 6 months.

Phase 2 aims to cover R&I activities with a particular focus on demonstration activities (testing, prototype, scale-up studies, design, piloting innovative processes, products and services, validation, performance verification etc.) and market replication encouraging the involvement of end users or potential clients. Projects funding should be up to € 2,500,000 and the typical duration should range from 12 to 24 months (more funding and longer duration are possible if duly justified).

Phase 3 concerns support measures in view of helping SMEs toward commercialising their innovative products and services through measures like networking, training, coaching and mentoring, facilitating access to private capital or better interaction with key stakeholders. SME will be not funded directly under phase 3.

SMEs are recommended to apply for funding starting with part 1, however they are allowed to apply directly to part 2 or even part 3, depending on the stage of their project. Successful completion of one part will allow an SME to move on directly to the next one.

SMEs can apply for funds under phase 1 and phase 2 whenever they need. The calls under these parts will be open according to a ramp-up phase in 2014 (to be confirmed) and then on continuous basis till 2020. As for phase 3, the calls for projects should be open through fixed time-windows.


Title of the Call: ICT 37 – 2014/15: Open Disruptive Innovation Scheme

Programme and website:

Eligible partners:

  • At least one SME.

For-profit SMEs’ means micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises, as defined in Commission Recommendation 2003/361/EC, that are not ‘non-profit legal entities’ as defined in the Rules for Participation and Dissemination (‘legal entity which by its legal form is non-profit-making or which has a legal or statutory obligation not to distribute profits to its shareholders or individual members’);

  • Only applications from for-profit SMEs established in EU Member States or countries associated to Horizon 2020;
  • No concurrent submission or implementation with another phase 1 or phase 2 project.

Main objective

The Open Disruptive Innovation (ODI) Scheme provides support for small businesses that are proposing innovative ICT products or services that apply a new set of rules and have the potential to disrupt existing markets.

Max budget

The SME Instrument works in three separate but complementary phases. This call refers to the deadlines for Phase 1, which covers the assessment of technical feasibility and market potential of new ideas. The project will be supported through a lump sum of 50 000 EUR and the typical duration should be 6 months.


First round: 18/06/2014 at 17:00pm (CET)

Second round: 24/09/14 at 17:00pm (CET)

Third round: 17/12/14 at 17:00pm (CET)

More information and Guide for Applicants to be found here:

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