The main grant funding body in Europe is Horizon 2020 (H2020), the current EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation. Horizon 2020 is the biggest EU Research and Innovation programme ever with nearly €80 billion of funding available over 7 years (2014 to 2020).
H2020 is particularly focused on science, industrial leadership and societal challenges, with specific allocations of funding in each area. The goal is to ensure Europe produces world-class science and technology, removes barriers to innovation and makes it easier for the public and private sectors to work together in delivering solutions to big challenges facing our society.
Fund focus – H2020 SME Instrument
Horizon 2020 funds high-potential innovation developed by SMEs through the H2020 SME instrument. The SME instrument offers Europe’s brightest and boldest entrepreneurs the chance to apply for funding for breakthrough ideas with the potential to create entirely new markets or revolutionise existing ones.
Provided with about € 1.6 billion in funding over the period 2018-2020, the SME Instrument supports ground-breaking innovative ideas for products, services or processes that are ready to conquer global markets.
SME Instrument is split into two phases:
H2020 Phase 1 helps businesses get a grip on the R&D, technical feasibility and commercial potential of a ground-breaking, innovative idea and develop it into a credible business plan for scaling it up. Projects receive a lump sum of €50 000 and should last around 6 months.
H2020 Phase 2 helps develop the project into a market-ready product, service or process. Activities could include trials, prototyping, validation, demonstration and testing in real-world conditions, and market replication. Projects receive between € 0.5 and € 2.5 million.
“The UK has received over €130M in funding through Horizon 2020 SME instrument, second only to Spain and overall, the UK received 11% of the funding provided.* It’s clear that the UK businesses and universities benefit enormously from access to the funding, talent and networks that Horizon 2020 provides.
The UK government confirmed in May 2018 that they are prepared to provide an appropriate financial contribution in order to continue the UK’s association with European science and innovation programmes post Brexit, including “Horizon Europe” – the successor to Horizon 2020 (due to end in November 2020). We would, therefore, encourage UK businesses involved in research and innovation to carry on applying for EU funding. There remains plenty of opportunities out there.”
*Source – The Grant Report 2018 H2020 focus