New Horizon 2020 Call Opens for Industrial Leadership – Innovation in SMEs and Access to Risk Finance

The Industrial Leadership – Innovation in SMEs and Access to Risk Finance of the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme aims to develop the ecosystem of innovation support to SMEs in Europe. Actions are designed to provide opportunities for Member States and regions to enhance their innovation support services through collaboration, peer-learning and uptake of new approaches and to develop and disseminate skills and expertise among SMEs.

A new Call Topic has been launched to support the ambitions of the Innovation in SMEs and Access to Risk Finance strand of the Industrial Leadership pillar. This Topic is as follows:

European Open Innovation Network in Advanced Technologies

Whilst open innovation is a well-known concept in large companies, SMEs are less aware of the opportunities it affords.

Innovation intermediaries such as technology centres can help SME solution providers get closer to large industrial users to co-create new products/services through a better anticipation of their needs. One major role of technology centres is “to bridge the gap between internal and external know-how”. They are therefore well-positioned as innovation intermediaries in an open innovation context.

The action will involve the setting-up of a European Open Innovation Network in advanced technologies with a central brokerage service point, aimed at matching innovation needs/requests from large industries with innovative solutions from SME technology providers. The central brokerage service point will use the network of innovation intermediaries (eg technology centres) to help matching innovation needs/requests and solution offers. The consortium will define the capacity and quality criteria applicable to innovation intermediaries for joining the network. The network should span across the EU.

The brokerage services aim to liaise SME providers of solutions based on advanced technologies with potential industry users such as large (multinational) companies having specific technological challenges. The services are expected to include support and advice to companies to define their innovation requests/offers and identify possible solutions/usages (technology scouting). The services should also include the identification of any technology services required to make the collaboration between the SME provider and the industry user successful, including the identification of the technology centre(s) and expert(s) for providing these.

The services should be flexible, quick and efficient to match business needs and ensure effective matchmaking between SME solution providers and large industrial users. The brokerage services should be free of charge for SMEs. The brokerage services should lead to a critical mass of collaboration projects between SME solution providers and (large, multinational) industry users. The network is expected to work towards financial sustainability and remain active after the end of the project.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of up to €1.5 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately.

The deadline for applications is 1 August 2019.

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