99% of all companies in Europe are small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). They contribute more than two thirds of the European Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and provide 75 million jobs. They are key for the implementation of the EU 2020 Strategy.
The Research for the benefit of SMEs programme, launched under FP7, aims at strengthening the innovation capacity of SMEs in Europe and their contribution to the development of new technology based products and markets. The programme helps them outsource research, increase their research efforts, extend their networks, better exploit research results and acquire technological know how, bridging the gap between research and innovation.
The funded SME actions aim at:
The Research Executive Agency manages € 1 billion of the total € 1,3 billion budget for "Research for the benefit of SMEs". The Competitiveness and Innovation Programme (CIP) also supports SMEs in some of their research activities.
Projects under SME Actions may address any research topic across the entire field of science and technology, (e.g. agriculture, health, energy, environment, construction, materials and others).