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TOPIC : Technology services to accelerate the uptake of advanced manufacturing technologies for clean production by manufacturing SMEs

Topic identifier: INNOSUP-03-2017
Publication date: 14 October 2015

Types of action: CSA Coordination and support action
Opening date:
08 November 2016
Deadline: 28 March 2017 17:00:00

Time Zone : (Brussels time)
  Horizon 2020 H2020 website
Pillar: Industrial Leadership
Work Programme Year: H2020-2016-2017
Work Programme Part: Innovation in SMEs
Topic Updates
  • 11 January 2017 11:03

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Topic Description
Specific Challenge:

Foresight studies show that the massive integration of advanced manufacturing will displace in a few years many of the current traditional manufacturing processes. In particular, energy and resource-efficient and low carbon technologies and the circular economy will be key drivers of innovation in SMEs. To remain competitive, manufacturing SMEs will increasingly need to rely on advanced manufacturing technologies for clean production. These technologies enable the development of new production processes, but also improve the manufacturing of existing products by reducing production costs, the reliance on raw materials and the consumption of energy, while diminishing the adverse impacts on the environment by reducing the generation of waste and pollution.

Currently, only one third of manufacturing companies in the EU has used advanced manufacturing technologies so far and plans to use them in the next year[1]. The challenge is to provide technology support to SMEs who lack resources and/or competences to integrate innovative advanced manufacturing technologies for clean production.

SMEs' access to technology services and facilities remains difficult in many regions of the EU (a recent inventory shows that two thirds of the technology infrastructures providing services to SMEs in the field of advanced manufacturing are located in only four Member States[2]). In this context, the High Level Group on Key Enabling Technologies (KETs) recommended in its report of June 2015 to ensure pan-European access of manufacturing companies to "premier-class" technology infrastructures in the field of KETs. As a first step, the Commission has published an inventory of existing technology infrastructures in the EU capable of providing SMEs with technology services and facilities in the field of KETs[3].


In order to ensure cross-border access of manufacturing SMEs to technology services and/or facilities enabling them to integrate innovative advanced manufacturing technologies for clean production into their production process, the action will consist of all the elements listed below:

  • Establish one-stop shop access for SMEs to technology services and/or facilities from a network of technology infrastructures in the field of advanced manufacturing for clean production.

The technology infrastructures should have the capacity to deliver services such as prototyping, testing, pilot production, engineering, training as well as expertise and advice (in technology but also on the overall innovation process) in order to assist SMEs to integrate innovative advanced manufacturing technologies for clean production into their production processes. The service provided to the SME should be driven by its business needs and the implementation should be flexible and fast to cope with the pace of innovation and the SME requirements. The consortium will define capacity and quality criteria and the network should be open to all technology infrastructures able to deliver services in compliance with these criteria. Criteria for monitoring the quality and impact of the services provided to the SMEs should also be established.

Proposals should outline how the network will develop a common coherent methodology to support SMEs in integrating innovative advanced manufacturing technologies for clean production into their production process, including how to reach out to SMEs across Europe.

Proposers are encouraged to link to existing or emerging regional and national networks in the field of advanced manufacturing for clean production, in particular in the context of smart specialisation.

  • Using the established network with one-stop shop access, provide cross-border services to a critical mass of manufacturing SMEs, over a period of maximum 3 years, to enable them to integrate innovative advanced manufacturing technologies for clean production into their production process and make informed decision for further investment. The services should bring together all relevant actors and the experts necessary to enable SMEs to integrate innovative advanced manufacturing technologies into their production process and assist them in customising and applying these solutions in their respective environments.

The action is expected to include financial support to third parties in line with the conditions set out in part K of the General Annexes. The third parties are expected to be SMEs willing to integrate cutting-edge advanced manufacturing technologies into their production process in an innovative way which requires the purchase of a technology service and/or access to specific technology facilities. The consortium will define the criteria for selecting the proposals submitted by the SMEs (such as expected substantial improvement of the environmental performance, innovativeness, expected significant competitive advantage) as well as the criteria for identifying the technology infrastructures capable of providing the necessary services to the SMEs. The consortium will also define the process to select the best offer from the technology infrastructures within the network to provide the required services at the best value for money for each proposal submitted by SMEs. Grants awarded to third parties shall be provided as a lump sum not exceeding EUR 60,000 and should not cover the full cost of the service provided to the SMEs.

  • Activities and measures to achieve the long-term sustainability of the scheme, including governance and dissemination. This includes the development of a business plan. Collaboration with national and regional authorities in charge of innovation support programmes is encouraged.

Proposals should cover advanced manufacturing technologies for clean production from a circular economy perspective. This can include advanced manufacturing technologies allowing reduced energy, materials and water consumption, reduced waste generation and emissions, the use and re-use of recovered and recycled materials, biomass and/or other renewable inputs, the making of modular products and easier disassembly and separation, as well as process control technologies.

Proposers are encouraged to link with ongoing activities in relevant Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) such as the Sustainable Process Industry (SPIRE)[4] and the Factories of the Future (FoF)[5] and their stakeholders.

Proposers are encouraged to liaise with the Enterprise Europe Network, and cluster organisations, in particular for dissemination activities and identification of the. manufacturing SMEs having a big potential and willingness to adopt innovative advanced manufacturing solutions for clean production.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of up to EUR 4.9 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected Impact:
  • Attract a significant number of new SMEs users of innovative advanced manufacturing technologies in the manufacturing sector, leading to significant and quantifiable increase in their productivity, environmental performance and/or in market shares due to increased quality and innovativeness of products;
  • Creation of a self-sustainable ecosystem gathering technology infrastructures, SME users and suppliers of innovative advanced manufacturing technologies, and providing access to technology services and facilities through a marketplace, covering a large number of regions and their smart specialisation;
  • Deployment of a critical mass of innovative solutions to apply advanced manufacturing technologies into the production processes of SMEs.


[2]Namely Germany, the UK, France and Spain




Topic conditions and documents

Please read carefully all provisions below before the preparation of your application.

  1. List of countries and applicable rules for funding: described in part A of the General Annexes of the General Work Programme.
    Note also that a number of non-EU/non-Associated Countries that are not automatically eligible for funding have made specific provisions for making funding available for their participants in Horizon 2020 projects (follow the links to China, Japan, Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Taiwan).

  2. Eligibility and admissibility conditions: described in part B and C of the General Annexes of the General Work Programme

    Proposal page limits and layout: Please refer to Part B of the standard proposal template.

  3. Evaluation

    3.1  Evaluation criteria and procedure, scoring and threshold: described in part H of the General Annexes of the General Work Programme

    3.2 Submission and evaluation process: Guide to the submission and evaluation process

  4. Indicative timetable for evaluation and grant agreement:

    Information on the outcome of single-stage evaluation: maximum 5 months from the deadline for submission.
    Signature of grant agreements: maximum 8 months from the deadline for submission.


Provisions, proposal templates and evaluation forms for the type(s) of action(s) under this topic:

Coordination and Support Action:

Specific provisions and funding rates
Standard proposal template
"Please note that the budget table template for your call has been updated. The column for 'Direct costs of providing financial support' (to third parties)' is now editable. In order to refresh the budget table of your proposal you have to open the administrative form ('edit forms' button) and save the form."

Standard evaluation form
H2020 General MGA -Multi-Beneficiary
Annotated Grant Agreement


  1. Additional provisions:

    Horizon 2020 budget flexibility

    Financial support to Third Parties – where a topic description foresees financial support to Third Parties, these provisions apply.

  2. Additional documents:

H2020 Work Programme 2016-17: Innovation in SMEs

H2020 Work Programme 2016-17: General Annexes

H2020 Work Programme 2016-17: Dissemination, Exploitation and Evaluation

Legal basis: Horizon 2020 Rules for Participation

Legal basis: Horizon 2020 - Regulation of Establishment

Legal basis: Horizon 2020 Specific Programme


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