Research & Innovation - Participant Portal


TOPIC : European Open Innovation network in advanced technologies

Topic identifier: INNOSUP-07-2019
Publication date: 27 October 2017

Types of action: CSA Coordination and support action
Planned opening date:
05 February 2019
Deadline: 01 August 2019 17:00:00

Time Zone : (Brussels time)
  Horizon 2020 H2020 website
Pillar: Industrial Leadership
Work Programme Year: H2020-2018-2020
Topic Description
Specific Challenge:

Open innovation is a paradigm that assumes that companies can benefit from external ideas/technologies (Outside-In) and valorise internal ideas/technologies with external partners (Inside-Out) to reduce the financial risks associated to innovation, and quickly get a competitive advantage. Open Innovation implies accelerating internal R&D and innovation along value chains through collaboration between the technological supply - and demand - side[1] within networked, multi-collaborative ecosystems.

Open innovation today is a well-known concept in large companies. However, SMEs are less aware of the opportunities offered by open innovation. Innovation intermediaries such as technology centres can help SME solution providers get closer to large industrial users to co-create[2] 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".[3] They are thus well-positioned as innovation intermediaries in an open innovation context. Technology centres help companies move technologies (such as digital and other key enabling technologies) from lab to market. They often achieve innovation by adapting existing ideas and concepts to other industrial ambits and usually collaborate with both large companies and SMEs.


The action will consist of:

  • 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 (e.g. 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 could include for example translating innovation requests into technical descriptions, technology scouting, disseminating requests through the network, proactively identifying existing solutions and providers, actively promoting solutions from SME providers towards potential users etc. 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 (e.g. engineering to customise the technology solution to the customer's needs), 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.

Proposals should outline a strategic vision for building a European Open Innovation Network in advanced technologies with a central brokerage service point. The network should be open to all innovation intermediaries complying with set capacity/quality criteria. The platform should improve SME access to large industrial users and address challenges associated to Open Innovation, such as confidentiality and IPR, entry costs and proactive search for innovation partners. The impact of the brokerage services should be monitored (e.g. contracts signed by companies as a result of the brokerage services). Synergies will be sought with relevant EU and other initiatives supporting innovation in SMEs, such as the INSPIRE initiative[4] as well as the Enterprise Europe Network, in particular for making best use of existing tools for matchmaking (such as the Enterprise Europe Network database[5]) and outreach to SMEs. Synergies with the European IPR Helpdesk are also encouraged.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of up to EUR 1.5 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:
  • Critical mass of collaboration projects between SME solution providers and (large, multinational) industry users.
  • Sustainable network ensuring effective matchmaking, at pan-European level, between innovative solutions from SME providers and needs/usages of (large, multinational) industries.
  • Positive business impacts (e.g. increased sales) for SME providers having benefited from the brokerage services.
  • Increased provision by SMEs of innovative solutions based on advanced technologies matching the needs of industrial users.

[1]Open innovation, open science, open to the world - a vision for Europe, DG RTD, 2016 (

[2]Co-creation refers to the joint development of knowledge through relationships with specific partners. Relationships can be consortia of competitors, suppliers, customers as well as universities and Public Research Organisations (such as RTOs).

[3]Boosting open innovation and knowledge transfer in the European Union, Independent expert group report on open innovation and knowledge transfer ; Directorate-General for Research and Innovation, 2014 (



Topic conditions and documents

1. Eligible countries: described in Annex A of the Work Programme.
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. See the information in the Online Manual.


2. Eligibility and admissibility conditions: described in Annex B and Annex C of the Work Programme. 


Over a period of maximum 3 years, the brokerage services should lead to a critical mass of collaboration projects.

Proposal page limits and layout: please refer to Part B of the proposal template in the submission system below.


3. Evaluation:

  • Evaluation criteria, scoring and thresholds are described in Annex H of the Work Programme. 
  • Submission and evaluation processes are described in the Online Manual.

4. Indicative time for evaluation and grant agreements:

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

5. Proposal templates, evaluation forms and model grant agreements (MGA):

Coordination and Support Action:

Specific provisions and funding rates
Standard proposal template
Standard evaluation form
General MGA - Multi-Beneficiary
Annotated Grant Agreement

6. Additional provisions:

Horizon 2020 budget flexibility
Classified information
Technology readiness levels (TRL) – where a topic description refers to TRL, these definitions apply

7. Open access must be granted to all scientific publications resulting from Horizon 2020 actions.

Where relevant, proposals should also provide information on how the participants will manage the research data generated and/or collected during the project, such as details on what types of data the project will generate, whether and how this data will be exploited or made accessible for verification and re-use, and how it will be curated and preserved.

Open access to research data
The Open Research Data Pilot has been extended to cover all Horizon 2020 topics for which the submission is opened on 26 July 2016 or later. Projects funded under this topic will therefore by default provide open access to the research data they generate, except if they decide to opt-out under the conditions described in Annex L of the Work Programme. Projects can opt-out at any stage, that is both before and after the grant signature.

Note that the evaluation phase proposals will not be evaluated more favourably because they plan to open or share their data, and will not be penalised for opting out.

Open research data sharing applies to the data needed to validate the results presented in scientific publications. Additionally, projects can choose to make other data available open access and need to describe their approach in a Data Management Plan.

Projects need to create a Data Management Plan (DMP), except if they opt-out of making their research data open access. A first version of the DMP must be provided as an early deliverable within six months of the project and should be updated during the project as appropriate. The Commission already provides guidance documents, including a template for DMPs. See the Online Manual.

Eligibility of costs: costs related to data management and data sharing are eligible for reimbursement during the project duration.

The legal requirements for projects participating in this pilot are in the article 29.3 of the Model Grant Agreement.


8. Additional documents:

Horizon 2020 Work Programme 2018-20 - Introduction
Horizon 2020 Work Programme 2018-20 - Chaper 7. Innovation in SMEs

Horizon 2020 work Programme 2018 - 20 - Dissemination, Exploitation and Evaluation

General annexes to the Work Programme 2018-2020

Legal basis: Horizon 2020 Regulation of Establishment
Legal basis: Horizon 2020 Rules for Participation
Legal basis: Horizon 2020 Specific Programme

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