Improving noise reduction
The Silentwood project has developed sophisticated noise-reducing wall panels and doors. In addition to spurring growth and jobs in the doors/panels application sector, Silentwood will provide direct economic and health benefits to the EU.
EuResist - Enhancing HIV treatment with more precise patient modeling
HIV is not curable but it is treatable, states Dr Francesca Incardona, CEO of EuResist Network GEIE and research area manager at Informa Srl, the SME responsible for coordinating the EuResist project.
SILCO - Doing away with bacteria in water systems
The SILCO project has developed an innovative monitoring device that senses the elimination process of complex bacterial communities
known as biofilm and unsafe bacteria from drinking water systems. The prototype successfully killed legionella bacteria at a natural source spa in Slovakia
FIRELI - New hose equipment to increase safety of firemen
Every year, fires affect large areas of forest in Europe - mostly in the Mediterranean countries, where an average of
around 500,000 hectares are destroyed annually. That is the equivalent of 50 times the land area of Paris.
The economic cost is estimated at between €600 and €800 million per year.
Smart irrigation technology set to reduce costs and save water
Due in large part to inefficient water irrigation systems, the agriculture industry wastes 60% of the water it uses each year, or 70% of the world's freshwater. WaterBee has developed a smart irrigation system to reduce this wastage, thereby saving money and increasing both crop quality and yield.
NANORAY - A portable x-ray machine
X-ray technology has existed for more than 100 years, but in spite of repeated efforts no one has found a way of solving the problems involved
in making X-ray machines portable. Now, thanks to an innovative European Union (EU) funded multinational research project, that breakthrough has
at last been achieved.
CleanHatch - New high-tech solution to clean fish hatcheries
Due to increased market pressure to produce high quality and low cost fish, the aquaculture industry has been forced to develop technologies that reduce the level of risk to investors yet maintain reliable production output.
Let there be sight
Transplanting the human cornea (1) can enable a blind person to see. But it requires the perfect human donor match and there are no guarantees of success. A group of EU-funded SMEs and researchers, however, has developed an artificial cornea that offers failed transplant patients a potentially life-changing alternative.
Research for SMEs supports small groups of innovative SMEs in solving technological problems and acquiring technological know-how. Projects must fit into the overall business and innovation needs of the SMEs, which are given the opportunity to subcontract research to RTD performers in order to acquire the necessary technological knowledge. Projects must render clear exploitation potential and economic benefits for the SMEs involved.
SMEs that need to ‘acquire’ research by outsourcing, such as low to medium technology SMEs with little or no research capacity; or research intensive SMEs that need to outsource in order to complement their core research capability. Projects are intended to create new knowledge or produce results with clear potential to improve or develop new products, processes or services for the SMEs taking part.
Within the framework of each project, the Research for SMEs scheme will support SMEs in:
Under FP7, the funding model used for Research for SMEs (formerly Cooperative Research) maintains its guiding principle to strengthen the innovation capacities of SMEs to develop new products and markets through the acquisition of new knowledge from those institutions best suited to carry out research.
The SME participants are the direct beneficiaries of the project: they invest in the RTD project and outsource (subcontract) most of the research and demonstration activities to RTD performers and receive in return the technological know-how they need to develop new or improve existing products, systems, processes or services.
The relationship between the SMEs and the RTD performers under this programme is therefore a “customer-seller” relationship. The idea is to allow SMEs to further develop their activities by buying knowledge from RTD performers, who sell their expertise and work. Research and development activities undertaken by the SMEs themselves with their own resources are essentially focussed on initial specifications and, later, on validation and testing of the acquired knowledge. In this context, the real investment or cost incurred by the SMEs includes the price they pay for the know-how they wish to acquire: the intellectual property rights and knowledge developed during the project.
It is important to note that Research for SMEs is a bottom-up scheme: the projects may address any research topic across the entire field of science and technology
The European Community will provide a financial support to the project which covers only part of the total costs. The SME participants will therefore have to contribute with own resources, in cash or in-kind, to the project. The EC contribution is based on upper funding limits for individual activities:
One important rule for the calculation of the EC contribution applies:
In accordance with the rules of participation and in order to achieve the aim of promoting the outsourcing of research and demonstration activities, the financial support to the project will be limited to 110% of the total amount of the subcontracting to the RTD performers (price to be invoiced by RTD performers to SMEs).
Use this Excel spreadsheet to calculate the EC contribution for your proposal.
For a more detailed explanation of the scheme please see a small brochure entitled
"Research for SMEs at a glance" ( 129 KB)
Projects require participants from the following categories:
In addition, other enterprises and end-users may participate by making a particular contribution to the project. They must also be independent from any other participant.
The size of the consortium should typically be between 5 and 10 participants. The overall budget of the project should typically be between €0.5 million to €1.5 million and the duration of the project should normally be between 1 and 2 years. If a project deviates from these recommendations a justification is required.
Decision-making, coordination of the project and consortium agreement
The management and decision making approach of the project should be tailored to
the real needs in terms of scale and complexity. The consortium has to ensure
that no decision can be taken against the collective interest of the SME
The coordination of the project is a demanding and complex management task which requires a well qualified and experienced coordinator. The SME participants may entrust the coordination to a RTD performer or a partner in the consortium specialised in professional project management. The coordinator carries out the following tasks:
Once a project has been selected and negotiations are finalised the participants have to submit a signed consortium agreement to further detail information already reflected in the Technical Annex to the contract. It addresses issues such as the internal organisation of the consortium, the management of the Community financial contribution, rules on dissemination and use, including intellectual property rights management or the settlement of internal disputes.
Already at the proposal stage the consortium has to provide a clear and adequate
description of how the participants will organise IPR (Intellectual Property
Rights) ownership and user rights (e.g. licences, royalties) among themselves.
The consortium may decide to follow the default regime, which gives full
ownership of all project results ("foreground") and IPR to the SMEs.
The consortium may however reach a different agreement in its own best interest, as long as the SMEs are provided with all the rights that are required for their intended use and exploitation of the project results. In practice, this can, for example, mean that the RTD performers keep ownership of the entire foreground (or parts of it) and that the SMEs acquire licences only.
In exchange the RTD performers co-invest with own resources in the project. Therefore the price and payment modalities agreed between RTD performers and SMEs should reflect the value of the intellectual property rights and knowledge acquired, meaning for example that the price of licences should be lower than the price for ownership of all results.
For a simple overview, please see the Step by Step Guide.
A model proposal ( 8.4 MB) for Research for SMEs had been produced to help SMEs in the preparation of a proposal. Please note that this is only an example proposal that can be used as a reference document to help SMEs prepare their own submission. The content is entirely fictional.
Calls are published on
CORDIS under the
section dealing with the
Capacities Programme: Research for the benefit of SMEs.