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Research connections

How they can work together

When operating individually, the three EU funding sources of FP7, CIP and Structural Funds provide significant support for research, development and innovation. However, their value can be further enhanced by combining them.

Some rules of the game should be clear: it is about co-funding but not double financing – submitting the same item of expenditure to different sources separately so you can obtain financial support from all of them is clearly fraud.

Below are some examples of complementary financing for related activities.

An SME may be receiving support for an innovative business project in the form of a loan guaranteed by a financial intermediary approved under CIP’s SME Guarantee Facility, while other related but distinct activities – for example, training to upgrade the skills of staff so they can develop and implement new business ideas – can be in receipt of Structural Funds (under the European Social Fund).

Structural Funds first, followed by CIP

An SME is in receipt of grant funding under a business support priority of a Structural Funds programme in its region. It is interested in accessing other financial instruments such as venture capital for the further development of its activities. It applies for an investment by a Venture Capital Fund approved under CIP’s High Growth and Innovative SME Facility and receives funding from this source.

FP7 followed by CIP with Structural Funds

An SME develops a product under FP7 and when tested, can check market replication with the support of the CIP. Afterwards, during its deployment phase, if the issue is included in the operational programme of the region, it might be supported by the Structural Funds.

Around 75% of those that benefited from the 2008 call for proposals related to Eco-innovation pilot projects were SMEs.

Example of support under FP7, followed by the Structural Funds

An SME forms part of a consortium that has received funding through the Research for SMEs action under the FP7 Capacities Specific Programme. This has provided it with support to outsource certain research needs, and receive training for its own staff. As a result, it is now ready to undertake future research activities itself. It successfully applies for funding for capital expenditure to build its research capacity under the research and business priorities of a Structural Funds Operational Programme in its region, or for assistance under the JEREMIE facility.

If you’d like to know more about all the possibilities offered to SMEs, please consult the Practical Guide to EU funding opportunities for Research and Innovation available for download in English, French, German, Spanish, Italian and Polish.

How the individual schemes support SMEs

How they can work together

SMEs talk about their scheme experiences