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Science at the service of Europe

Research for the benefit of SMEs

Boosting research for SMEs

Through this activity SMEs are supported to bridge the gap between research results and the market introduction of new products. The activity contributes to the Europe 2020 Flagship Initiatives "Innovation Union" and "Industrial Policy for the Globalisation Era".

EU funding in 2012
€ 260.40 million

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The calls for proposal, which are managed by the Research Executive Agency (REA), are a pillar of this activity. The 2012 call had three themes: research for SMEs, research for SME associations and demonstration activities. It attracted 8.4% more proposals than in 2011.

Two evaluations were launched: an interim evaluation of the participation of SMEs in this activity and an evaluation of the REA to assess its first three years of operation. Both evaluations are expected to be concluded by the end of 2013.

A Public-Public Partnership – Eurostars – aims to support the market-oriented research projects initiated and driven by SMEs performing Research and Development. All EU Member States and six Associated Countries participate in this partnership. By the end of 2012, a total of 613 projects had received funding since the launch of Eurostars in 2008.

In 2012, preparation began for a single, comprehensive, simple and easily identifiable scheme for SMEs. This instrument should cover the whole innovation cycle, including access to finance, and is expected to attract more SMEs and to increase the commercialisation of project results.

In 2012 steady progress has been made on the number of SMEs investing in RTD and the total budget spent by SMEs on outsourcing research activities. Thanks to this activity and greater encouragement for SME participation in other research activities, by the end of 2012, 16.4% of the overall budget of the Cooperation Programme went to supporting research by SMEs.