Horizon 2020 SME Innovation Associate for Business

Horizon 2020 SME Innovation Associate for Business

Are you:


  • A dynamic SME or Start-up with ground-breaking ideas? 
  • Looking for the help of a talented researcher to make your idea an innovation?  

This programme may be just right for you!

Under 'Horizon 2020', the European Union's Research and Innovation Programme, a new funding scheme will support 90 SMEs hire a researcher as the brain who will bring their brilliant idea to life. 

What is it about?

The 'H2020 SME Innovation Associate' (INNOSUP-02-2016) will help SMEs and Start-ups to find the most highly-skilled and experienced researchers on the research job market. The programme will assist SME by:

  • Making your job vacancy visible all around Europe and abroad;
  • Offering an individual grant that covers the costs of the first year of employment of a non-national researcher in the period between September 2017 and August 2018.
  • Providing training programme to maximise the potential of the recruitment and multiply its effects while assuring a smooth integration of the researcher in the structure and cultural business environment.

Who can participate and how?

Only SMEs (including Start-up companies) established in the EU Member States and Overseas Countries and Territories (OCT) or countries associated to Horizon 2020 are eligible. 

The application is simple and paperless: 

Is it really so simple?

Yes, it is! The European Commission considers SMEs and entrepreneurs as key partners in creating growth, innovation, jobs and social integration in the EU. We know that they are very busy and this is why we try to make their participation in all EU projects as simple as possible.

How to participate?

  • Call Deadline: 30/06/2016 – Submit your application

Proposals shall be submitted through the Participant Portal by 30 June 2016 at 5 PM (Brussels Time) at the latest. The application is composed of the proposal template (sections 1-3 and sections 4-5) and 2 annexes. The templates can be downloaded on the Participant Portal by clicking on the 'Start submission' button and login using your ECAS password.   

  • After the selection: 01/03-30/04/2017 – Publish the job offer

Once the European Commission has selected the (up-to) 90 SMEs and Start-ups with the most innovative ideas and best recruitment plans, job vacancies will be published on EURAXESS and other international or globally accessible web-based resources from 1st March 2017 to 30 April 2017. The recruitment will take place in May-June 2017 and the new positions will start in September 2017 for a period of 12 months.

Try out the attractiveness of your job vacancy

Before submitting your proposal you can publish the job advertisement on EURAXESS, the dedicated European Job Platform for Researchers.  You can publish your vacancy free of charge in the form of a ‘call for manifestation of interest’ and make your offer conditional to the awarding of the grant (i.e. the recruitment will take place only if your company is awarded the INNOSUP-02-2016 grant).

In so doing, your offer will become available to the thousands of researchers registered to the EURAXESS portal, thus making them able to both express their interest and give you feedback on your vacancy. This pre-publication will allow you to:

  • Test your idea;
  • Fine-tune your offer and make it more appealing;
  • Keep in contact with potential candidates. 

You are also encouraged to use other relevant platforms and media.

Questions? Need Help?

H2020 Innovation Associate infographic

The content of this page is for information purposes only. The relevant legal instruments and the text of the call shall take precedence over the information contained in this page. The European Commission or EASME does not accept responsibility for any use made of the information contained therein.


  • kellyroachcoaching's picture

    In order to succeed in business, you need to understand know business top secrets. Understanding finance is the first thing to do if you want to excel in business. Also, you should know how to manage people to become a successful business person. These are the reason you should enroll in business courses online.

  • Alessandro @EASME's picture

    Dear OCTA innovation,
    Please refer to our FAQ Session where it is stated that:
    "An enterprise is considered to be any entity engaged in an economic activity, irrespective of its legal form. This includes, in particular, self-employed persons and family businesses engaged in craft or other activities, and partnerships or associations regularly engaged in an economic activity."
    For More info: http://ec.europa.eu/research/participants/portal/desktop/en/support/faqs...

  • Mike's picture

    Dear EASME team,

    Will there be another round of EASME for the 2017-2018? If yes, will the time frame be the same ? I think the process is too long at the moment.

  • Idaira @EASME's picture

    Dear Sir,
    Thank you for your message and for your interest on the SME Innovative Associate's call. For the time being it is too premature to know whether there will be another call. We advise you to check our website to keep you duly informed.
    Kind regards
    Idaira @EASME

  • Caroline's picture


    I do not know whether you still check this page, but I am wondering when the results will be made available. The deadline of 5 months (30 Nov) is today, but so far I have not yet been notified of the result.

    Thank you.

  • Idaira's picture

    Dear Caroline
    Applicants are being informing these days. You should received the outcome shortly.
    Kind regards
    Idaira from EASME

  • Ilaria's picture

    Hello there
    once all the applicants had been informed, will you be able to disseminate how many will be financed and how many passed the threshold but could not be funded?
    many thanks

  • martizr's picture

    Yes we will publish some statistics.

    Erwan @EASME

  • Ehsan's picture

    When do you think there will be a decision on having a re-opening of this call or not?


  • faturma's picture

    Dear Ehsan, its too early to say. At the moment the programme enters the second part ("publish the job offer") that finishes in April 2017 and the future of the programme depends on the outcome of the pilot. Best, Marie @EASME

  • Milind Kulkarni's picture

    I am inventor from INDIA ,
    I would like to know whether you provide support for research projects in Solar energy?
    I am also looking for companies interested in doing innovation in eco-friendly projects . I am willing to share commercial interests .

  • Elisa's picture

    Is there a possibility to collaborate with a research institution while the associate is working within the SME? For example, for the use of very specific equipment and other materials that would not be available in the company itself.

  • faturma's picture

    It is important to highlight that the Associate needs to work full time for the SME for the whole duration of the programme (12 months). Having said that if the collaboration with the research institution is directly linked to the project the associate is working on and provided it will not suppose any extra costs to the project itself there would not be any problem.
    @EASME Innovation Associate team

  • Kelly Roach's picture

    In order to succeed in business, you need to understand know business top secrets. Understanding finance is the first thing to do if you want to excel in business. Also, you should know how to manage people to become a successful business person. These are the reason you should enroll in business courses online.

  • Helen's picture

    Good morning, I am currently contracted as researcher by an SME within this programme. However due to personal reasons I may need to resign the job. Could you tell me how to proceed? I guess it won't be a problem to replace me with a candidate that will fulfil the criteria (transnational mobility, etc...)
    Thanks in advance for your attention

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