H2020-INNOSUP-05 Peer-learning of innovation agencies

Working together for a better innovation support to SMEs

Why peer learning for innovation agencies?

The window of opportunity for an innovation agency to introduce new or revise existing support programmes is very narrow. The INNO-Partnering Forum (IPF, 2009-12), a collaborative project involving more than 20 European Innovation agencies, has recommended that policy learning has to be based on tools that can be easily mobilised by interested agencies at any time.

The IPF has developed and tested, ‘Twinning advanced’ and ‘Quality management in innovation agencies’ based on the EFQM Excellence model. Both tools rely on the expertise of peers and cooperation to develop and deliver better innovation support. 

1. Twinning advanced

3 agencies join forces in a project to explore ‘an innovation support challenge’, like:

  • the design of new instruments for a specific target group (creative industries, web start-ups) or issue (‘incubation’, ‘managing growth’);
  • the redesign of an existing service to deliver it more efficiently or create synergies between European, national and regional support;
  • solutions for common problems linked to implementation, monitoring, impact assessment.

Agencies cooperate reviewing their own practices and those of third parties – including from overseas.

The partners jointly draft a ‘Design Options Paper’ that can be made available also to other interested agencies. All Design Options Papers developed as part of the H2020-INNOSUP action are published here.

Horizon2020 supports any project using the twinning advanced method with a grant of €50.000

2. EFQM- Framework for innovation agencies

The EFQM Framework for Innovation Agencies can be used as follows:

  • as a structure to define and implement a consistent strategy;
  • as a tool for self-assessment, by measuring how the organisation is performing, and helping to understand the gaps towards excellence in managing the implementation of strategy;
  • as a tool for external assessment, e.g., for a group of agencies willing to start a joint learning and benchmarking process based on reciprocal assessments.

Innovation agencies wishing to develop their excellence with at least 2 foreign peers and an EFQM expert will be supported with a grant to cover a part of the costs. The grant will amount to €15.000


Who can participate

Horizon 2020 offers the tools to all agencies and supports collaboration by small grants through an open call for proposals (i.e. proposals may be submitted at any time) comprising multiple cut-off dates (i.e. the dates in which the evaluation process begins).

Any entity that is designing or delivering innovation support programmes to SME can participate in peer learning for innovation agency.

In case an organisation interested in peer learning is not part of the public administration it should demonstrate that it is entrusted by the administration at national, or regional level to design and/or deliver support programmes.


Additional information




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.

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