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With this support programme, Schleswig-Holstein supports environmental innovations aimed at bringing future-oriented products and processes to the market and to increase their acceptance. It aims to facilitate development projects which would not be possible without public support, due to the high degree of risk associated to them.
In concrete terms, this programme is aimed at supporting measures with the following objectives: to optimise the consumption of materials; to improve current techniques to measure pollution; to reduce energy consumption in production; to facilitate the use of renewable energies; to develop recycling techniques for waste; and/or to introduce a proactive environmental management (e.g. life cycle assessment).
Funding can be applied for by firms which have at least one subsidiary in Schleswig-Holstein. In principal, they should fit the SME definition, exceptions are possible.
To be eligible for funding it has to be documented that: all authorisations and permits needed for the project have been granted; the project in question offers advantages compared to conventional approaches; the project in question creates or safeguards employment; and the project will be conducted in Schleswig-Holstein.
Support is provided in the form of a grant up to 70% for non-investment activities in SMEs and up to 40% for investment projects in SMEs; larger firms can be supported up to 30%. Generally, the project volume should exceed €20,000 while the maximum volume of support is stipulated by de-minimis regulations.
Funding can be claimed for investment costs, planning costs, application-oriented scientific backing, concept development, efficiency controls and external consultancy, costs for the introduction of new processes, personnel costs, material costs, and costs of externally provided services. Basic research cannot be funded, the redirection of funding to third parties has to be approved.
Applications have to be submitted to the Business Development and Technology Transfer Corporation of Schleswig-Holstein (WTSH) and are assessed in a two-stage procedure. Firstly, a brief sketch has to be presented based on which the WTSH decides if a fully fledged proposal is likely to be successful. If so, a full proposal is submitted for final and detailed assessment.
As in the case of many German support measures on the regional level, there has been no evaluation of this particular measure. Reliable information on its actual effects is therefore not available.
In general terms, the 2012 regional progress report on the implementation of the ERDF operational programme states that 32 projects to support environmental innovations have been launched (target 30) through which 27 SME have been supported (target 25). In 21 of those, the internal objectives in terms of innovations have been reached (target 24) and 45 new products, processes, or services have been developed (target 18). In total, 80 new jobs have been created (target 115), thereof 17 in R&D (target 23). Overall, the programme thus seems to be performing according to expectations although further efforts will be needed to meet all targets by the end of the n+2 extension of the past support period.
Based on the limited availability of information described above no substantiated recommendations regarding do’s and don’ts can be given. Potentially, a closer thematic focus under the 2014-2020 support period will help to increase the efficacy and efficiency of the programme. In a sense, however, the programme is already sufficiently succesful to not suggest any immediate need for changes.