Research & Innovation - Participant Portal


TOPIC : Cluster facilitated projects for new industrial value chains

Topic identifier: INNOSUP-01-2018-2020
Publication date: 27 October 2017

Types of action: IA Innovation action
Opening date:
07 November 2017
2nd stage Deadline:
12 April 2018 17:00:00
13 September 2018 17:00:00

Types of action: IA Innovation action
Opening date:
06 November 2018
2nd stage Deadline:
03 April 2019 17:00:00
12 September 2019 17:00:00

Time Zone : (Brussels time)
  Horizon 2020 H2020 website
Pillar: Industrial Leadership
Work Programme Year: H2020-2018-2020
Topic Updates
  • 28 February 2018 16:51

    Dear Sir/Madam

    We bring to your attention the following notice regarding page limits applicable to proposals.

    Applicants are allowed to remove the page break in the cover page of the template for the technical annex, i.e. the proposal text can start on the cover page.

    We sincerely apologise for any inconvenience caused by the late notice on this.

    With kind regards,
    European Commission - Participant Portal Submission System team

Topic Description
Specific Challenge:

To develop new cross-sectoral industrial value chains across the EU, by building upon the innovation potential of SMEs. The EU needs to support the development of emerging industries, which will provide the growth and employment of the future. The reindustrialisation of the EU's industrial base has to focus on the development of long-term internationally competitive goods and services that require combining different competences and innovative solutions. The development of new industrial value chains calls for the collaboration and integration of different innovation actors, including large enterprises and especially SMEs, across different sectors towards the implementation of a joint vision.

SMEs need help to generate, take up and better capitalise on all forms of knowledge, creativity, craftsmanship and innovation - including for the application of existing cross­cutting or emerging technologies, advanced manufacturing, ICT, eco-innovative and resource- efficient solutions, new business models, service innovation and design. The potential of clusters - that represent favourable ecosystems for innovation and entrepreneurship - need to be better exploited in this respect.


Cross-border and cross-sectoral collaboration, innovation and entrepreneurship across different regions and value chains shall be promoted. The coordination and facilitation shall be led by cluster organisations and other intermediary organisations, by following a systemic approach that combines different resources, tools and instruments. Innovation actors, especially SMEs with mutually reinforcing competences, shall be supported in view of creating new industrial value chains that foster the development of emerging industries in Europe.

To this end, proposals shall outline a strategic vision for building new industrial value chains across the EU Member States and Associated Countries. They shall specifically focus on integrating and supporting groups of SMEs in collaboration with other innovation actors in addressing specific problems and challenges. Cluster organisations or other SME intermediaries shall be invited to set up collaboration and networking activities for SMEs and create a favourable "open space" for cross-sectoral fertilisation and value chain innovation to take place. Each proposal should demonstrate the capacity to:

  1. validate ideas for structured innovation projects driven by SMEs from different sectors and countries in collaboration with other innovation actors and facilitate the coordination towards new industrial value chains through this collaboration space.
  2. support innovation activities and/or channel a mix of different targeted entrepreneurial and innovation support measures (such as mentoring, coaching, innovation and technical assistance vouchers, etc.) directly to the innovation actors of the validated innovation projects to further support their development, integration and large-scale demonstration in a strategic manner. At least 75% of the total proposed budget shall be allocated to support innovation in SMEs directly, whereby the SMEs benefit by either participating in the consortium or by receiving financial and/or other support as a third party (enterprise) in line with the conditions set out in General Annex K of the work programme.

Background information and guidance on the systemic approach and strategic focus to be envisaged is provided to applicants at the EU Cluster Portal[1] and in the background note[2] being part of this call. Synergies will be sought with other measures that are supporting such large-scale demonstration projects, in particular under the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESI Funds) and COSME. This includes the thematic Smart Specialisation Platforms[3]- notably the one on Industrial Modernisation, European Strategic Cluster Partnerships, the European Cluster Collaboration Platform and the European Observatory for Clusters and Industrial Change as well as partnerships under the pilot action for interregional partnerships for innovative projects[4]. These synergies will be actively encouraged in the applicants' project partnership building and project implementation, notably through the engaged SME intermediaries. “Large-scale” does not necessarily refer to the amount of financial support provided for a particular project but to the extent of the roll-out of a staged process of experimentation and implementation with accompanying support that reaches out to groups of mutually reinforcing SMEs. This approach aims at “demonstrating at large scale” the potential impact of innovative solutions to specific challenges, rather than supporting isolated projects or SMEs.

For the first stage of the submission procedure, applicants should provide a concept note (of max. 10 pages), which should include a clear description of the ideas and objectives for an innovation action towards the development of new industrial value chains as well as an explanation of the main activities, implementation modalities (including for financial support to third parties, if applicable, and how to achieve the target of allocating at least 75% of the total proposed budget to support innovation in SMEs directly) and expected results foreseen (please refer to the grant conditions for this topic).

The concept note should further describe how the proposed systemic approach and strategic focus promises significant impact on economic growth and job; demonstrates a European dimension and added value; and has the potential to act as a catalyst by contributing to and/or leveraging other activities supported, for instance, under the European Structural and Investment Funds, e.g. in the context of smart specialisation strategies.

An estimate of the total costs of the proposed action and contribution to be requested from the Commission shall also be provided. Only proposals that pass the evaluation threshold for the first stage will be invited to a second stage of submission for a full proposal with a detailed description of the budget and activities planned to be undertaken.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of between EUR 2.5 and 5 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected Impact:
  • Strengthen industrial leadership in the EU Member States and Associated Countries by reinforcing value chains that integrate innovative solutions in SMEs, along and across existing value chains.
  • Stimulate the creation of new globally competitive industrial value chains across the EU Member States and Associated Countries to accelerate the development of emerging industries, which will boost industrial competitiveness and underpin future economic growth, jobs, and progress towards a resource-efficient economy.
  • Further leverage and complement support for innovation in SMEs and other funding, which may be provided by national or regional authorities (including under the European Structural and Investment Funds) and/or by private investors (upfront or as follow-up investments), including in relation to the European Fund for Strategic Investments.
  • Contribute to the implementation of regional and national research and innovation strategies for smart specialisation strategies (RIS3), modern cluster policies as well as of strategic inter-regional collaboration under thematic Smart Specialisation Platforms and cluster partnerships supported by the European Cluster Collaboration Platform and the European Observatory for Clusters and Industrial Change by capitalising upon concentrated and complementary competences for the development of new industrial value chains and emerging industries with a clear EU added-value.
  • Provide a clear and measurable contribution to the innovation performance of the supported SMEs in the short-term - as revealed by indicators such as numbers of new or significantly improved products (goods and/or services), processes, new marketing methods, or new organisational methods -, and to its impact on resource efficiency and/or turnover. A wider impact is also expected in the medium-term.
  • Improve the business environment of the supported SMEs by establishing open collaboration spaces that can involve innovation actors from different sectors and countries. This will lead to the creation of new ideas for innovation and new collaboration partnerships, which will be subject of further development and with the potential for further impact on business turnover.


[2]Available on the call page at the Participant Portal under "Topic conditions & documents"



Topic conditions and documents

1. Eligible countries: described in Annex A of the Work Programme.
A number of non-EU/non-Associated Countries that are not automatically eligible for funding have made specific provisions for making funding available for their participants in Horizon 2020 projects. See the information in the Online Manual.


2. Eligibility and admissibility conditions: described in Annex B and Annex C of the Work Programme.


Under this call topic, the innovation actions to be funded may give rise to the award of only one grant from the European Union budget to where a beneficiary undertakes the role of the coordinator. This means that any beneficiary may not get more than one grant within this call topic when being indicated as coordinator of the proposal. In case an applicant organisation appears as coordinator in more than one proposal, only the last submitted proposal will be considered for evaluation. An organisation may also not act as coordinator in two or more concurrent INNOSUP-01 projects, including projects awarded under previous INNOSUP-01 calls. It can however still participate as a partner in a proposal.

Proposal page limits and layout: please refer to Part B of the proposal template in the submission system below.


3. Evaluation:

  • Evaluation criteria, scoring and thresholds are described in Annex H of the Work Programme.
  • Submission and evaluation processes are described in the Online Manual.

Under this call topic the following more specified text replaces point a) for the considerations to establish the priority order for proposals with the same score listed in General Annex H of the work programme:

a) Proposals that address industrial value chains or sectors, not otherwise covered by more highly-ranked proposals, will be considered to have the highest priority.

4. Indicative time for evaluation and grant agreements:

Information on the outcome of evaluation (two-stage call):
For stage 1: maximum 3 months from the deadline for submission.
For stage 2: maximum 5 months from the deadline for submission of stage 2.

Signature of grant agreements: maximum 8 months from the deadline for submission of stage 2.

5. Proposal templates, evaluation forms and model grant agreements (MGA):

Innovation Action:

Specific provisions and funding rates
Standard proposal template
Standard evaluation form
General MGA - Multi-Beneficiary
Annotated Grant Agreement

6. Additional provisions:

Horizon 2020 budget flexibility
Classified information
Technology readiness levels (TRL) – where a topic description refers to TRL, these definitions apply

For grants awarded under this topic beneficiaries may provide support to third parties as described in General Annex K of the work programme either in form of grants or prizes. The respective options of Article 15 of the Model Grant Agreement will be applied.

7. Open access must be granted to all scientific publications resulting from Horizon 2020 actions.

Where relevant, proposals should also provide information on how the participants will manage the research data generated and/or collected during the project, such as details on what types of data the project will generate, whether and how this data will be exploited or made accessible for verification and re-use, and how it will be curated and preserved.

Open access to research data
The Open Research Data Pilot has been extended to cover all Horizon 2020 topics for which the submission is opened on 26 July 2016 or later. Projects funded under this topic will therefore by default provide open access to the research data they generate, except if they decide to opt-out under the conditions described in Annex L of the Work Programme. Projects can opt-out at any stage, that is both before and after the grant signature.

Note that the evaluation phase proposals will not be evaluated more favourably because they plan to open or share their data, and will not be penalised for opting out.

Open research data sharing applies to the data needed to validate the results presented in scientific publications. Additionally, projects can choose to make other data available open access and need to describe their approach in a Data Management Plan.

Projects need to create a Data Management Plan (DMP), except if they opt-out of making their research data open access. A first version of the DMP must be provided as an early deliverable within six months of the project and should be updated during the project as appropriate. The Commission already provides guidance documents, including a template for DMPs. See the Online Manual.

Eligibility of costs: costs related to data management and data sharing are eligible for reimbursement during the project duration.

The legal requirements for projects participating in this pilot are in the article 29.3 of the Model Grant Agreement.


8. Additional documents:

Horizon 2020 Work Programme 2018-20 - Introduction
Horizon 2020 Work Programme 2018-20 - Chaper 7. Innovation in SMEs

Horizon 2020 work Programme 2018 - 20 - Dissemination, Exploitation and Evaluation

General annexes to the Work Programme 2018-2020

Legal basis: Horizon 2020 Regulation of Establishment
Legal basis: Horizon 2020 Rules for Participation
Legal basis: Horizon 2020 Specific Programme

Policy background note (updated on 9 July 2018)

Supplementary information for applicants (updated on 20 November 2018)

Guidance for applicants on calls to award financial support to third parties within Horizon 2020 projects


Additional documents

  • Flash call info - 1st stage (2018) en
  • General Feedback Successful Applicants Stage 1 (2018) en
  • Flash call info - 2nd stage (2018) en

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To access existing draft proposals for this topic, please login to the Participant Portal and select the My Proposals page of the My Area section.

Type of Action Innovation action [IA]
Topic Cluster facilitated projects for new industrial value chains - INNOSUP-01-2018-2020
Guidance on proposal submission: H2020 online manual
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