Research & Innovation - Participant Portal


TOPIC : Blockchain and distributed ledger technologies for SMEs

Topic identifier: INNOSUP-03-2018
Publication date: 27 October 2017

Types of action: CSA Coordination and support action
Opening date:
01 February 2018
Deadline: 15 May 2018 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:

Blockchain and other distributed ledger technologies (DLTs) enable parties who are geographically distant or have no particular trust in each other to interact and exchange value and information on a peer-to-peer basis with fewer to non-existent central intermediaries. Beyond well-known applications in the financial sector, new developments are emerging in other fields. The broader potential of DLTs to change how businesses operate at industrial and market levels for instance, in particular how they produce and deliver goods and services, is swiftly becoming a tangible reality.

DLTs' ground-breaking properties allow immutable, near-tamper proof, decentralized and real time mechanisms for enabling, storing and securing nearly any type of data-based transaction or process. DLTs provide opportunities in terms of communication, efficiency, security, reliability and transparency, such as helping to reduce fraud and counterfeiting, lowering operational costs, enhancing safety and efficiency of transactions, or automating digital manufacturing operations.

Some applications are already being developed in the fields of B2C (business to consumer) and B2B (business to business), where they are illustrating the potential of radical organizational shifts towards more collaborative and automated processes. But, at the same time, such deployments within these and other business or industrial fields are also presenting a number of challenges which may impede the uptake of DLTs by SMEs, ranging from interoperability, standards and intellectual property to liability, data protection, algorithmic accountability and reliability of automated systems.


The Action will be a piloting scheme for the uptake of DLTs by SMEs. It will aim at testing in real conditions the opportunities, challenges, risks and necessary conditions associated with DLTs in different context and sectors. Thereby it will stimulate (i) the uptake of DLTs by SMEs and inspire others to follow, and equally (ii) it will sensitize intermediaries to develop their expertise in this respect and (iii) it will help draw lessons for policy makers and regulators.

It will include and make use of financial support to third parties to allow for 20-30 SMEs to test concrete applications of DLTs in their respective field with technology suppliers (budget for each third party not exceeding EUR 50,000). The selection of entities involved in the pilots, the match-making process, the monitoring of each case as well as the management of the financial support to third parties will be ensured by the coordinator. At least 50% of the total proposed budget shall be allocated to financial support to third parties (please refer to the grant conditions for this topic).

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of up to EUR 1.5 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:
  • More SMEs take advantage of the opportunities offered by DLTs.
  • More intermediaries are familiar with DLTs and equipped to assist SMEs in this field.
  • Improved framework conditions for the uptake of DLTs and the mitigation of related risks.
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.


At least 50% of the total proposed budget shall be allocated to financial support to third parties.

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.

4. Indicative time for evaluation and grant agreements:

Information on the outcome of evaluation (single-stage call): maximum 5 months from the deadline for submission.
Signature of grant agreements: maximum 8 months from the deadline for submission.

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

Coordination and Support 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. The support to third parties can only be provided in the form of grants. The respective options of Article 15.1 and Article 15.3 of the Model Grant Agreement will be applied. This financial support to third parties will allow for 20-30 SMEs to test concrete applications of DLTs in their respective field with technology suppliers (budget for each third party not exceeding €50,000).

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

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

Additional documents

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