Research & Innovation - Participant Portal


TOPIC : European label for innovation voucher programmes

Topic identifier: INNOSUP-4-2014
Publication date: 11 December 2013

Types of action: CSA Coordination and support action
Opening date:
11 December 2013
Deadline: 29 October 2014 17:00:00

Time Zone : (Brussels time)
  Horizon 2020
Topic Description

Specific challenge: Innovation voucher programmes are well established support instruments for SMEs in many countries and regions in Europe. In a general way innovation voucher schemes can be characterised as small, lump-sum grants (typically below EUR 10.000) that support SMEs to contract universities, R&D service providers or private consultants to either conduct small innovation projects or to explore the feasibility of larger ones. In most innovation voucher schemes the innovation agency that has issued the voucher pays the invoice of a service provider after the SME has received the requested service. Innovation vouchers are used to establish an initial contact between knowledge institutions and SMEs and have proven to be a successful instrument to support the spin-in of technology and knowledge into SMEs' business practice. Most innovation voucher schemes are however limited to beneficiaries and service providers from a limited geographic area, which limits the possibility for transnational activities. Furthermore, the diversity of designs of voucher schemes sets barriers to cooperation between schemes. 

In the 'Riga-Declaration'[1] managers of innovation voucher programmes in the Member States have given recommendations for exploiting the full potential of innovation voucher programmes. Amongst other, the potential role of the European level, is described as follows:

 "5. Innovation vouchers schemes should be implemented at local, regional and national level, thus fully taking into account the subsidiarity principle. The European level is encouraged to develop with national and regional entities a voluntary collaboration and brokerage framework for innovation voucher programmes that aims at making excellent knowledge, skills and innovation support services from both public and private service providers across Europe more effectively accessible for SMEs."

The proposed action aims at establishing such a voluntary cooperation framework with the objective to achieve among participating schemes an automatic recognition of foreign European service providers at equal conditions to the national ones.

Scope:The proposed activities will assist the development of a European label for innovation voucher programmes that treat foreign European service providers equally to national ones. The systems to manage and award the label might provide services to participating managing entities of innovation voucher programmes which enhance the quality of delivery or manage the higher risks resulting from international opening of the schemes. Financial incentives, for example co-funding a limited number of initial transnational cooperation projects with knowledge institutions, might be provided within the limits set for the provisions of financial support to third parties in line with the conditions set out in part K of the General Annexes. 

The Commission considers that a proposal requesting a contribution from the EU of around EUR 1 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of a proposal requesting another amount.

Expected impact

         The action shall establish a European label for innovation voucher programmes that provides an open cooperation framework for the programmes established at local, regional and national level.

         Participating programmes shall, as a minimum requirement, commit to treat foreign European service providers equal to those domestic ones and aim at a minimum of 5% of innovation vouchers used for cooperation outside the home country.

         Increase the range and quality of services available to SMEs,

         Enhance the opportunities of excellent researchers and other specialists to transfer their knowledge transnationally and accelerate the spin-in of technologies and knowledge.

Type of action:  Coordination and support action

[1]     See for example

Topic conditions and documents

Please read carefully all provisions below before the preparation of your application.

  1. List of countries and applicable rules for funding: described in part A of the General Annexes of the General Work Programme.
  2. Eligibility and admissibility conditions: described in part B and C of the General Annexes of the General Work Programme
  3. Evaluation

    3.1  Evaluation criteria and procedure, scoring and threshold: described in part H of the General Annexes of the General Work Programme

    For the criterion Excellence, in addition to its standard sub-criteria , the
    following aspects will also be taken into account:
    - number of involved Innovation voucher programmes;
    - ambition of acceptance of the private – foreign service providers.
    3.2 Guide to the submission and evaluation process

    3.3 Specific arrangements for the evaluation of Call
  4. Proposal page limits and layout: Please refer to Part B of the standard proposal template.
  5. Indicative timetable for evaluation and grant agreement:
    Information on the outcome of evaluation: maximum 3 months from the final date for submission.
    Signature of grant agreements: maximum 3 months from the date of informing successful applicants.
  6. Provisions, proposal templates and evaluation forms for the type(s) of action(s) under this topic:

    Coordination and Support Action:

    Specific provisions and funding rates
    Standard proposal template (administrative forms and structure of technical annex)
    Standard evaluation form
    Annotated Model Grant Agreement

  7. Additional provisions:

    Horizon 2020 budget flexibility

    Classified information

    Technology readiness levels (TRL) – where a topic description refers to TRL, these definitions apply.

    Financial support to Third Parties – where a topic description foresees financial support to Third Parties, these provisions apply.

  8. Open access must be granted to all scientific publications resulting from Horizon 2020 actions, and proposals must refer to measures envisaged. 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.


Additional documents

  • Legal basis - Framework Programme H2020 en
  • Legal basis - Specific Programme H2020 en
  • WP H2020 - 1. Introduction en
  • WP H2020 - 7. Innovation in SMEs en
  • WP H2020 - 19. General Annexes en

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