Research & Innovation - Participant Portal


TOPIC : Capitalising the full potential of online collaboration for SME innovation

Topic identifier: INNOSUP-6-2015
Publication date: 11 December 2013

Types of action: CSA Coordination and support action
Opening date:
25 July 2014
2nd stage Deadline:
10 March 2015 17:00:00
12 August 2015 17:00:00

Time Zone : (Brussels time)
  Horizon 2020
Topic Description

Specific challenge: Identifying suitable partners for innovation activities is recognised as a major barrier to SME innovation. Innovation support services are addressing this challenge traditionally by two interventions that are often combined: (a) the provision of networking space for personal meetings either as one-off meeting (‘brokerage events’) or as more stable networks (‘clusters’) often with a limited geographic reach; and (b) the definition of ‘cooperation profiles’ (‘technology offers’, ‘partner search profile’ etc.) that are distributed through networks of intermediaries. To a different degree intermediaries become active in establishing the partnership (‘brokerage’). Social media and other web-based services challenge these existing approaches and ask for their revision.

The British ‘connect’ platform is the first publicly financed innovation platform on the web that creates a protected space for companies to display their competences, interest and skills, to reach out to a large number of peers, to make them personal contacts and to engage them in initial cooperation. Commercial offers like ‘linked in’ or various crowdsourcing platforms offer important elements while not regarding themselves as innovation platforms for SMEs.

However, it becomes evident that only a small number of enterprises using the platform have already the skills to draw full benefits from the opportunities. Most establish contacts on the platform – which effectively eliminates the ‘brokerage function’ that is so far provided by many intermediaries – but are unable to maintain the group of contacts or to draw on their skills in the preparation of innovation projects. In that respect they could benefit from a new generation of support services that assist to create value from online collaboration with a group of contacts and potential partners (“assistance to online collaboration for innovation”) 

So far staff in innovation agencies has hardly skills to assist their clients to establish collaborations on web platforms and no profile of skills has been defined. Commercial offers by crowdsourcing platforms remain effectively unaffordable for SMEs or face difficulties to scale up their offers and reach a critical mass of the community.

Scope: To address the described gaps proposals should address one or more of the following aspects:

  • develop and test new service designs for ‘assistance to online collaboration for innovation’ for SMEs in diverse sectors;
  • make such new services accessible for enterprises in sectors that are typically not yet benefitting from innovation support;

         develop and test a qualification profile, curriculum and training courses for staff currently providing brokerage services in established networks or SME agencies.

Service designs and qualification profiles shall be formulated independently from a particular collaboration or social media platform. Tests of services shall be undertaken on platforms that are open and bring together already a critical mass of enterprises and innovation stakeholders. Establishing such platforms will not be supported.

The nature of the topic – online collaboration – suggests that the training modules are established as web-based self- or collaborative learning modules that are supported by case studies in the form of videos. The qualification profiles and training modules shall be published under a creative commons license.

Projects proposing new service designs for ‘assistance to online collaboration for innovation’ should indicate on which platform(s) the new service would be tested and in how far the newly developed service could be scaled-up.

It is intended to support 2-3 projects from the indicative budget.

Expected impact:  

         New services assisting online collaboration for innovation help SMEs to access a broader range of potential innovation partners and mobilise them in a timely manner for concrete projects.

         The qualification profile and training material are made available to SME innovation support agencies interested in enhancing the skills of their staff.

         The efficiency of innovation support service provision - for example but not limited to the services of Enterprise Europe Network – is enhanced.

         Resources in public innovation support are reoriented from information and brokerage functions – which can to a large extend be automated – to higher value added functions like the identification of opportunities and the animation of project development.

Type of action: Coordination and support action

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 [, with the following exceptions]:

For the evaluation of first-stage proposals under a two-stage submission procedure, only the criteria ‘excellence’ and ‘impact’ will be evaluated. The threshold for both individual criteria will be 4.

3.2 Guide to the submission and evaluation process

3.3 Specific arrangements for the evaluation of Call none

  1. Proposal page limits and layout: Please refer to Part B of the standard proposal template.
  2. Indicative timetable for evaluation and grant agreement:
    Information on the outcome of one-stage evaluation: maximum 5 months from the final date for submission.
    Signature of grant agreements: maximum 3 months from the date of informing successful applicants.

    Information on the outcome of two-stage evaluation: maximum 5 months from the final date for submission.
    Signature of grant agreements: maximum 3 months from the date of informing successful applicants.
  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. 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 - 5. Introduction to Leadership in enabling and industrial technologies (LEITs) en
  • WP H2020 - 7. Innovation in SMEs en
  • WP H2020 - 19. General Annexes en
  • Frequently Asked Questions en

Submission Service

No submission system is open for this topic.

Get support

National Contact Points (NCP) – contact your NCP for further assistance.

Enterprise Europe Network – contact your EEN national contact point for advice to businesses with special focus on SMEs. The support includes guidance on the EU research funding.

Research Enquiry Service – ask questions about any aspect of European research in general and the EU Research Framework Programmes in particular.

IT Helpdesk – contact the Participant Portal IT helpdesk for questions such as forgotten passwords, access rights and roles, technical aspects of submission of proposals, etc.

Ethics – to ensure compliance with ethical issues, further information is available on the Participant Portal and on the Science and Society Portal.

European IPR Helpdesk assists you on intellectual property issues.

The European Charter for Researchers and the Code of Conduct for their recruitment

CEN and CENELEC, the European Standards Organisations, advise you how to tackle standardisation in your project proposal. Contact CEN-CENELEC Research Helpdesk at

Partner Search Services helps you find a partner organisation for your proposal.

H2020 Funding Guide your online guide on the procedures from proposal submission to managing your grant.