2014 sees the opening of the Horizon 2020 EU research and innovation funding programme.With nearly €80 billion of funding available over the next 7 years, it is an opportunity not to be missed.  Of particular note is the new SME instrument which will provide funding dedicated to SMEs with a strong ambition to grow, develop and internationalize.  At least €3 billion will be allocated to the SME instrument over the course of the programme.

The SME instrument includes 3 phases.  In phase 1 (feasibility), up to €50,000 is available for proof of concept / technological and commercial feasibility assessment over 6 months.  In phase 2 (innovation), €1 – 2.5 million is available over 1 – 2 years for main development activities such as demonstration, testing, prototyping, miniaturization, design, etc.  Finally phase 3 (commercialization) is supported indirectly through facilitated access to debt and equity financial instruments.

Horizon 2020 aims to reduce bureaucracy and reduce the time to grant which should see your innovations getting up and running faster.