Call: 'Innovate to transform' support for SME's sustainability transition
|Type of Fund||Direct Management|
|Description of programme |
"Horizon Europe - Cluster 4 - Destination 2: Increased autonomy in key strategic value chains for resilient industry"
This destination will directly support the following Key Strategic Orientations, as outlined in the Strategic Plan:
Proposals for topics under this Destination should set out a credible pathway to contributing to the following expected impact of Cluster 4:
The COVID-19 crisis has shown that global competitiveness and resilience are two sides of the same coin[[Annual Sustainable Growth Strategy 2021 (COM/2020/575 final)]]. Resilience is about more than the ability to withstand and cope with shocks; it is an opportunity to undergo transitions in a sustainable and fair way. As the EU gears up to becoming a climate-neutral, circular and competitive economy by 2050, resilience will require paying attention to new vulnerabilities as entire sectors undergo deep transformations while creating opportunities for Europe’s industry to develop its own markets, products and services which boost competitiveness.
Research and innovation will be fundamental to spur industrial leadership and enhanced resilience. It will support the modernisation of traditional industrial models while developing novel technologies, business models and processes. This can enhance the flexibility of the EU’s industrial base, and increase its resilience by reducing EU dependencies on third countries for critical raw materials and technologies.
In the first Work Programme, topics under Destination 2 ‘Increased autonomy in key strategic value chains for resilient industry’ will tackle missing segments in strategic areas and value chains, to strengthen the EU’s industrial base and boost its competitiveness and open strategic autonomy. In addition, it will explore how increased circularity has the potential to increase the open strategic autonomy of EU industry through the more efficient use of resources and secondary raw materials.
This will be achieved through R&I activities focusing on four areas key for the resilience of EU industry:
To achieve these wider effects, unprecedented investments in re- and upskilling are central to supporting the green and digital transitions, enhancing innovation and growth potential, fostering economic and social resilience and ensuring quality employment and social inclusion. This is why activities planned under Destination 6 “A human-centred and ethical development of digital and industrial technologies” will also contribute to the objectives of a more resilient industrial base. Further, as industrial leadership and resilience are two sides of the same coin, activities targeting industrial leadership are a key factor in the EU’s long-term industrial resilience. This is why activities supported under Destination 1 ‘Climate neutral, circular and digitised production’ and Destination 3 ‘World leading data and computing technologies’ that further ensure Europe’s productivity growth and competitiveness are also key to safeguarding its open strategic autonomy and resilience.
In addition, activities beyond R&I investments will be needed, in particular in terms of synergies with the European Innovation Council and Pillar III of Horizon Europe given the strong role of SMEs in the development of the innovations planned. Synergies will also be sought to access blended funding and finance from other EU programmes notably under InvestEU; testing and deployment activities under the Digital Europe Programme (DEP); links to the EIT (Raw Materials and Digital KICs); links with the Single Market programme to promote entrepreneurship and the creation and growth of companies and links to the thematic smart specialisation platform on industrial modernisation.
In line with the European Green Deal objectives, research and innovation activities should comply with the ‘do no significant harm’ principle[[as per Article 17 of Regulation (EU) No 2020/852 on the establishment of a framework to facilitate sustainable investment (EU Taxonomy Regulation)]]. Compliance needs to be assessed both for activities carried out during the course of the project as well as the expected life cycle impact of the innovation at a commercialisation stage (where relevant). The robustness of the compliance must be customised to the envisaged TRL of the project. In this regard, the potential harm of Innovation Actions contributing to the European Green Deal will be monitored throughout the project duration.
Proposals for topics under this Destination should set out a credible pathway to contributing to increased autonomy in key strategic value chains for resilience industry, and more specifically to one or several of the following impacts:
Much of the research and innovation supported under this Destination may serve as a cradle for the New European Bauhaus: this is about designing sustainable ways of living, situated at the crossroads between art, culture, social inclusion, science and technology. This includes R&I on manufacturing, construction, advanced materials and the circular economy approaches.
Business cases and exploitation strategies for industrialisation: This section applies only to those topics in this Destination, for which proposals should demonstrate the expected impact by including a business case and exploitation strategy for industrialisation.
The business case should demonstrate the expected impact of the proposal in terms of enhanced market opportunities for the participants and enhanced manufacturing capacities in the EU, in the short to medium term. It should describe the targeted market(s); estimated market size in the EU and globally; user and customer needs; and demonstrate that the solutions will match the market and user needs in a cost-effective manner; and describe the expected market position and competitive advantage.
The exploitation strategy should identify obstacles, requirements and necessary actions involved in reaching higher TRLs, for example: matching value chains, enhancing product robustness; securing industrial integrators; and user acceptance.
For TRLs 7-8, a credible strategy to achieve future full-scale manufacturing in the EU is expected, indicating the commitments of the industrial partners after the end of the project.
Activities beyond R&I investments will be needed to realise the expected impacts: these include the further development of skills and competencies (also via the European Institute of Innovation and Technology, in particular EIT Manufacturing); and the use of financial products under the InvestEU Fund for further commercialisation of R&I outcomes.
Where relevant, in the context of skills, it is recommended to develop training material to endow workers with the right skillset in order to support the uptake and deployment of new innovative products, services, and processes developed in the different projects. This material should be tested and be scalable, and can potentially be up-scaled through the European Social Fund Plus (ESF+). This will help the European labour force to close the skill gaps in the relevant sectors and occupational groups and improve employment and social levels across the EU and associated countries.
|Link||Link to Programme|
'Innovate to transform' support for SME's sustainability transition
|Description of call |
"'Innovate to transform' support for SME's sustainability transition"
Projects are expected to contribute to the following outcomes:
Achieving European Green Deal objectives, and notably a climate neutral and resource efficient economy, requires the full mobilisation of SMEs. The COVID-19 pandemic has also led to companies redesigning their supply chains and facing a new industrial revolution, brought on by a new generation of advanced technologies, which are underpinning the potential for competitive sustainability of SMEs.
The action will build on and further connect existing EU specialised business support networks and centres – such as the Enterprise Europe Network, the European industry clusters registered under the European Cluster Collaboration Platform, Centres for Advanced Technologies for Industry. They will work in complementarity and close interaction with Open Innovation Test beds, European Digital Innovation Hubs, Start-up Europe etc., but also with academia, social partners and other social innovation actors.
This action will consist in:
A. Advisory services
Dedicated innovation and capacity building support will be provided to SMEs, to assess their ability to transform their business models and increase their resilience.
This will consist of an assessment of SMEs’ innovation and sustainability practices, elaboration of recommendations, notably in view of the uptake of advanced technologies and/or social innovations.
Based on these recommendations, SMEs could receive further advisory services according to their level of preparedness such as help and advice on proof of concept, investment readiness, intellectual property (in cooperation with EU funded IP support), technology transfer, adaptation to standards, adaptation to environmental rules, design management, skill development, partner search (including social partners). SMEs will receive targeted assistance for the uptake of advanced technologies.
Social innovation should be recommended when the solution is at the socio-technical interface and requires social change, new social practices, social ownership or market uptake.
This action will also include the set-up of a community, building on the SME Alliance projects, in which best practices should be exchanged and SMEs could benefit from dedicated peer-learning activities in order to learn from leaders (SMEs or larger corporates) of their own sector. Incentives for leaders to share their best practices with peers should be identified in the context of EU support to industrial ecosystems.
B. Financial support in the form of ‘Third party financing’
As a result of the advisory services and initial assessments, SMEs will receive financial support through calls for SMEs, to implement the elaborated recommendations.
This should support amongst other activities the financing of a feasibility study, prototyping, pilot testing, demonstrating, procurement of further specialised consultancy services and coaching services that cannot be provided directly by the project partners, adaptation of business processes, free access and support to use testing facilities, introduction of new IT solutions etc.
The Commission estimates that at least half of the budget should be allocated to financial support to SMEs in the form of third party financing.
In this topic the integration of the gender dimension (sex and gender analysis) in research and innovation content is not a mandatory requirement.
|Link||Link to Call|
|Thematic Focus||Research & Innovation, Technology Transfer & Exchange, Capacity Building, Cooperation Networks, Institutional Cooperation, Clustering, Development Cooperation, Economic Cooperation, Digitisation, ICT, Telecommunication, Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, Green Technologies & Green Deal, Circular Economy, Sustainability, Natural Resources, Climate, Climate Change, Environment & Biodiversity, Administration & Governance, Employment & Labour Market, Health, Social Affairs, Sports, Competitiveness, SME|
|Funding area|| EU Member States |
Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs)
|Origin of Applicant|| EU Member States |
Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs)
|Eligible applicants||Education and Training Centres, Federal State / Region / City / Municipality / Local Authority, Research Institution, Lobby Group / Professional Association / Trade Union, International Organization, Small and Medium Sized Enterprises, SMEs (between 10 and 249 employees), Microenterprises (fewer than 10 employees), NGO / NPO, Public Services, National Government, Other, Start Up Company, University, Enterprise (more than 250 employees or not defined), Association|
|Applicant details|| |
eligible non-EU countries:
At the date of the publication of the work programme, there are no countries associated to Horizon Europe. Considering the Union’s interest to retain, in principle, relations with the countries associated to Horizon 2020, most third countries associated to Horizon 2020 are expected to be associated to Horizon Europe with an intention to secure uninterrupted continuity between Horizon 2020 and Horizon Europe. In addition, other third countries can also become associated to Horizon Europe during the programme. For the purposes of the eligibility conditions, applicants established in Horizon 2020 Associated Countries or in other third countries negotiating association to Horizon Europe will be treated as entities established in an Associated Country, if the Horizon Europe association agreement with the third country concerned applies at the time of signature of the grant agreement.
Legal entities which are established in countries not listed above will be eligible for funding if provided for in the specific call conditions, or if their participation is considered essential for implementing the action by the granting authority.
|Project Partner Details|| |
Unless otherwise provided for in the specific call conditions , legal entities forming a consortium are eligible to participate in actions provided that the consortium includes:
The following additional eligibility criteria apply: In order to achieve the expected objectives and/or the specific policy requirements of the topic, the consortium must include at least three entities from at least three Member States or Associated Countries.
The following additional eligibility criteria apply: For actions funded under this topic, the same legal entity may only be the coordinator of one action. This means that any legal entity that is the coordinator of the consortium may receive only one grant under this topic. In case the same legal entity is the coordinator in more than one proposal submitted under this topic, only the last submitted proposal will be considered for evaluation.
|Further info|| |
Proposal page limits and layout:
The application form will have two parts:
Page limit - Part B: 30 pages
|Type of Funding||Grants|
|Financial details|| |
Beneficiaries may provide financial support to third parties. The support to third parties can only be provided in the form of grants. The maximum amount to be granted to each third party is EUR 50 000.
|Submission||Proposals must be submitted electronically via the Funding & Tenders Portal Electronic Submission System. Paper submissions are NOTpossible.|