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  1. An institution, body, office or agency established by or based on the Treaty on European Union and the Treaties establishing the European Communities.

    All education and training facilities for people of different age groups.

    An intergovernmental organization having legal personality under public international law or a specialized agency established by such an international organization. An international organization, the majority of whose members are Member States or Associated Countries and whose main objective is to promote scientific and technological cooperation in Europe, is an International Organization of European Interest.

    A person with legal rights and obligations. Unlike a legal entity, a natural person does not have a legal act (e.g. association, limited liability company, etc.).

    An NPO is an institution or organization which, by virtue of its legal form, is not profit-oriented or which is required by law not to distribute profits to its shareholders or individual members. An NGO is a non-governmental, non-profit organization that does not represent business interests. Pursues a common purpose for the benefit of society.

    A partnership, corporation, person, or agency that is for-profit and not operated by the government.

    Any government or other public administration, including public advisory bodies, at the national, regional or local level.

    A research institution is a legal entity established as a non-profit organization whose main objective is to conduct research or technological development. A college/university is a legal entity recognized by its national education system as a university or college or secondary school. It may be a public or private institution.

    A microenterprise, a small or medium-sized enterprise (business) as defined in EU Recommendation 2003/361. To qualify as an SME for EU funding, an enterprise must meet certain conditions, including (a) fewer than 250 employees and (b) an annual turnover not exceeding EUR 50 million and/or an annual balance sheet total not exceeding EUR 43 million. These ceilings apply only to the figures for individual companies.

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  1. Governance, partnership: Projects aimed at increasing the application of multilevel and transnational or cross-border governance, designing and testing appropriate governance structures and mechanisms. Also cooperation between public institutions on any theme.

    Innovation capacity and awareness-raising: Actions that increase a person’s or organisation’s capacity for innovation (not innovation as such), and that establish the capacity to diffuse and apply innovation; projects that stimulate innovation in different areas and innovation capacities; strengthening and empowering of innovation networks.

    Institutional cooperation and cooperation networks: Projects working on the improvement of institutional cross-border co-operation and capacities, on renewing and simplifying administrative management through long term cooperation between institutions (e.g. Euregion), on establishing and sharing regional knowledge and intercultural understanding and cohesion. It also deals with cooperations between universities, health care facilities, schools and sports organisations, as well as with management and capacity building.

    Activities focussing on agricultural products, organic farming, horticulture, as well as forest management and wood products; furthermore the development of the food sector, food chains, organic food production, and seafood products and any topics related to animals and fishing.

    Agriculture and fisheries and forestry: Projects focussing on agricultural products (i.e. fruits, meat, olives, etc.), organic farming, horticulture, as well as forest management and wood products. Also the development of the agro-food sector, food chains, organic food production, and seafood products. Any topics related to animals (i.e. health, management) and fishing (i.e. sustainable fishery, aquaculture).

    Soil and air quality: Projects that deal with any topic against soil and air pollution, except water pollution, for example, reduction of soil and air contamination, pollution-management systems, but also prevention and eradication of soil erosion, new ways of improving air quality (also indoors) and soil/air knowledge in general.

    Climate change and biodiversity projects assisting mitigation and adaption to climate change and environmental impacts of climate change. Development of low carbon technologies and strategies, reduction of CO2 emissions from all sectors. Promotion of biodiversity, new instruments to enhance biodiversity and natural protection.

    Soil and air quality projects that deal with any topic against soil and air pollution, except water pollution, for example, reduction of soil and air contamination, pollution-management systems, but also prevention and eradication of soil erosion, new ways of improving air quality (also indoors) and soil/air knowledge in general.

    Water management projects about management and distribution of drinking water, integrated sustainable water management, monitoring systems for water supply and improving drinking water quality; also water treatment (wastewater), in particular, innovative technologies to improve wastewater, treatments in the purification of industrial and domestic wastewater and water reuse policies. Waterways, lakes and rivers: This deals with any topics on waterways, lakes and rivers, from improving water quality, protecting and developing of ecosystems or sustainable wetland management.

    Activities that protect, promote and enhance cultural and natural heritage, increase the attractiveness through preservation and valorisation of common cultural and natural heritage in a sustainable manner, and improve and develop cultural and natural heritage objects, services and products. Cultural heritage management, art and culture, (maritime) heritage routes, access to cultural and natural heritage. Also all topics on cultural services such as festivals, concerts, art workshops.

    Cultural heritage and arts projects that protect, promote and enhance cultural and natural heritage, increase the attractiveness through preservation and valorisation of common cultural and natural heritage in a sustainable manner, and improve and develop cultural and natural heritage objects, services and products. Cultural heritage management, art and culture, (maritime) heritage routes, access to cultural and natural heritage. Also all topics on cultural services such as festivals, concerts, art workshops.

    Tourism projects dealing with the promotion of natural assets, and the protection and development of natural heritage, as well as increasing the touristic attractiveness through the better use of natural, cultural and historical heritage. Also projects about improved tourist services/products, development of ecotourism models, tourism development strategies.

    Sustainable management of natural resources projects focussing on the protection, promotion and valorization, and sustainable management and conservation of natural areas (habitats, geo parks, protected areas, etc.). Also projects focussing on preserving and enhancing cultural and natural heritage and landscape, as well as protecting the marine environment.

    Projects on waste management (innovative services and strategies), ecological waste treatment, treatment techniques/systems; waste disposal and recycling (improvement of recycling, innovative recycling technologies, recovery of organic waste, repair & re-use centres and networks); also prevention of pollution and pollution control (ecological and circular economy, marine littering, etc.).

    Labour market and employment: creating employment opportunities and/or optimising jobs, academic (un)employment and job mobility, workforce attraction and improvement of employment conditions for different groups.

    SME and entrepreneurship: strengthening SME capacities, boosting entrepreneurial activities in different sectors and for different groups, supporting social entrepreneurship, creating business support/advisory systems for start-ups/spin-offs/incubators, improving the competitiveness of SMEs, and promoting new business processes.

    Community integration and common identity projects that build identity, create a more cohesive society, promote positive relations through an increased provision of shared spaces and services.

    Demographic change and immigration is about projects tackling major societal challenges like demographic change in different areas and migration, in particular, aging society (active aging, best agers, silver economy strategies) and related new public services (adaptation of key services and infrastructure), social and spatial segregation, and brain drain. Also all topics on migration (policy tools, strategic planning, integration).

    All projects where ICT has a significant role, including tailor-made ICT solutions in different fields, as well as digital innovation hubs, open data, Internet of Things; ICT access and connecting (remote) areas with digital infrastructure and services; services and applications for citizens (e-health, e-government, e-learning, e-inclusion, etc.); services and applications for companies (e-commerce, networking, digital transformation, etc.).

    This is about the mitigation and management of risks and disasters, and the anticipation and response capacity towards the actors regarding specific risks and management of natural disasters, for example, prevention of flood and drought hazards, forest fire, strong weather conditions, etc.. It is also about risk assessment and safety.

    Education and training projects on expanding educational opportunities, reducing barriers in the field of education, improving higher education and lifelong learning, training and labour mobility, educational networks, higher vocational education, common learning programmes.

    Topics on energy management, energy-saving methods, evaluating energy efficiency measurements, energy rehabilitation/efficiency in buildings / public infrastructure, promotion of energy efficiency, cooperation among experienced energy efficiency firms, institutions and local administrations, co-generation.

    Projects focussing on wind, solar, biomass, hydroelectric, geothermal and other renewable energy, increasing the production of sustainable renewable energy and improving research capacities in biomass. Also projects focussing on storage and management of renewable energy, new technologies, sustainable regional bioenergy policies and financial Instruments for investments on renewable energy.

    Social projects concerning people with disabilities and excluded groups; enhancement of the capacity of children, young people, women and elderly; creation of infrastructure to improve access for disabled people, integration of socially vulnerable people; innovate in the care of victims of gender violence, social inclusion of women, etc.

    This deals with the development of health and social services and improved accessibility and efficiency for different groups (elderly, children, etc.). It is also about new healthcare models and medical diagnosis and treatments (dementia, cancer, diabetes, etc.), hospitals, care management, and rare diseases, as well as improving wellbeing and promoting sports.

    Projects about (organised) crime, efficient and secure borders, such as enhancing the effectiveness of the police in the prevention of drug crimes, the development of safety services, or tackling security and organised crime issues.

    Activities related to:

    • Transport and mobility covering all sorts of transport (incl. urban transport) and mobility.
    • Improving transport connections dealing with traffic and/or transport connections, rehabiliation/modernisation, better connectivity, improving accessibility/connections, but also public transport.
    • Multimodal transport and logistics and freight transport focusing on using different means of transport, developing multimodal connections, optimising intermodal transport chains; offering multimodal logistics solutions and providing access to clean, efficient and multimodal transport corridors and hubs; establishing cooperation among logistic centres and developing multimodal mobility strategies.

    Activities related to:

    • urban development, such as planning and design of cities and urban areas, urban renewal, urban-rural links (climate, sustainable mobility, water efficiency, participation, sustainable land use, smart cities, public urban areas, regeneration)
    • regional planning and development, such as the implementation of regional development policies/instruments and programmes, sustainable land use management plans, integrated regional action plans, spatial planning, and marine protected area management.
    • rural and peripheral development, referring to remote, sparsely populated areas, rural community development, and rural economics, in particular access to remote areas and policies for rural areas.
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Call key data

Western Balkans Innovation Vouchers

Funding Program

Western Balkans Info Hub



26.06.2024 00:00

Funding rate


Call budget

€ 240,000.00

Estimated EU contribution per project

€ 8,000.00

Link to the submission

Call content

short description

The Western Balkans Innovation Vouchers are a financial incentive designed to facilitate partnerships and knowledge exchange between small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and public research institutions across the Western Balkans (WB).

Call objectives

Overall objective of the project: To provide analytical evidence and strategic planning to the region in order to implement the EU WB Agenda and to make progress in their integration into the European Research Area (ERA). 

Specific objectives in the project: To implement regional pilot activities, which reach out directly to academia, industry and civil society; to create new initiatives and initiating success stories at programme level.

Expected results

Western Balkans Innovation Vouchers (IV) are a simple direct financial incentive used by companies to cover part of the costs of the services provided by research and development (R&D) organisations, thus intensifying the volume and dynamics of the development of products and services as well as their placement on the market. The development of new products and services is directly related to the innovation process. IV are a way to enable the transfer of knowledge and to contribute to the creation of long-term partnerships between companies and R&D. The goal of the IV is to encourage cooperation between enterprises and academic and scientific research institutions in the direction of implementing innovation activities; thus, the enterprises will increase their competitiveness. 

This guideline determines the basic characteristics and objectives of the financial resources allocated through IV, the criteria and conditions for the allocation of financial resources, the content of the public call for the allocation of financial resources, the procedure for the allocation of financial resources, as well as the method of implementation, monitoring and reporting of the allocated financial resources through IV. 

IV are a commonly used policy tool to initiate collaboration between SMEs and knowledge providers. There are vouchers which provide services to SMEs for a specific purpose such as business services, Digital or Green Transition, etc. The vouchers intended to enhance industry-academia collaboration are usually a distinct type of “IV”.

The IV are financial incentives for subsidising part of the costs for services provided by Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) and public sector R&D organisations (PROs) intended to accelerate the dynamics and development of innovative products and services and their placement on the market.

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Eligibility Criteria

Regions / countries for funding

Albania (Shqipëria), Bosnia and Herzegovina (Bosna i Hercegovina / Босна и Херцеговина), Kosovo (Kosova/Kosovë / Косово), Montenegro (Црна Гора), North Macedonia (Северна Македонија), Serbia (Srbija/Сpбија)

eligible entities

Small and medium-sized enterprise (SME)

Mandatory partnership


Project Partnership

The applicant:

Legal business entity registered as a micro, small or medium-sized company (users of the IVs) and registered in any of the WB economies (at least 51% privately owned), incorporated under the current respective company law. The company must be a legal business entity incorporated under the respective current WB company law, registered at any WB Business Registration Agency and located in the WB. If the newly established companies are not classified as micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, based on the data of the WB Business Registration Agency at the moment of considering the application for an IV, they can be users of IV provided that they guarantee that, on the day of signing of the contract for the IV, they are classified as micro, small or medium-sized enterprise.

The service provider:

Eligible entities are the public sector Higher Education Institutions (HEI) or public sector R&D organisations (PROs) (at least 51% directly or indirectly state-owned), registered in any of the WB economies, incorporated under the current respective law on Higher Education Institutions and/or PROs and accredited by the relevant Ministries in the respective WB economy. Companies registered in any of the WB economies are companies that are predominantly owned by the public sector, Higher Education Institutions or PROs (50.1% or more).

The applicant and the service provider must be from two different WB economies.

other eligibility criteria

The total budget for awarding funds through IV for this public call is EUR 240,000. A single voucher can cover up to a maximum of 80% (eighty percent) of the total costs of a service provided by the HEI/PRO, up to an amount of EUR 8,000 excluding value-added tax (VAT). The recipient of the voucher is obliged to co-finance the remaining amount of the total costs of the service, which is at least 20% of the total amount of the invoice, including VAT of the total costs. The recipient of the voucher is obliged to finance all transportation and legal costs (if applicable) for cross-border delivery of prototypes, samples, etc. The Applicant may receive a maximum of one IV under this Public Call. More than one application for an IV can be submitted by the same applicant referring to the Public Call. In case more than one application from the same applicant are being scored high in the evaluation process, (only) the application with the highest score will be awarded. The support granted to business entities through IV, regardless of their legal status and the way they are financed, will be arranged under de minimis aid regime1 (state aid of small value), so the recipients are obliged to act in accordance with the Regulation on the List of State Aid Rules in the respective economies.

IV can be used to transfer scientific, technological or innovative knowledge that is new to the company or to solve a technical/technological problem that will be identified by the company. Funds can be obtained for the following services: 

  • Development of new or improvement (in terms of function and quality) of existing products, processes or services;
  • Proof of concept;
  • Feasibility study;
  • Production of laboratory prototypes;
  • Manufacturing demonstrational prototypes;
  • Different types of tests (in laboratory, production plant);
  • Validation of technology;
  • Validation of new or improved products, processes or services;
  • Development and introduction of special software for a product or process (within the product development);
  • IPR and technology transfer. 

Specific tasks have to be detailed in the final financial offer. IV can be awarded in the field of science and technology with the priority given to green and digital transition within the evaluation criteria. The IV scheme is aligned with the Smart Specialisation Strategies for the WB economies from 2023 until 2027, which focuses on their respective main priority domain.

Additional information


Competitiveness of Enterprises, Employment/Labour Market, SME & entrepreneurship, 
Education & Training, Children & Youth, Media

Relevance for EU Macro-Region

EUSAIR - EU Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region, EUSDR - EU Strategy for the Danube Region

UN Sustainable Development Goals (UN-SDGs)

project duration

max. 9 months

Additional Information

Applicants can apply through the FITD web site at a specific page for this call. A noticeable "Apply" button will be shown, that will automatically direct the applicant to the application form, and another button "Download documents", where the applicant can download all the needed documents for the Application. 

The following should be orderly filled in, printed and signed: 

  • project application form
  • statement of the company
  • financial offer

All application forms should be filled and submitted in English language. All questions related to the application process should be addressed to FITD to the following email address:

To apply for funds awarded through the Innovation Voucher scheme, the applicant company must submit the following documents: 

  • Innovation voucher application, completed, signed and printed in a form determined by the FITD, scanned in PDF format;
  • Current status for the company (legal form) – applicant issued by the respective institution in the WB economies (e.g., Central Registry in North Macedonia) of the respective economy not older than 6 (six) months from the deadline for submission of the application stated in the public call; and
  • Financial offer/s from the service provider/s, signed, printed and scanned in PDF format which must contain:
    • Specification of the service according to the need stated in the Innovation Voucher Application; 
    • Name of the service provider/s and contact person responsible for the requested service;
    • Financial offer for services with value-added tax (VAT) expressed as a separate cost, if applicable;
    • Deadline for completion of the requested service; 

In one Application, the applicant company can include a maximum of two service providers.


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