Filter Search for grants
Call key data
'Innovate to transform' support for SME's sustainability transition
Horizon Europe - Cluster 4 - Destination 2: Increased autonomy in key strategic value chains for resilient industry
Estimated EU contribution per project
Link to the call
Link to the submission
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.
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.
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.
Proposals can consider the involvement of the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre as an associated partner providing its expertise in industrial innovation and dynamics.
Projects are expected to contribute to the following outcomes:
- Support objectives of the European Green Deal and of the EU SME Strategy for a sustainable and digital Europe;
- Increased resilience of SMEs, by fostering technological and social innovation in SMEs to support their transition to more sustainable business models and more resource-efficient and circular processes and infrastructures;
- Increased competitive sustainability of SMEs through the uptake of advanced technologies;
- Stronger innovation support ecosystems supporting the green, social and economic transition of SMEs, by leveraging synergies between existing EU networks and SME support initiatives.
Regions / countries for funding
Moldova (Moldova), Albania (Shqipëria), Armenia (Հայաստան), Azerbaijan (Azərbaycan), Belarus (Беларусь), Bosnia and Herzegovina (Bosna i Hercegovina / Босна и Херцеговина), Faeroes (Føroyar / Færøerne), Georgia (საქართველო), Island (Ísland), Israel (ישראל / إِسْرَائِيل), Kosovo (Kosova/Kosovë / Косово), Montenegro (Црна Гора), Morocco (المغرب), New Zealand (Aotearoa), North Macedonia (Северна Македонија), Norway (Norge), Serbia (Srbija/Сpбија), Tunisia (تونس /Tūnis), Türkiye, Ukraine (Україна), United Kingdom
Education and training institution, International organization, Non-Profit Organisation (NPO) / Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), Other, Private institution, incl. private company (private for profit), Public Body (national, regional and local; incl. EGTCs), Research Institution incl. University, Small and medium-sized enterprise (SME)
To be eligible for funding, applicants must be established in one of the following countries:
- the Member States of the European Union, including their outermost regions
- the Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs) linked to the Member States
- third countries associated to Horizon Europe - see list of particpating countries
Only legal entities forming a consortium are eligible to participate in actions provided that the consortium includes, as beneficiaries, three legal entities independent from each other and each established in a different country as follows:
- at least one independent legal entity established in a Member State; and
- at least two other independent legal entities, each established in different Member States or Associated Countries.
Any legal entity, regardless of its place of establishment, including legal entities from non-associated third countries or international organisations (including international European research organisations) is eligible to participate (whether it is eligible for funding or not), provided that the conditions laid down in the Horizon Europe Regulation have been met, along with any other conditions laid down in the specific call topic.
A ‘legal entity’ means any natural or legal person created and recognised as such under national law, EU law or international law, which has legal personality and which may, acting in its own name, exercise rights and be subject to obligations, or an entity without legal personality.
- Affiliated entities — Affiliated entities (i.e. entities with a legal or capital link to a beneficiary which participate in the action with similar rights and obligations to the beneficiaries, but which do not sign the grant agreement and therefore do not become beneficiaries themselves) are allowed, if they are eligible for participation and funding.
- Associated partners — Associated partners (i.e. entities which participate in the action without signing the grant agreement, and without the right to charge costs or claim contributions) are allowed, subject to any conditions regarding associated partners set out in the specific call conditions.
- Entities without legal personality — Entities which do not have legal personality under their national law may exceptionally participate, provided that their representatives have the capacity to undertake legal obligations on their behalf, and offer guarantees to protect the EU’s financial interests equivalent to those offered by legal persons.
- EU bodies — Legal entities created under EU law including decentralised agencies may be part of the consortium, unless provided for otherwise in their basic act.
- Joint Research Centre (‘JRC’)— Where provided for in the specific call conditions, applicants may include in their proposals the possible contribution of the JRC but the JRC will not participate in the preparation and submission of the proposal. Applicants will indicate the contribution that the JRC could bring to the project based on the scope of the topic text. After the evaluation process, the JRC and the consortium selected for funding may come to an agreement on the specific terms of the participation of the JRC. If an agreement is found, the JRC may accede to the grant agreement as beneficiary requesting zero funding or participate as an associated partner, and would accede to the consortium as a member.
- Associations and interest groupings — Entities composed of members (e.g. European research infrastructure consortia (ERICs)) may participate as ‘sole beneficiaries’ or ‘beneficiaries without legal personality’. However, if the action is in practice implemented by the individual members, those members should also participate (either as beneficiaries or as affiliated entities, otherwise their costs will NOT be eligible.
other eligibility criteria
If projects use satellite-based earth observation, positioning, navigation and/or related timing data and services, beneficiaries must make use of Copernicus and/or Galileo/EGNOS (other data and services may additionally be used).
The following additional eligibility criteria apply: In order to achieve the expected objectives and/or the specific policy requirements of the topic, the applicant consortium must include at least three entities from at least three Member States or Associated Countries. Moreover, the same legal entity which have received funding under this topic in the 2021-22 work programme, will not be eligible to funding under the 2024 call, in addition geographical and sectorial complementarities in relation to the 2021-22 results will be considered for the 2024 call.
Relevance for EU Macro-Region
EUSAIR - EU Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region, EUSALP - EU Strategy for the Alpine Space, EUSBSR - EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region, EUSDR - EU Strategy for the Danube Region
UN Sustainable Development Goals (UN-SDGs)
All proposals must be submitted electronically via the Funders & Tenders Portal electronic submission system (accessible via the topic page in the Search Funding & Tenders section). Paper submissions are NOT possible.
Proposals must be complete and contain all parts and mandatory annexes and supporting documents, e.g. plan for the exploitation and dissemination of the results including communication activities, etc.
The application form will have two parts:
- Part A (to be filled in directly online) contains administrative information about the applicant organisations (future coordinator and beneficiaries and affiliated entities), the summarised budget for the proposal and call-specific questions;
- Part B (to be downloaded from the Portal submission system, completed and then assembled and re-uploaded as a PDF in the system) contains the technical description of the project.
Annexes and supporting documents will be directly available in the submission system and must be uploaded as PDF files (or other formats allowed by the system).
Eligible costs will take the form of a lump sum.
The limit for a full application (Part B) is 33 pages.
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.