In phase 1, a feasibility study shall be developed in order to verify the technological/practical as well as economic viability of an innovation idea/concept with considerable novelty to the industry sector in which it is presented (new products, processes, design, services and technologies or new market applications of existing technologies). The activities could, for example, comprise risk assessment, market study, user involvement, Intellectual Property (IP) management, innovation strategy development, partner search, feasibility of concept and the like to establish a solid high-potential innovation project aligned to the enterprise strategy and with a European dimension. Bottlenecks in the ability to increase profitability of the enterprise through innovation shall be detected and analysed during phase 1 and addressed during phase 2 to increase the return in investment in innovation activities. The proposal should contain an initial business plan based on the proposed idea/concept. It should outline the specifications of a more elaborate business plan, which is to be the outcome of the project, and the criteria for success.
Funding will be provided in the form of a lump sum of EUR 50.000. Projects should last around 6 months.
In phase 2, innovation projects will be supported that address the specific challenges identified and that demonstrate high potential in terms of company competitiveness and growth underpinned by a strategic business plan. Activities should focus on innovation activities such as demonstration, testing, prototyping, piloting, scaling-up, miniaturisation, design, market replication and the like aiming to bring an innovation idea (product, process, service etc.) to industrial readiness and maturity for market introduction, but may also include some research.
Proposals shall be based on an elaborate business plan. Particular attention must be paid to IP protection and ownership; applicants will have to present convincing measures to ensure the possibility of commercial exploitation ('freedom to operate').
Proposals shall contain a specification for the outcome of the project and criteria for success. They will include an explanation of how the results of the supported project are to be commercialised and of what kind of impact on the company is expected.
The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of between EUR 0.5 and 2.5 million.
Phase 3 of the SME Instrument aims to increase the economic impact of the funding provided by the SME Instrument phase 1&2 grants and by the business coaching. Phase 3 is not subsequent to phase 1 and/or 2, but provides specific support to SME instrument beneficiaries during and after phase 1 or 2.
Types of action: SME-1 SME instrument phase 1
Cut-off dates (Brussels time):
24 February 2016 17:00:00
03 May 2016 17:00:00
07 September 2016 17:00:00
09 November 2016 17:00:00
15 February 2017 17:00:00
03 May 2017 17:00:00
06 September 2017 17:00:00
08 November 2017 17:00:00
Types of action: SME-2 SME instrument phase 2
Cut-off dates (Brussels time):
03 February 2016 17:00:00
14 April 2016 17:00:00
15 June 2016 17:00:00
13 October 2016 17:00:00
18 January 2017 17:00:00
06 April 2017 17:00:00
01 June 2017 17:00:00
18 October 2017 17:00:00
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