Research for the Benefit of SMEs
The Capacities theme of FP7 will support research for the benefit of small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) with the objective of improving the capacity for innovation through beneficial research; driving their contribution to the development of new technology based products and services and further expanding technology based markets. Support will revolve around outsourcing research to research service providers (RTD performers) including universities, research centres or SME research companies. A total budget of €1,336 million has been allocated to support research for the benefit of SMEs over the lifetime of FP7.
Improving the relationship between SMEs and the research community is intended to bring about increased value to the European economy, stimulate higher growth and increase job opportunities.
Specific dedicated support measures – Research for SMEs and Research for SME Associations – will encourage bottom-up research across the entire field of science and technology, supporting up to 75% of research costs for SMEs to increase their participation in research and increasing access to research results:
- Research for SMEs – to benefit low to medium technology SMEs with little or no research capacity and high-tech SMEs with the requirement to outsource research to complement core research capability. Projects will be aimed at creating new knowledge or producing results with clear potential to improve or develop new products, processes or services. Projects will be relatively short term - between one and two years and costing between €0.5 and €1.5 million - outsourcing research to RTD performers to solve common or complementary technological issues of small groups of innovative SMEs.
- Research for SME associations – to support associations of SMEs that act on behalf of SME members to identify and address common technical problems across their field of interest and to promote the effective dissemination and take-up of results.