SME Instrument outlook 2016 – 2017: increased funding budget & optimized evaluation process

SMEs will be granted EUR 740 million in 2016 -2017 via SME Instrument, EC’s main funding programme addressing highly innovative SME’s. This represent a 44.2% or EUR 200 million increase compared to the total budget 2014-2015, due to the high success of the programme so far. 2000 innovative SMEs are expected to benefit of SME Instrument funds over the next 2 years.

Among the funded topics, ICT and Intelligent transport remain the biggest ones, with EUR 126 million and respectively EUR 118.8 million for two years, having thus a considerable budget increase compared to 2014-2015. Sustainable food production, Biotechnology and Blue growth will also have significant budget increases.

Important topic updates:

– The topic for Biomarkers and/or medical devices will be phased out and divided into 2different challenges: Healthcare biotechnology and ICT for health, well-being and ageing well;

– The topic for Innovative mobile e-government will disappear.

A detailed view on the 2016-2017 SME Instrument:



2016 2017

Open Disruptive Innovation Scheme

SMEInst-01 €60 m. €66 m.

Accelerating the uptake of nanotechnologies advanced materials or advanced manufacturing and processing technologies by SMEs

SMEInst-02 €31.83 m. €35.32 m.

Dedicated support to biotechnology SMEs closing the gap from lab to market

SMEInst-03 €7.5 m. €7.5 m.

Engaging SMEs in space research and development

SMEInst-04 €11.37 m. €12.6 m.

Supporting innovative SMEs in the healthcare biotechnology sector

SMEInst-05 €35 m. €45 m.

Accelerating market introduction of ICT solutions for Health, Well-Being and Ageing Well

SMEInst-06 €18 m. €12.5 m.

Stimulating the innovation potential of SMEs for sustainable and competitive agriculture, forestry, agri-food and bio-based sectors

SMEInst-07 €25.46 m. €32.19 m.

Supporting SMEs efforts for the development – deployment and market replication of innovative solutions for blue growth

SMEInst-08 €9.5 m. €10 m.

Stimulating the innovation potential of SMEs for a low carbon and efficient energy system

SMEInst-09 €46 m. €50 m.

Small business innovation research for Transport and Smart Cities Mobility

SMEInst-10 €57.57 m. €61.23 m.

Boosting the potential of small businesses in the areas of climate action, environment, resource efficiency and raw materials

SMEInst-11 €25 m. €27.5 m.

New business models for inclusive, innovative and reflective societies

SMEInst-12 €10.8 m. €11.4 m.

Engaging SMEs in security research and development

SMEInst-13 €15.37 m. €14.67 m.
TOTAL €353.4 m. €385.91 m.

Evaluation process and deadline update – SME Instrument will adapt its evaluation process and cut-off rhythm in 2016 in order to right-size the process and inform the applicant faster. Another optimization will be to decouple the evaluation of the phases having the aim of creating a shorter time span for signing grants in Phase 2. In consequence, this decision implies that between November 2015 and February 2016 EASME will not be able to guarantee information to applicants for immediate resubmission and that applicants who submitted a phase 2 proposal for the 2015 November cut-off may not receive the results of their evaluation by early February and might not be able to resubmit their proposal for the February 2016 cut-off date – mainly because applicants cannot submit two proposals simultaneously.

An overview of the cut-off dates for 2016-2017:


Deadlines for all topics
Phase 1 24/02/2016
Phase 2 03/02/2016

Source: Executive Agency for Small and Medium Enterprises (EASME)

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