Seal of Excellence – a new funding door opened by SME Instrument

The “Seal of Excellence” is a quality label that is awarded to project proposals submitted for funding under Horizon 2020 – SME Instrument, which succeeded in passing the threshold evaluation score but could not be funded under the available Call budget.  High quality project proposals which merit funding will now have a better chance to get funding from alternative sources (public or private), such as the European Structural and Investment funds (ESI).


Graphic: SoE flyer 2015, European Commission

The action concerns, for this initial ‘pilot’ phase, only proposals applying for the SME instrument and in particular all those SME instrument proposals evaluated above the quality threshold (13 or more out of 15 in Phase 1, 12 or more out of 15 in Phase 2) but not receiving Horizon 2020 funding. Later on it could be extended to cover more areas of Horizon 2020. Nonetheless, some countries have already started considering the Seal of Excellence as a quality project proposal indicator. Viable funding options are becoming available on several EU markets, thus opening up the door for interesting international business cases.

  • For more information about the Seal of Excellence, please check European Commission’s full presentation flyer.
  • For recent information on SME Instrument outlook 2016-2017 including the new eligible topic list, cut-off dates and evaluation process, please check our latest update.
  • For full information about SME Instrument, including beneficiaries, statistics, lessons learnt and latest news, please check our dedicated website section.

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