Horizon 2020 Dedicated SME Instrument - Advanced Materials, Manufacturing and Processing

Provides 0.5 - 2.5M € in subsidies for development and demonstration within:

About Horizon 2020 Dedicated SME Instrument - Advanced Materials, Manufacturing and Processing

The Horizon 2020 Dedicated SME Instrument directly supports European small and medium-sized enterprises with a strong desire to develop, grow, and internationalize their most innovative ideas. The instrument is relevant for high-tech and research driven companies as well as service companies, and SMEs applying in a consortium or alone. With a successful application to the program, companies will receive: 

  • Phase 1: A lump sum of EUR 50,000 towards proof-of-concept and feasibility studies
  • Phase 2: EUR 0.5-2.5M towards innovation development and demonstration activities
  • Support of up to 70% of total project cost

Possibilities with Horizon 2020 SME

Horizon 2020 SME offers funding opportunities for SMEs within a variety of industries, and support is given to the development of innovative ideas to market ready products, processes or services. The program has an overall budget of EUR 3BN which will be distributed to innovative projects in two separate phases.

Phase 1 funding is aimed at exploring and assessing the technical feasibility and commercial potential of breakthrough innovation.

  • Activities include risk assessment, market study, user involvement, Intellectual Property (IP) management, innovation strategy development, partner search, feasibility of concept etc.

Phase 2 funding is aimed at innovation projects supported by a sound and strategic business plan (potentially made possible by phase 1 funding) aimed at commercialisation.

  • Activities include prototyping, miniaturisation, scaling-up, design, performance verification, testing, demonstration, development of pilot lines, market replication, etc.

Requirements for Horizon 2020 SME

There are three primary requirements for a project to be eligible for support from Horizon 2020 SME:

  • Projects need at least one participating SME to apply (An SME has fewer than 250 employees and an annual turnover not exceeding EUR 50M, and/or an annual balance sheet total not exceeding EUR 43M) SMEs may apply alone.
  • No parallel submission or implementation (phase 1 and phase 2) is possible.
  • Phase 2 proposals must be based on an elaborate business plan, with particular attention given to IP protection and ownership as well as commercial exploitation.

Upcoming deadlines

Below are the upcoming deadlines for Horizon 2020 Dedicated SME Instrument. Expect 1-2 months for the proposal writing process.


Research results should be taken up by industry, harvesting the hitherto untapped potential of nanotechnologies, advanced materials and advanced manufacturing and processing technologies. The goal is to create added value by creatively combining existing research results with other necessary elements, to transfer results across sectors where applicable, to accelerate innovation and eventually create profit or other benefits. The research should bring the technology and production to industrial readiness and maturity for commercialisation after the project.


Cyber-physical Systems of Systems (CPSoS), like transport networks or large manufacturing facilities, interact with and are controlled by a considerable number of distributed and networked computing elements and human users. These complex and physically-entangled systems of systems are of crucial importance for the quality of life of the citizens and for the European economy.

The focus is on dependable physically-entangled systems for applications in industrial sectors. Work is complementary to the initiative on European low-power microprocessor technologies, which addresses technology for HPC applications, and to the ECSEL programme, which addresses computing for CPSoS at higher TRL.


Photonics is driving innovation in many different application areas. The challenge is to help European companies become more competitive by improving their business/production processes as well as products and services by means of photonics technology.

The focus is on Manufacturing Pilot Lines: actions should provide open access to manufacturing of advanced photonics components and systems and offer related services including design and characterization.


The challenge is to maintain Europe's position at the forefront of advanced nanoelectronic technologies developments. This is essential to ensure strategic electronic design and manufacturing capability in Europe avoiding critical dependencies from other regions. 

Projects will aim at demonstrating the viability of new approaches to computing components. The focus should be on demonstrating new concepts at transistor or circuit level which bring the potential of highly improved performance for generic or specific applications.

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