FP7 Space Info > SME special - Part 2

SME special - Part 2

4.     EUREKA 

 R&D performing SMEs: partially SME specific

EUREKA is a pan-European network for market-oriented, industrial R&D. It currently counts 39 full member states[1]. Through its flexible and decentralised Network, EUREKA offers project partners rapid access to a wealth of knowledge, skills and expertise across Europe and facilitates access to national public and private funding schemes (70% of the project participants are companies, more than 40% of these are SMEs). Each member country has the responsibility to finance their EUREKA projects from their national resources: private, public, venture capital, etc. according to their national rules.

EUREKA Umbrellas are thematic networks which focus on a specific technology areas or business sectors. The main goal of an Umbrella is to facilitate the generation of EUREKA projects in its own target area.

More information on: http://www.eurekanetwork.org/


EUREKA's Eurostars Programme is a funding and support programme specifically dedicated to research-performing SMEs. A Eurostars project is a European research and development project. It can address any technological area, but must have a civilian purpose and be aimed at the development of a new product, process or service.

Eurostars projects are collaborative, meaning they must involve at least two participants (legal entities) from two different of the 32 Eurostars participating countries[2]. In addition, the main participant must be a research-performing SME from one of these countries.

A Eurostars project should be market-driven: it must have a maximum duration of three years, and within two years of project completion, the product of the research should be ready for launch onto the market.

Even participants from non member countries of Eurostars can be eligible to participate in a Eurostars project in addition to the minimum of two participants established in two different Eurostars member countries.

More information on: http://www.eurostars-eureka.eu/


5.     COST

R&D performing SMEs: not SME specific

The European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST) is an intergovernmental framework allowing the coordination of nationally-funded research on a European level. COST also contributes to opening the European Research Area to cooperation worldwide. 

COST – together with EUREKA and the EU framework programmes – is one of the three pillars of joint European research initiatives. These three complementary structures have differing areas of research.

COST does not fund research itself but provides a platform for European scientists to cooperate on a particular project and exchange expertise. These projects in fields that are of interest to at least five of the 35 COST countries[3] are called "Actions". COST Actions cover basic and pre-competitive research. COST provides the COST Actions with financial support for joint activities such as conferences, short-term scientific exchanges and publications. There are currently more than 200 Actions running in 9 scientific Domains. Maybe most Space related among these are:

In addition, Trans-Domain Proposals allow for broad, multidisciplinary proposals to strike across the nine scientific domains.  

More information on: http://www.cost.esf.org


6.     Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP)

R&D performing SMEs: partially SME specific

With SMEs as its main target, the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP) supports innovation activities, provides better access to finance and delivers business support services in the regions.

The CIP is divided into three operational programmes: 

·         The Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programme (EIP)  

·         The Information Communication Technologies Policy Support Programme (ICT-PSP)  

·         The Intelligent Energy Europe Programme (IEE)

 The EIP is the most relevant programme with regard to Space. It focuses on access to finance for SMEs through "CIP financial instruments" which target SMEs in different phases of their lifecycle and support investments in technological development, innovation and eco-innovation, technology transfer and the cross border expansion of business activities.

Business services: the "Enterprise Europe Network". Business and innovation service centres all around the EU and beyond provide enterprises with a range of quality and free-of-charge services to help make them more competitive.

Support for improving innovation policy: Supports transnational networking of different actors in the innovation process and innovative companies, including benchmarking initiatives and the exchange of best practice.

Support for innovation and SME policy-making through contracts and grants: Analytical work and awareness raising activities (i.e. conferences and studies) on certain industrial sectors, SMEs or innovation policy are organised to inform and support policy-makers, and make policy suggestions to increase cooperation between EU Member States. 

More information on: http://ec.europa.eu/cip/index_en.htm


7.      Enterprise Europe Network

The Enterprise Europe Network (EEN) provides a wide range of services to SMEs and entrepreneurs, among others, helping them to access market information, overcome legal obstacles and identify potential business partners across Europe, including innovation support and transnational technology transfer services.

The EEN comprises about 600 partners in 44 countries including the 27 EU Member States, 3 EU candidate countries (Croatia, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, and Turkey) members of the European Economic Area (EEA) and other participating third countries, employing around 4,000 experienced staff helping to increase the competitiveness of EU businesses. Whether you need information on EU legislation, help finding a business partner, want to benefit from innovation networks in your region or need information on funding opportunities, this is the place to start. 

More information on: http://www.enterprise-europe-network.ec.europa.eu/index_en.htm

 8.     Intellectual Property Rights (IPR)  

There are some funded projects under the CIP to provide personalised information about Intellectual Property Rights related to research or innovation projects funded by the EU. These are introduced in the following.


IPR-Helpdesk focuses on the specific IP issues involved in R&D and innovation EU funded projects . It is mainly for contractors taking part or wishing to take part in EU-funded research and technological development projects. Extensive free resources and documentation section on general IPR issues, how and why to protect ideas, a glossary and an IPR bulletin as well as specific information on managing IPR in an EU research project.

More information on: http://www.ipr-helpdesk.org/home.html 


InnovAccess gives a direct access to national resources and general IP issues. The consortium consists of a network of the national patent offices of the European Union, the European Patent Office and the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market. The network is supported by the European Commission.

 The main objective of this network is to provide general information on domestic, foreign and international IPR to SMEs and academics in Europe.

More information on: http://www.innovaccess.eu/home.html



 The main objective of IPeuropAware is to raise awareness and knowledge of IPR especially for SMEs. Therefore the project brings together InnovAccess and IPR-Helpdesk and some additional actions.

 20 National Patent Offices join forces to provide a voice at the national level in at least 20 member states that can communicate directly with national governments, other national and regional actors, their members, individuals, businesses and the European Commission. The consortium also seeks to include new members from those countries not currently represented.

More information on: http://www.ipeuropaware.eu/

9.     National programmes

Some countries have national Space programmes others just have research programmes where Space topics can be placed. Besides that some countries run SME specific support measures. The below list gives an impression but is not complete. National contacts on above mentioned networks are not listed. They can be found through the links given with the short descriptions below.


The Austrian Space Applications Programme ASAP is an initiative of the Austrian Federal Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology (BMVIT) and managed by the Aeronautics and Space Agency (ALR) of the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG). One goal of ASAP is the stimulation of cooperation between SMEs and research institutions.

Further information: http://www.ffg.at/content.php?cid=24

In Flanders, the IWT (Instituut voor de Aanmoediging van Innovatie door Wetenschap en Technologie in Vlaanderen, Institute for the promotion of Innovation by Science and Technology) is responsible for support towards SMEs. As additional measure for Airbus- and ESA-programmes IWT set up the LuRu-support measure.


Wallonie Prime Horizon Europe has a special focus on SMEs for the set-up of European Collaborative Projects.



In Croatia unspecific support for SMEs is provided through the Business Innovation Center of Croatia – BICRO.


Another option for financial support for SMEs is the Croatian Ministry of Science, Education and Sports (MZOS). For FP7 proposals evaluated above threshold Croatian partners get financial support. Work package leaders, coordinators and funded project participants receive scaled more funding than just partners of proposals.



The Research Promotion Foundation (RPF) offers the “Innovation” Programme that aims at the support of enterprises and the development of Industrial Research and Innovation Activities.

It consists of the Actions:  "Innovation Clusters", "Mediation Centres for Research and Innovation", "Patents" and "Innovation Coupons".



SA Archimedes provides support for proposal writing in FP7 if these proposals get at least 10 points in the evaluation.


For general research funding Enterprise Estonia (EAS) is responsible. They will in future also be responsible for Estonian ESA funding.




Centres for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment (ELY Centres) steer enterprises towards planned internationalisation. Experts provide guidance to enterprises on beginning and developing their exports and on improving their staff's capabilities and skills required in internationalisation. Helping enterprises create the capacity needed for international competitiveness, their internationalisation process is accelerated and promoted and the related risks are reduced by providing advice, training and financing.


Tekes, Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation, funds SME-companies in their technology development projects.



CNES launches yearly calls for projects with the aim of funding innovative applications in the field of space. The responsible person is Mr. Pascal Faucher at pascal.faucher [at] cnes.fr.

Moreover, various measures exist to support SMEs. Two should be mentioned here:

- OSEO  is a public institution aiming to sustain innovation and development of SMEs

http://www.oseo.fr/ http://www.oseo.fr/votre_projet/international/aides_et_financements/partenariats_technologiques/accompagnement_financier/aide_au_partenariat_technologique/apt

- ANR  is a national research Agency funding research projects mainly for SMEs.



The National Contact Point Space provides a funding scheme for SMEs intending to lead a consortium applying for FP7 with a proposal mainly related to Space.


Besides this very specific support there is a variety of thematically independent measures and programmes available for SMEs. An overview can be found on the following website:


SME unspecific support aiming at international cooperation is provided by the international bureau (http://www.internationales-buero.de/) of the German research ministry.


Support for research and technological development

There are two public research funding programmes available for SMEs. The Research Fund supports basic research and the Technology Development Fund supports applied research and development, mainly for SMEs. Both funds are administered by the Icelandic Centre for Research (Rannis) on behalf of authorities.


Support for companies participating in FP7

A part of the Research Fund is earmarked for support for participating in FP7. SMEs that participate in a proposal in FP7 can apply for three levels of grants. The first one is for reimbursement of travel cost to meet with project partners, the second one is for proposal writing and/or proposal writing counselling and the third level is for Icelandic project coordinators to lead a proposal. These grants are paid after submitting the proposal, which has to be eligible and pass all thresholds. 

Venture funds and other support actions for SMEs

There are a number of venture funds for start-up companies in the field of technological development. These usually take an active part in business development and growth by investing in innovative and pioneering firms that incorporate research into their operating environment. The main operating body providing support to SMEs is Innovation Centre Iceland.


Finally there is the New Business Venture Fund at http://www.nsa.is

European Commision COSMOS is financed by the European Commision, DG Enterprise and Industry within the 7th EU Framework Programme

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