H2020 SME Instrument Changes
As of January 2018, the SME Instrument and Fast Track to Innovation (FTI) will become a part of the European Innovation Council (EIC) pilot, which aims to target radically new, breakthrough products, services, processes or business models that open up new markets. This transition is expected to bring about also some changes in the SME Instrument with an aim to expand the reach of its benefits to the European innovation ecosystem.
The SME Instrument’s redesign is planned to improve both its accessibility and the excellence of its selection process. Changes include:
- Full bottom-up selection approach – the removal of pre-defined topics as foreseen in previous Work Programmes will allow entrepreneurs from all sectors of the economy to apply with their market-creating innovations.
- Overhaul of the submission forms – the structure and content of these forms have been adapted in order to simplify the submission process for these entrepreneurs and adopt a business-oriented language that is more adapted to their reality.
- Pool of expert-evaluators – the number of expert-evaluators in the pool with an investor profile has been significantly increased in order to better consider market and investment related elements in the evaluation.
- Face-to-face interviews with selected Phase 2 applicants – the introduction of this additional step after the remote evaluation will give expert-evaluators a better grasp of the proposals and make sure that only the best and most disruptive innovation ideas pass the cut.
Fast Track to Innovation will exit the pilot phase and also become part of the European Innovation Counicl pilot. The features of FTI will stay the same as in its pilot phase.
Click HERE for draft Work Programme 2018 – 2020, draft applicant guide, draft SME proposal templates and draft pitch deck template.