Today I went to an interesting seminar based in Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire, which was all about the Horizon 2020 initiative.
For those that are not aware of this programme, this funding initiative will be the biggest in European history whereby nearly 80bn Euros will be made available to businesses over a seven-year period. This gives SMEs a better chance of bringing new products to market. Horizon 2020 essentially brings all EU research and innovation funding under one roof, which should help to reduce red tape.
According to the European Union’s Industry Committee, the aim of this “ambitious programme is to position Europe as a “world-leading economy and a society based on knowledge and innovation”. The programme has also been designed partly with a view to increasing R&D activity among small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) across Europe.
However this funding differs to most government backed enterprises in that it is not just focusing on R&D but funding will be available through the product life cycle up to retailing the product in question.
The application is a much smaller scaled down document when compared to applications for other EU backed funding and is split into three phases. Successful applicants may claim up to 3m Euros to spend on new product development and the added bonus is that Horizon 2020 does not require SMEs to join larger consortiums to gain EU funding and the European Commission are tasked to respond to applications within six months of submission. There is also an additional added bonus in that 15 days of free coaching will be made available paid directly by the European Commission and that businesses are able to utilise the funding as they see fit.
After listening to the key speakers and talking to businesses that attended the seminar, it was evident that is an exciting time to get ideas into a R&D arena to then be able to market their product. The recession has certainly highlighted that the UK needs manufacturing, innovation and engineering more than ever and Europe Plc has certainly woken up to this knowing that the emerging tiger nations such as those in the Far East have largely been unaffected with the recent global crisis.
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