European funding for technology commercialisation is changing with the European Commission's first series of calls for projects under Horizon 2020, the European Union's new €77 billion research and innovation programme, at the start of 2014.
Horizon 2020 is the successor to the EU's FP7 funding programme. However, there are some significant changes from the previous programme - notably a focus on funding for SMEs.
Throughout the collaborative calls of Horizon 2020, there is a greater focus on funding for technologies which are close to market than its predecessor FP7; there is a stronger focus on innovation, rather than research; and the funding programme also benefits from a streamlined review and contract negotiation process compared to FP7.
NEW TO HORIZON 2020: THE SME INSTRUMENT
These new aspects of the EU funding are particularly highlighted in the new SME Instrument. Indeed, the EC has stated its ambition to make Horizon 2020 the most SME-friendly EU support programme in history, releasing a budget of €8.65 billion between 2014 and 2020 dedicated soley to innovation at SMEs. The instrument aims to fund innovation at SMEs that would otherwise be unlikely to come to the fore - and it aims to facilitate this through a simplified and accelerated application process.