EU-funded health research actively seeks SME participation
Research-intensive small and medium-sized enterprises - SMEs are the main economic drivers of healthcare, biotechnology and medical technologies. High tech SMEs in the health and biotechnology sectors are expected to play a prominent role in FP7 Health theme funded projects. In addition, SMEs providing a service, e.g. management or intellectual property expertise, are also eligible to participate in FP7 projects.
Out of the € 6.1 billion dedicated to the Health theme in the Seventh Framework Programme (2007-2013), the share going to SMEs is expected to be at least 15%, or over € 900 million.
Inclusion of 'high-tech' SMEs in most projects throughout the Health Work Programme is a priority of the Health theme.
In addition, SME inputs in research and innovation are particularly encouraged in certain specific topics for small or medium-scale focused research projects targeted to SMEs (SME-targeted projects). The expected results of these projects should clearly be of interest and potential benefit to SMEs. The relevant consortia should aim to have at least 40% of the requested EC contribution going to SMEs (those projects should not necessarily be co-ordinated by the participating SMEs). Check carefully the topic formulation in the call.
You will find some examples of projects funded under FP6 in the catalogue "SME call for Life sciences, genomics and biotechnology for health" .
FP7 IS MORE FAVORABLE TO SME PARTICIPATION
Wider coverage: FP7 has a broader approach to health research than FP6, covering also new areas, such as medical technologies and public health. Furthermore, it is a 7-year programme, with continuity of structure, rules and procedures.
Better funding: FP7 "rules of participation" allows funding of up to 75% for research and development activities of SMEs, rather than the 50% of the previous framework programme. Management and training activities are funded up to 100%.
Better protection of intellectual property: The rules governing intellectual property in EU-funded projects have been greatly improved in the last framework programmes. Clearer IPR rules are designed with more attention to the special needs of SMEs.
Reduced need for financial checks and bank guarantees: In FP7, a guarantee fund replaces the 'collective financial responsibility'. This fund is set up to cover the financial risks of defaulting project participants.
Where to get help to prepare a proposal:
- Dedicated local support is available through Fit-for-Health.
Fit for Health is an EU-funded support network of experts and National Contact Points in 22 countries aiming at the successful participation of research centres, universities and innovative high-tech, research-intensive SMEs in EU-funded "HEALTH" research projects.
Fit for Health offers wide-ranging services by ensuring excellent coverage of the entire innovation pipeline: the support network helps innovative SMEs, researchers from universities and research centres during all phases of FP7 projects, from the project idea to the efficient and effective valorisation of project results. Several services are provided: individual assistance and consultation, target-group specific on-site and virtual FP7 covering proposal writing, grant negotiations and project management and support in finding project partners through the well-established, highly visible SME/researcher profiles database.
- If you are an SME working in Medical Technologies and Biomedical Engineering, SM-BIO-POWER will specifically help you to participate in EU research. This EU funded support action, with a consortium of ten partners, helps SMEs to gain international visibility for your company. SM-BIO-POWER provides information on the latest trends in EU support for biomedical engineering research together with best practice examples from other SMEs in EU projects. An online helpdesk is available for registered users as well as personal assistance in identifying funding opportunities and project partners. Personalised updates include selected information such as call alerts, partner searches and consortia and project opportunities.
- Further supports
The SME Contact Officer in the Health Research Directorate is Ludovica Serafini
- less than 250 employees,
- annual turnover less or equal to 50 million €
- and balance sheet less or equal to 43 million €
- the company has to be "independent"
- SME User Guide explaining the new SME definition [2 MB] [ ]
- SME definition: Commission Recommendation of 06 May 2003 [234 KB] , OJ L 124 of 20.5.2003, p. 36 [ ]
Check here if you qualify as SME according to Commission definition.
Last updated on: 2011-08-31