News: Looking for a post-doctoral researcher for your innovation projects? Apply for this call.
Small, innovative, companies create the majority of new jobs in the European economy. Technological advances are making it easier and cheaper to start enterprises with limited own resources - but SMEs often struggle to scale up and create new jobs, including recruiting talent. EASME will provide funds to employ a post-doctoral researcher for one year to work on an innovative project in an SME to address these challenges and develop the ecosystem of innovation support to SMEs in Europe.
The lack of access to skills, to latest knowledge and capacity to manage innovation processes effectively, have been identified as major barriers for innovation in SMEs. Individual SMEs are at a disadvantage to recruit specialised knowledge as they often lack Europe-wide networking connections and do not tend to have established brands as large enterprises. Enterprise-led mobility programmes, supporting enterprises in recruiting expertise, show a high level of satisfaction and return on investment. This methodology is not currently used at European level and this enterprise-led approach is to be further developed and tested, using the first experiences of this pilot action. This action focus on developing research careers, by providing additional work opportunities for experienced researchers in innovating SMEs.
As a continuation of a pilot action of the "Innovation in SMEs" work programme 2016-2017, the European Commission has published a new call: SMEs can now apply for funding in a new Horizon 2020 Innovation Associate programme. This capacity building action provides a grant at European level to visionary SMEs that can demonstrate that the skills required for a particular innovation idea are not within reach for them at national level (for example because the required skills are not available or not affordable for them).
The following call for proposals is one element of a broader action to address these challenges and develop the ecosystem of innovation support to SMEs in Europe. Generally, the actions are designed to provide opportunities to Member States and regions to enhance their services through collaboration, and peer-learning. The emphasis is on further testing new approaches for better innovation support, such as blockchain technologies, workplace innovation, a network for Open Innovation, training on advanced manufacturing, experimentation in innovation agencies and a tool for investors in financing SMEs. For this call, the type of financing has changed to a lump sum payment to make the process even easier for SME beneficiaries.
The selected SMEs are supported to employ a highly skilled experienced researcher (referred to as an 'innovation associate') for a continuous period of one year. The associate's task will be to explore, during the course of his/her contract, the potential of their innovative idea and turn it into an innovation project
The whole indicative budget of € 4 million is intended to support a total number of 115 assignments. These will be spread over two cut-offs, one for projects starting in 2019 and one for projects starting in 2020.
The call closes on 15 January 2020. Check here for more information.