This call for proposals aims to contribute to the European Commission’s recovery package via the establishment of strategic alliances between tech-savvy SMEs and the traditional SMEs facing the need to adapt to the post-crisis economic environment, focusing on the benefits of adopting advanced technologies. The final objective of this call for proposals is to contribute to a wider spreading and diffusion of advanced technologies across SMEs in Europe and boost economic recovery.
The specific objective of the action is to launch two pilot projects focused on building alliances among traditional and tech-savvy SMEs through industrial cluster organisations in order to promote SME collaboration and technology adoption within specific industrial ecosystems.
For the purpose of this call, traditional and tech-savvy SMEs are defined as follows:
a) Traditional SMEs are those SMEs that have not yet adopted new technologies and need to adapt to changed value-chains and demand. In this project, we aim to focus on those traditional SMEs that are part of a cluster organisation and intent to improve their business competitiveness by adopting new technologies.
b) Tech-savvy SMEs are EU companies with innovative business models that develop, produce and commercialise advanced technology products and applications. Their business solutions inject high-tech power and smart, evidence-based business management to more traditional SMEs, thus providing them significant competitive advantages. (An example of a potential list of tech-savvy SMEs can be found on the report "Artificial Intelligence. Critical industrial applications: report on a market analysis of prioritised value chains, the most critical AI applications and the conditions for AI rollout")
The projects shall specifically contribute to:
Types of activities
Proposals are invited to:
- Ensure a broad geographical coverage with regard to the EU regions to which they provide their services (A region is meant here as the economic territory defined at NUTS-2 level. See http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/web/nuts/overview).
- Foresee strategies to establish and remain open to synergies during the whole project duration.
The present call for proposals includes three types of activities:
a) Preparatory mandatory activities
Applicants are requested to propose preparatory activities they consider relevant for the building of SME alliances and businesses adoption of new technologies. It is essential that all preparatory activities are clearly related to the objective set out by this call for proposals and duly justified.
b) Core mandatory activities
The proposed preparatory activities shall lead to and be complemented by the following mandatory activities:
c) Complementary mandatory activities
Taking into consideration the mandatory activities of this call for proposals, the Agency considers that the reasonable duration of the projects shall be 24 months.
Applications with different duration might also be considered, provided that the duration is coherent with the objectives of this call for proposals and realistic for the proposed mandatory activities.
Applicants must be legal entities and shall be representatives of industry, research community, and technology providers. A non-exhaustive list of potential applicants includes, for instance:
The different clusters in the consortia applying for this call for proposals may represent groups of SMEs from the same industrial segment or related industrial sectors that offer scope for cross-fertilisation.
Should technology centres not be formal beneficiaries of the proposed project, applicants shall demonstrate in their application how they intend to ensure their collaboration during the project.
Natural persons are not eligible.
Linked third parties, i.e. legal entities having a legal or capital link with applicants, which is neither limited to the action nor established for the sole purpose of its implementation, may take part in the action as applicants in order to declare eligible costs.
Only applications from legal entities established in the following countries are eligible:
Proposals must be submitted by consortia composed by eligible legal entities established in a minimum of three different EU Member States.
The total budget earmarked for the co-financing of projects is estimated at EUR 5 000 000.
The maximum grant per project will be between EUR 2 000 000 and EUR 3 000 000. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.
Submission of proposals
The deadline for electronic submission is 2 February 2021, 17:00 (Brussels time).
Please refer to the Call for Proposals and Guide for Applicants before commencing the electronic submission.
The link to the submission system is available on the Funding and Tenders Portal.
If you are looking for partners to apply to this call or you are looking for organisations active in the same domain as you, you may wish to visit the website of the European Cluster Collaboration Platform (ECCP), the Enterprise Europe Network (EEN), the Digital Innovation Hubs (DIH), the Knowledge Innovation Communities (KIC).
Questions and Answers
Potential applicants should address questions related to the content of this call by e-mail to EASME-COSME-STRATEGIC-ALLIANCES@ec.europa.eu.
Only questions sent to this functional mailbox will be answered. Answers will only be published periodically and within a reasonable period of time on this page. Last questions to be answered are those submitted at least 7 calendar days prior to the closing date of this call.