SMEs will receive 15.3% (€2.4 billion) of the Cooperation Programme budget of €16.3 billion committed so far under the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7).
This surpasses the goal set by the European Parliament and European Council for FP7. €2.4 billion has already been allocated to almost 8.900 SMEs by 1 January 2012. SME funding under the Cooperation Programme is estimated to remain above 15% for the rest of the period of FP7, thereby meeting the commitment taken by the European Commission.
FP7 provides financial support for transnational research for and by SMEs wishing to innovate and improve their competitiveness in Europe’s knowledge-based economy. Concrete measures to encourage SME participation were taken across the so-called 'Thematic Priorities' of the Cooperation Programme under FP7. A focus on SME-friendly measures in the calls of 2011 to encourage SMEs to participate, such as ring-fenced budgets for SMEs or topics highly relevant for SMEs, had a positive impact on achieving the 15% target. The last months of 2011 therefore saw a significant increase in the budget share allocated to SMEs. The Commission plans to strengthen such measures further in the future.
In addition to the around 17,000 SMEs expected to receive funding in FP7 research projects by the end of the programme, many more SMEs will benefit from the research results. Further findings in the 8th SME Progress Report on SME participation are:
- In 73% of research projects funded at least one SME is involved
- 17.6% of participants in FP7 projects are from SMEs.
- SMEs participate on average in 1.6 different research projects.
- A research project consortium has on average 11 partners, of which two are SMEs
- 10% of the projects are coordinated by an SME.
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Source: European Commission - Reasearch and Innovation: http://ec.europa.eu