The European Commission has published the Scoping Paper for the Innovation in SMEs 2018-2020 Work Programme.
The scoping paper has been developed on the basis of input from a number of sources, including the Advisory Group report, regular consultations and exchanges with stakeholders, surveys and workshops with experts, and feedback from the implementation of Horizon 2020 so far. The main policy objective of the Innovation in SMEs work programme is '...to enhance the Research Development Innovation (RDI) environment for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), strengthening the innovation capacity of SMEs and creating value on the market and/or into society, in support of the Europe 2020 strategy for smart, inclusive and sustainable growth'. As was the case in Horizon 2020 from 2014 to 2017, the Innovation in SMEs Work Programme will encompass two main elements:
- The SME Instrument - providing integrated support to SMEs throughout the innovation cycle;
- The INNOSUP call and other actions - which compiles a range of mostly indirect support actions covering a variety of areas.
Furthermore, six specific objectives for the period 2018-2020 have been outlined:
- Streamlined and integrated support throughout the innovation cycle to all types of innovation-driven SMEs by a fully bottom-up SME instrument, to be rolled out under the remit of the European Innovation Council, championing market-creating innovation;
- Convergence of national support programmes by supporting the Eurostars initiative for research intensive (R&D performing) SMEs;
- Higher efficiency of and economic impact from Research, Development and especially Innovation (RDI) activities in SMEs by improving the innovation eco-system for SMEs. This includes the framework conditions for innovation and innovation management capacities in SMEs, in particular for those SMEs supported by Horizon 2020;
- Stimulating the exploitation of innovation trends with potential to add important value to SMEs and the European economy; particular attention will be devoted to market-driven innovation;
- Enhancing the quality and range of support services available to SMEs by highly specialised services at European level – including those of the EEN – and enhancing the quality of services provided by regions and Member States – including by NCPs – through experimentation and uptake of better practices;
- Encouraging peer-learning among Member States support services in order to develop quality in service provision.
The scoping papers are working documents not formally endorsed by the Commission, the adoption and publication of the 2018-2020 Work Programme is expected in October 2017.