This study focuses on an assessment of the future share and role of SMEs in Horizon 2020 and on an understanding of the proposed mechanisms for SME participation.To this end, the study explores the features that characterise the research context for SMEs, notably their current participation under FP7, the modalities and the benefits of their participation in research activities. Moreover, it provides facts and figures on the objectives, governance and functioning of the dedicated SME instruments and modalities foreseen under Horizon 2020.
Eurostars, also included in the study, will be an integral part of Horizon 2020 targeting R&D intensive SMEs. Eurostars is a success story of cooperation between the European Commission and EUREKA and has seen its funding triple to 1.14 billion euros under Horizon 2020. The next phase of Eurostars would operate faster and deliver even better support to SMEs. While one of the changes in the new programme will be a wider opening to medium-sized companies, greater harmonisation between national offices will be crucial to its improved functioning.