The EU Partnership on Innovative SMEs / Eurostars eligibility criteria for Italy

co-funded by the european union - european partnership

To apply, you must fulfill seven eligibility criteria:

  • The project consortium is led by an innovative SME* from a EU Partnership on Innovative SMEs / Eurostars country.
  • The project consortium is composed of at least two entities that are independent from one another.
  • The project consortium is composed of entities from at least two participating countries with a minimum of one organisation from an EU or Horizon Europe Associated Country.
  • The budget of the SMEs from the participating countries (excluding any subcontracting) is 50% or more of the total project cost.
  • No single participant or country is responsible for more than 70% of the budget of the project.
  • The project duration is 36 months or less***.
  • The project has an exclusive focus on civil applications. 

*We define an innovative SME as any SMEs with the ambition to collaborate on R&D and innovation with international partners to develop new products, processes and services for European and global markets. Innovative SMEs do not need to have a proven track record of R&D activities.

R&D: “Research and experimental development (R&D) comprise creative and systematic work undertaken in order to increase the stock of knowledge – including knowledge of humankind, culture and society – and to devise new applications of available knowledge.” (OECD Frascati Manual 2015, p. 44)

Innovation: “a new or improved product or process (or combination thereof) that differs significantly from the unit’s previous products or processes and that has been made available to potential users (product) or brought into use by the unit (process).” (OECD Oslo Manual 2018, p. 20)

**The EU Partnership on Innovative SMEs / Eurostars countries: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Türkiye and the United Kingdom.

***If justified, you may be permitted an extension after your project has started. This must be approved by the Independent Evaluation Panel, Eureka Secretariat and relevant national funding bodies. 

Please read all our guidelines before submitting a project application. If you do not meet all our eligibility criteria, your application will be rejected.

National criteria (the Ministry for Universities and Research) 

The Ministry for Universities and Research (MUR) has additional national criteria for projects to be eligible to receive funding (Decreto legge n. 83/2012, Decreto Ministeriale n. 593 del 26 luglio 2016, Linee guida al DM del 26 luglio 2016 n. 593 and Procedure operative per il finanziamento dei progetti internazionali are applicable for the EU Partnership on Innovative SMEs / Eurostars programme. Find these documents here. Specific eligibility rules and conditions for each call are published in the Avviso integrativo nazionale): 

  • Italian participants must adopt necessary accounting and administrative measures for allocating resources.  
  • Participating organisations (companies, public and private research organisations, end users and universities) must be based in Italy and meet EU requirements
  • There must be at least one Italian SME in your consortium, and the SME(s) must be responsible for more of the project costs and activities than the other Italian participants. 
  • Italian participants must not be defaulting on any payments or funding received by MUR.  
  • Italian participants must not have requested or received funding for the same research or development activities.  
  • Italian participants must respect law D. Lgs. n. 159 del 06/09/2011 e successive modificazioni ed integrazioni.  
  • Italian participants must not be following bankruptcy proceedings (as stated in art. 5.4b of DM 593/2016) or a qualify as a company in difficulty (according to EU definitions). 
  • Italian participants must comply with obligations in the contributory and social security regulations (DURC).  
  • The Italian participant’s legal representative’s judicial and pending records must be negative. 
  • All privately funded Italian participants must fulfil the following financial criteria (based on their last approved balance sheet):  
    • Net assets (capitale netto/ CN) must be greater than the sum of project costs for which the participant has requested funding in the year (CP) minus the sum of contributions received, approved or requested for these projects (I) divided by two: CN > (CP – I)/2
    • Financial charges (oneri finanziari/ OF) divided by turnover (fatturato/ F) must be less than 8%: OF/F < 8% 

In addition to the Eurostars application, Italian participants must submit further documentation (signed) to MUR, through their national web platform. Information about these required documents can be find in the platform itself and in the Procedure operative per il finanziamento dei progetti internazionali. 

These additional national documents must be submitted before the same EU Partnership on Innovative SMEs / Eurostars programme deadline. Any participant who does not submit the national documents (signed) by the EU Partnership on Innovative SMEs / Eurostars deadline will not be eligible for funding.

National criteria (the Ministry of Economic Development) 

The Ministry of Economic Development (MISE) has additional national criteria for projects to be eligible to receive funding. he Ministry of Economy and Finance Decree, August 06, 2021 allocated financial resources for the implementation of the interventions of National Recovery and Resilience Plan; Mission M4-Component C2; Id I2.2- Partnership Horizon Europe.

  • Projects will be funded respecting the Regulation (EU) GBER n.651/2014 and Regulation (EU) 2021/1237 of the Commission amending Regulation (EU) No 651/2014 declaring certain categories of aid compatible with the internal market in application of Articles 107 and 108 of the Treaty.
  • Projects funded by the Ministry of Economic Development (MISE) must comply with the acts related to the specific measure (Ministerial Decree, March 24 2022, Ministerial Decree to be signed specifically on innovative SMEs calls, and following DGTCSI-DGIAI Directorial Decrees).
  • The selection procedure for the awarding will include the commitment that the climate contribution of the investment as per the methodology in Annex VI of the Regulation (EU) 2021/241 shall account for at least 60% of the total cost of the investment supported by the RRF as well as the commitment that the digital contribution of the investment as per the methodology in Annex VII of the Regulation (EU) 2021/241 shall account for at least 40% of the total cost of the investment supported by the RRF.
  • Applicants will be selected taking into account their capability to be environmentally sustainable in line with Regulation (EU) 2020/852 of the European Parliament and of the Council and Delegated Act C(2021) 2800, June 04, 2021 as well as the Ministry of Economy circular letter of 30 December 2021, n. 32, "National Recovery and Resilience Plan": Operational guide for compliance with the principle of not causing significant damage to the environment (DNSH- Do Not Significant Harm), describing the general criteria so that every single economic activity does not cause significant harm by contributing to the objectives of mitigation, adaptation and reduction of environmental impacts and risks.
  • The Ministry of Economic Development (MISE) will refer also to the Annex 2 of Commission Notice (2021/C 58/01) “Technical guidance on the application of do not significant harm under the Recovery and Resilience Facility Regulation” which includes the evidence of evaluation purposes of DNSH.
  • The Ministry of Economic Development (MISE) will exclude from funding any activity included in the Annex V, point B of the Regulation (EU) 2021/523 of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing the InvestEU programme and amending the Regulation (EU) 2015/1017.
  • The applicants are expected to comply with the principle of gender equality in relation to Articles 2, 3 (3) of the TEU, 8, 10, 19 and 157 of the TFEU, and 21 and 23 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, and the obligation of protection and enhancement of young people, under penalty of the possibility of suspension or revocation of the loan in the event of ascertaining the violation of these general principles.
  • According to Article 2, paragraph 6-bis of the Decree Law 31 May 2021 n. 77, the Administrations ensure that at least 40% of the resources will be allocated to the beneficiaries of South Italy Regions. Nevertheless, it will be protected the interest in the total allocation of the resources put up for tender if the Ministry doesn’t receive a number of applications, from Southern Italy applicants, that would exhaust the financial resources referred to the aforementioned reserve.
  • Your organisation must not be defaulting on other funding received by the ministry.
  • Your organisation must not have requested/received any other funding for the same project, apart from the KDT funding. Therefore, you must respect article 9 of the EU Regulation 2021/241 (complementary funding) as well as the circular letter of the Ministry of Economy of December 31 2021 n. 33.
  • Your organisation must comply with the obligations in the contributory and social security regulations (DURC).
  • The judicial and pending records of the legal representative of the participant must be negative.
  • For any private entity, MISE, also through the body managing the aid, will assess the financial and economic sustainability of the project, calculating some economic and financial indicators through the analysis of the data contained in the last two approved balance sheet.

In addition to the EU Partnership on Innovative SMEs / Eurostars application, Italian participants must submit a national application to MISE to: dgiai.div6@pec.mise.gov.it. 

These additional national documents must be submitted before the same EU Partnership on Innovative SMEs / Eurostars programme deadline. Any participant who does not submit the national documents (signed) by the EU Partnership on Innovative SMEs / Eurostars deadline will not be eligible for funding.

The next steps

Read all our guidelines before submitting your project application.

Go to the guidelines

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Check your financial viability

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