The EU FP7 research and innovation programme is worth €53 billion, but the deadline for SMEs to benefit from grants is rapidly closing, with a cut-off date scheduled for 15 November 2012.
Commercial Director at Pera Technology, Mark Wareing commented on the increasing urgency of the situation for SMEs:
“If you are an SME trying to create fresh products or processes that could create a step change in your fortunes then there is no time to waste as the EU has now made funds available that you could use. There is €1.2 billion there for the taking, if you have a good idea!”
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Pera Technology specialises in partnering with UK SMEs to build new products and services or finding solutions to technology issues via EU funding, and is the country’s most successful liaison in securing grants for R&D.
“Companies that don’t apply for this latter funding may have to wait until 2015 for any projects funded by the new programme, Horizon 2020 to commence. So it is essential that all efforts are made to get proposals in before the November deadline.”
SMEs can now submit proposals under the EU’s ‘Cooperation’ theme, working in collaboration with Universities, research centres and public authority bodies across the EU. For those SMEs who are unable to undertake R&D personally, there is also an additional funding of €250 million to facilitate the development of valuable new products.
Launched in 2007, FP7 has a total budget of €55 billion for research and innovation and has so far supported 19,000 projects involving almost 80,000 participants across the EU, totalling €23.5 billion of investment.
European Research Innovation and Science Commissioner, Maire Geoghegan-Quinn, summed up the importance of research and innovation:
“Knowledge is the currency of the global economy. If Europe wants to continue to compete in the 21st Century, we must support the research and innovation that will generate growth and jobs, now and in the future. The high level of competition for EU funding makes sure that taxpayers’ money goes to the best projects that tackle issues that concern all of us.”