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Funding of R&D projects

The European Union is committed to revive and strengthen its economy. This means turning scientific and technological advances into marketable products, processes and services faster to face global competition.

In this respect, 200 M€ have been budgeted during 2015-2016 to fund close to market, business driven projects under the Fast Track to Innovation (FTI) pilot schem.

The FTI pilot is the only measure in Horizon 2020, the new financial Framework program of R&D in Europe, that provides funding for business driven projects, open to all types of participants and proposals in any area of technology or application, without thematic restrictions.

The aim is to reduce the time from idea to market, accelerating the commercialisation process by providing extended funding opportunities through an open and agile scheme. It also aims to increase SMEs and industry investment in research and innovation with a focus on value creation and encourage the participation of first-time applicants to EU research funding. To this end, if a proposal involves technological innovation, the consortium must declare that the technology or the technologies concerned are at least at Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 6.

About the proposals

  • Proposals must include a business plan clearly describing the market potential and a credible commercialisation strategy. The expected impact should be clearly described in both qualitative and quantitative terms. As for proposals for other Horizon 2020 innovation actions, “excellence” and “implementation” will also be assessed, but only if the minimum threshold for the “impact” criterion is achieved.
  • Proposals must relate to any field under the specific objective “Leadership in enabling and industrial technologies” and/or to any of the specific objectives under the priority “Societal challenges”.
  • Proposals should specify the intended outcome of the project and describe its key performance indicators/success criteria.
  • Possible impacts on sustainability or climate change, in particular, or on other cross-cutting objectives of Horizon 20203, should also be highlighted.
  • The pilot will be implemented through one common and continuously open call, meaning that proposals can be submitted at any time. Proposals will be evaluated and ranked and funding decisions taken after three cut-off dates each year.


Consortia must involve between 3 and 5 legal entities established in at least 3 different EU Member States or countries associated to Horizon 2020. First-time industry applicants and SMEs are particularly welcome. Therefore, substantial industry involvement in FTI actions will be mandatory to ensure quick market take-up (within a 3 year period after the start).


  • Business driven projects based on TRL (technology demonstrated in relevant environment)
  • Total budget of €200 million (€100 million per year)
  • Elegible budget:  Personnel, travelling and subsistence, equipment  mortization, subcontracting and fungible costs.
  • Non-refundable funding at a rate of 70% of the eligible costs (100% for Non Profit legal entities), including an indirect cost rate of 25%. The indicative EU contribution per action is expected to be between €1 million and €2 million; in duly justified cases, an EU contribution of up to €3 million can be considered.
  • Strong business involvement, resulting in either 1) the allocation of at least 60% of the budget to industry participants in the consortium, or 2) the presence of a minimum number of 2 industry participants in a consortium of 3 or 4 partners, or of 3 industry participants in a consortium of 5 partners.
  • Quick market take-up (within a 3 year period after the start).

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