CORNET and IraSME: Differences & similarities

CORNET and its partner network IraSME have been organising Partnering Events together for many years now and have very similar call cycles. But what are the main differences between both international funding networks? And what are the similarities?

In the following, you will get a brief overview of the main differences and similarities between both networks.

Differences between CORNET and IraSME:

The nature of the research topic

CORNET is funding Collective Research projects that solve common problems of small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) of a branch. The research deals with pre-competitive topics which includes broad publication of the research results after a project is completed.

IraSME, on the other hand, supports the development of rapidly marketable innovative products, processes and services.

The target group: SMEs with common problems to be solved through Collective Research vs. SMEs with concrete product improvement needs

CORNET’s target group are SMEs with no or limited research capacities that need to solve general problems which other SMEs are also dealing with. Collective Research helps them to fully develop their innovation potential.

In IraSME, the SMEs need to solve either a research and development problem that carries significant technical risks or to improve existing products, processes or technical services. The clearly describable project outcome has to show real market opportunities.

Groups of SMEs vs. Individual SMEs

CORNET provides funding for consortia of SMEs of a branch (at least 5 per country/region) that all have a problem in common with their competitors and therefore join forces with them for a Collective Research project. The research work itself is performed by a research organisation.

IraSME funds individual SMEs that can apply as a single entity or as a consortium.


Things CORNET and IraSME have in common:

ERA-NET funding principle

Both initiatives follow the ERA-NET principle that every project participant receives funding from their own national or regional programme.

Bottom-up approach

Both initiatives allow submission of proposals that follow a bottom-up approach, e.g. research topics are not pre-defined and can be decided by applicants themselves.

Partnering Events

CORNET and IraSME are organising joint Partnering Events in changing locations in order to facilitate the search for suitable partners for international projects. CORNET also displays current partner requests from various fields of research on the CORNET website in the section Find a project partner.


Both networks open and close their calls twice a year. The calls always close on the last Wednesday in March and September. Proposal documents have to be submitted by the stated deadline.

Results from CORNET projects may also lead to IraSME projects as CORNET might be a possible preliminary stage for IraSME projects. If you like to take the results of your pre-competitive CORNET project to the next level, the market-oriented funding network IraSME might be the right tool for you.

Both networks are supported by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi).

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