Differences between the SME instrument in Horizon 2020 and CORNET


  • The nature of the research topic

The SME instrument in H2020 supports SMEs to develop ground-breaking innovative ideas for products, services or processes that are ready to face global market competition.

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

  • The target group: high-potential SMEs vs. SMEs with limited own research capacities

The target group of the SME instrument in H2020 are high-potential SMEs that follow a development strategy that pursues breakthrough innovation.

CORNET’s target group are SMEs with no or limited own research capacities, that need to solve Collective Research problems.

  • Individual SMEs vs. Groups of SMEs

The SME instrument in H2020 funds individual SMEs that can apply as a single entity or as a consortium.

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

  • European Commission funding vs. national / regional funding

The European Commission is responsible for providing funding in H2020.

In CORNET funding is provided country-by-country, combining resources into one project budget. National or regional funding rules apply and no money crosses borders.


Things in common between the SME instrument in Horizon 2020 and CORNET

  • Bottom-up approach

Both initiatives allow submission of proposals that follow a bottom-up approach. However, in the SME instrument of H2020 within a given societal challenge or enabling technology of H2020. Whereas, in CORNET research topics are not pre-defined and can be decided by applicants themselves.