Module 7: Funding

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Module 7: Funding

Given the importance of improving European SMEs innovative position, there are significant forms of funding available at both a European and National level. Most if not all these funds require some form of business collaboration or co-operation.

At the end of this module you will be able to:

  • Identify a range of funding sources for your business collaboration activities

  • Choose the most appropriate form of funding for your particular collaboration project

  • Understand the criteria which apply to most of these funding sources

  • Understand the basics of putting a proposal together

  • Know where to go to access further advice and or support

Framework Seven Programme

The complete name of FP7 is 7th Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development. It will last for seven years from 2007 until 2013. The programme has a total budget of over € 50 billion. This represents a substantial increase compared with the previous Framework Programme FP6 (41% at 2004 prices, 63% at current prices), a reflection of the high priority of research in Europe. Indeed, FP7 is a key tool to respond to Europe's needs in terms of jobs and competitiveness, and to maintain leadership in the global knowledge economy.

This money will (for the most part) be spent on grants to research actors all over Europe and beyond, in order to co-finance research, technological development and demonstration projects. Grants are determined on the basis of calls for proposals and a peer review

process, which are highly competitive. In order to complement national research programmes, activities funded from FP7 must have a “European added value”. One key aspect of the European added value is the transnationality of many actions: research projects are carried out by consortia which include participants from different European (and other) countries; fellowships in FP7 require mobility over national borders. Indeed, many research challenges (e.g. fusion research, etc), are so complex that they can only be addressed at European level.

But in FP7 there is also a new action for “individual teams” with no obligation for trans national cooperation. In this case, the “European added value” lies in raising the competition between scientists in fundamental “frontier” research from the national to the European level.

FP7 is the natural successor to the previous programme, FP6. It is the result of years of consultation with the research community from both the public and private sectors, with economic actors, and with political decision makers in Europe. FP7 is both larger and more

comprehensive than its predecessors. It is also more flexible, with simplified procedures.
The Framework Programmes for Research have two main strategic objectives:

  • to strengthen the scientific and technological base of European industry;

  • to encourage its international competitiveness, while promoting research that supports EU policies.

  • Please read: FP7 in brief (LINK TO PDF DOC)

  • See:

  • Leonardo da Vinci Programme

The Leonardo programme supports the development of skills and training. It funds work placements for trainees, workers and staff, and supports European projects to discuss common issues or develop training materials, courses and frameworks.

The programme is open to all UK organisations involved in work-based education and training and can help you to build a skilled workforce. Projects involve working with European partners and offer a great experience for staff and learners, and long-term organisational benefits.

Leonardo is part of the European Commission's Lifelong Learning Programme. At ECOTEC we are the UK National Agency for the Leonardo programme. This means that we manage the Leonardo grants available to UK organisations and individuals.

There are plenty of ways you, your organisation and your learners could benefit from the Leonardo programme in the UK.

Mobility Opportunities - Funding for European work placements, plus opportunities to meet prospective partners from across Europe for future project work through Preparatory Visits.

Small Co-operation Projects - Funding for UK organisations to work with a relatively small number of European partners on issues of mutual interest, to share expertise and experiences. Plus opportunities to meet prospective partners from across Europe for future small co-operation project work through Preparatory Visits.

Large Co-operation Projects - Funding for projects to develop new materials and support European networks in Vocational Education and Training. Plus opportunities to meet prospective partners from across Europe for future large co-operation project work through Preparatory Visits.

Please read:

  • Longlife Learning (LINK TO PDF DOC)

  • See:

  • Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs (LINK TO PDF DOC)

Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs is a pilot project initiated by the European Union (EU). It aims at helping new entrepreneurs to acquire relevant skills for managing a small or medium-sized enterprise (SMEs) by spending time in a business in another EU country. It contributes to improving their know-how and fosters cross-border transfers of knowledge and experience between entrepreneurs.

The specific objectives of the programme are:

  • On-the-job-training for new entrepreneurs in SMEs elsewhere in the EU in order to facilitate a successful start and development of their business ideas;

  • Exchanges of experience and information between entrepreneurs on obstacles and challenges to starting up and developing their businesses;

  • To enhance market access and identification of potential partners for new and established businesses in other EU countries;

  • Networking by building on knowledge and experience from other European countries between entrepreneurs.

Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs is financed by the European Commission and operated across 21 EU countries by the help of more than 100 intermediary organisations competent in business support (e.g. Chambers of Commerce, start-up centres, incubators etc.). Their activities are coordinated at European level by EUROCHAMBRES, the Association of European Chambers of Commerce and Industry, which acts as Support Office.

Plase see:


  • Please read: Erasmus for young entrepreneurs (PUT LINK TO PDF DOC)


The Interregional Cooperation Programme enables cooperation between regional and local authorities from different countries in the EU27, Norway and Switzerland. This makes the form of projects in which these authorities exchange and transfer their experiences and jointly develop approaches and instruments that improve the effectiveness of regional development policies and contribute to economic modernisation.

In line with the Community Strategic Guidelines for Cohesion Policy 2007-2013, the programme aims to contribute to the Union's strategy for growth and jobs. As such, it is an important instrument for the implementation of the EU initiative Regions for economic Change (RFEC). RFEC is designed to support regional and urban networks discovering best practice in economic modernisation, particularly those contributing to the Union’s growth and jobs agenda, and to spread this best practice to all regions in order to help stimulate their sustainable growth and reduce economic disparities.

The programme is structured around two thematic priorities, grouping action fields that are key in helping to achieve a contribution from the regions of Europe to the Union's strategy for growth, jobs and sustainable development.
Priority 1 addresses innovation and the knowledge economy, focusing mainly on the subthemes innovation, research and technology development, entrepreneurship and SMEs, the information society, and employment, human capital and education.

Priority 2 targets environment and risk prevention, most notably the sub-themes natural and technological risks, water management, Waste prevention and management, biodiversity and preservation of natural heritage, energy and sustainable transport, and cultural heritage and landscape.

This Operational Programme supports two different types of interventions.

Firstly, it supports “Regional Initiative Projects” initiated by regional actors aiming to exchange experience in a specific policy field in order to identify good practice and to develop new tools and approaches for implementation.

Secondly, INTERREG IVC supports “Capitalisation, including Fast Track projects” in order to ensure that good practice identified, for instance, by the regional initiative projects mentioned above, finds its way into the Convergence, Regional competitiveness and Employment and European Territorial Cooperation programmes.

The programme is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). It has a total available ERDF budget of € 321 million for the 2007-2013 period. The programme area covers the whole territory of the European Union plus Norway and Switzerland. The programme co-finances the participation of public authorities and bodies governed by public law from these countries. Participation of actors from outside this area is possible under certain conditions.

For more information, see:


  • Please read: Interreg (PUT PDF LINK TO DOC)

European project collaboration

There is significant funding available from the European Union (as outlined in the funding module), to encourage and stimulate SME to collaborate on project of joint interest. The funding is offered with good reason, there is a significant body of research which highlights those SMEs who take part in such projects & collaborations are more innovative, more competitive and more profitable than those who don’t. Key areas for European project Collaboration include; Research and Development, New Product and Process development, Training – particularly online learning, and Standardisation and the creation of European Standards. Examples of funding stream available at an EU level to promote such project collaboration include; The Seventh Framework Programme (which has a wide variety of sub-measure), The Life Long Learning Programme and in particular the Leonardo da Vinci sub-measure, and Initiatives from DG Enterprise such as the Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs.

See case study: Euroffice European Project (PUT LINK TO CASE)

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