About the Horizon 2020 programme

In December 2013, the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union adopted “Horizon 2020” – the Framework Program for Research and Innovation for 2014-2020.

Horizon 2020 is the largest research and innovation program in the history of the European Union. Its total seven-year budget amounts to nearly EUR 80 billion. The program is a tool for implementing the Innovation Union, the flagship initiative of the Europe 2020 growth strategy, aimed at increasing Europe’s competitiveness in the world.

The program consists of three pillars which define specific themes:

  • Excellent Science
  • Industrial Leadership
    • Leading position in sectors
      • ICT
      • nanotechnology
      • advanced materials
      • technologies of manufacturing and processing
      • biotechnology
      • space industry
    • Access to financing
    • SME innovations
  • Societal Challenges
    • Health protection and demographic changes
    • Agriculture, water resources and the bioeconomy
    • Safe, clean and efficient energy
    • Transport
    • Climate, environment and natural resources
    • Social development
    • Freedom and security

Horizon 2020 brings together all EU funding for research and innovation. It combines three existing initiatives to finance the development of science in Europe:

  • 7th Framework Program for Research and Technological Development (FP7)
  • European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT)
  • Instruments for supporting innovation in the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Program (CIP).

More than 2.8 billion euros from the program will be dedicated to financial instruments supporting research and innovation.

Financial Instruments

Horizon 2020 includes the Access to Risk Finance axis, under which InnovFin financial instruments operate. Among the tools that facilitate access to finance for businesses and other entities carrying out R & D activities are loans, guarantees, counter-guarantees and equity finance.

Financial instruments in Horizon 2020, which have been phased in gradually since 2014, largely follow on from the best practices of the Seventh Framework Program (RSFF and RSI) and the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Program CIP (GIF-1). The financial instruments of Horizon 2020 are complementary to the financial instruments of the COSME program.

In June 2014, the first financial instruments of the Horizon 2020 program were announced, supplemented and modified in the coming years. Currently, a number of specific instruments are included and recognized under the common name InnovFin – EU Finance for Innovators.

Financing for high-value projects:

Under the InnovFin Emerging Innovators instrument, the European Investment Bank provides loans and capital to enterprises with up to 3,000 employees, research institutions and organizations, universities, etc. from countries with a relatively low level of innovation, i.e. classified under the European framework as “Moderate and Modest Innovators”. Poland is one of these countries. The minimum amount of financing is EUR 7.5 million, with the EIB financing up to 50% of the value of the investment project. The EIB may cover the costs of research and development activities or investments carried out by innovative or fast-growing entities.

Information on the instrument is provided .
Information about the instrument on the website of the European Investment Bank.

Science is InnovFin loans and capital for public or private institutions and research organizations or universities, for the financing of investments (including those related to buildings) or expenses related to research and innovation. Eligible companies and institutions from EU countries and associated countries of Horizon 2020 can apply for funding in the amount of EUR 25 million.

Information about the instrument is provided on the website of the European Investment Bank.

InnovFin Science and Emerging Innovators replaced InnovFin 2017 operating instruments InnovFin Large Projects and Finance InnovFin MidCap Growth.

Financing for SMEs and Mid-cap:

The task of the InnovFin MidCap Guarantee is to support innovative enterprises up to 3,000 employees with access to debt financing from EUR 1 to 50 million. This will be achieved by the guarantees of the European Investment Bank, intended for financial intermediaries – banks and other institutions operating on the markets of EU countries and associated countries of the Horizon 2020 program. Thanks to the sharing of risk, intermediaries will be able to offer financial products for entrepreneurs on preferential terms. The instrument was launched on May 29, 2015 r. in the form of a Call for Expression of Interest for candidates for financial intermediaries – financial institutions interested in using the guarantee.

Information about the instrument is provided on the website of the European Investment Bank,

Call for Expression of Interest – announcement regarding the recruitment of candidates for financial intermediaries.

InnovFin SME Guarantee provides access to financing for innovative SMEs and enterprises with less than 500 employees looking for loans or other forms of debt financing with a value from PLN 25 thousand. up to EUR 7.5 million. The funds are provided by selected financial intermediaries benefiting from guarantees or counter-guarantees granted by the European Investment Fund. The instrument has been made available since August 2014 in the form of an advertisement for financial institutions – candidates for intermediaries distributing preferential financing. Information on the instrument and selection of candidates for financial intermediaries is provided on the website of the European Investment Fund.

Information on the instrument and selection of candidates for financial intermediaries on the website of the European Investment Fund.

The list of institutions offering preferential financing in Poland under the Innovfin SME instrument is available on the website current offer for entrepreneurs.

In addition to loan and guarantee instruments, the InnovFin SME Venture Capital equity instrument was launched in the Horizon 2020 program. Under the facility, the European Investment Fund offers investor financing for VC funds and business angel funds. Innovation-oriented funds investing in enterprises in the early stage of development may be able to invest in the EIF. The instrument is a direct successor to the GIF-1 instrument in the CIP program.
Information about the instrument is provided on the website of the European Investment Fund.

In addition, the InnovFin Advisory instrument offers advisory services and advisory services to entities implementing large, long-term, complex innovative projects, in terms of preparation for applying for bank or investment financing (bankability, investment readiness). Information about the instrument on the website of the European Investment Bank.

Information about the instrument is provided on the website of the European Investment Bank.

Detailed information on the availability of individual instruments – both for entrepreneurs and candidates for financial intermediaries – is offered by the National Contact Point for Financial Instruments of European Union Programs.

Offer for financial institutions interested in the role of financial intermediaries in EU framework programmes.

Additional instruments

The Access to Risk Finance axis of Horizon 2020 also includes complementary financial instruments – specialized pilot actions aimed at supporting access to financing for projects in specific fields.

The thematic instruments include:

InnovFin Energy Demo Projects, under which the European Investment Bank offers loans and guarantees to entities implementing demonstration projects in the field of renewable energy sources, hydrogen cells and fuel cells. The support is to facilitate the development of projects from the demonstration stage to commercialization.

InnovFin Infectious Diseases is the EIB loans for entities investing in research and development projects aimed at developing innovative vaccines, drugs, medical devices and diagnostic or research infrastructure in the field of infectious diseases. The loans will serve projects that have passed the pre-clinical stage and need clinical validation for further product development. Projects must demonstrate an impact on public health and market potential. The instrument includes an option to decommit in case of failure of the project.

These thematic instruments were announced by the European Investment Bank on 15 June 2015. Each has an initial budget of EUR 100 million. Interested entrepreneurs can count on loans in the range of EUR 7.5-75 million.

Moreover, the Pilot Instrument for Technology Transfer Support (InnovFin Technology Transfer Financing Facility, InnovFin TTFF pilot) will support investments in technology transfer, implemented by TT funds and special purpose vehicles. The support will take the form of equity co-investments, loans and mezzanine financing and will mainly concern early-stage technology transfer projects (proof-of-concept, development and early commercialization stages).

Support activities under the financial instruments of Horizon 2020 will also include, inter alia, InnovFin Angels – an instrument for co-financing investments in innovative enterprises up to 500 employees, implemented by business angels, or a fund of funds (fund-of-funds), increasing the operational capabilities of Venture Capital funds investing in innovative enterprises. These instruments are planned to be launched in 2016-2017.

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