Funding for Horizon 2020 project preparation

As of 1 January 2015 Tekes will fund the Horizon 2020 project preparation phase, i.e. writing a proposal for the H2020 programme. Thus, Tekes encourages Finnish companies and research organizations to develop international research and innovation networks.

H2020 project preparation can be built into a normal Tekes project if the Tekes project aims to broaden its future scope into international activities. The actual funding for H2020 project preparation is aimed for the proposal writing phase of large projects with a significant impact on Finland, or if the Finnish participant(s) has a substantial role as the coordinator and/or a work-package leader(s). Thus, this funding is not meant for preparation work on the popular SME instrument. In addition, cluster organizations can apply for funding from Tekes for Horizon 2020 proposal preparation to promote Finnish companies' Horizon 2020 participation or, for instance, to cultivate the potential of Finnish actors to take part in upcoming KIC calls of the European Institute of Technology and Innovation.

H2020 project preparation as a part of a Tekes-funded project (also SHOK programmes)

  • H2020 project preparation activities must be clearly described and included in the appropriate Tekes-funded project's plan as its own work package
  • The project plan must also outline how the specific H2020 project would further the ongoing Tekes project
  • The project plan and budget of an ongoing Tekes project can also be amended if a related H2020 proposal becomes current. However, adding these activities to an ongoing project will not increase the original Tekes funding amount.
  • Eligible preparation costs must be reasonable in comparison with the potential amount of H2020 funding
Funding for large H2020 project preparation

  • The total budget of the H2020 project must be at least 5 million euros and the Finnish participant's role(s) must be financially or otherwise significant (for instance, the coordinator and/or a work package leader).
  • Eligible costs for the project preparation phase can be max. 5 % of the Finnish partners' budget in the proposed H2020 project (for example, 1 M€ = 50 000 €). If a consortium includes three Finnish participants, for example, eligible costs can still only be a maximum of 5%, not three times 5% of the total budget of the Finnish participants.
  • The application should describe a convincing consortium with the following requirements for Finnish participation
    • When a research organisation prepares the proposal, at least one Finnish company must be included in the consortium
    • When a large company prepares the proposal, at least one Finnish SME or research organization must be included in the consortium
    • When an SME prepares the proposal, at least one other Finnish participant must be included in the consortium
    • At least 20% of the total budget of the Finnish partners in the consortium must go to Finnish companies
  • Tekes funds 50 % of eligible costs for companies and 60 % of eligible costs for research organizations
  • Applications for project preparation funding are sent through the normal Tekes process. Research organisations select the option "Public research networked with companies" and companies select" Research and development of a product, service, competence and/or method". In case of parallel project, the name of the Horizon project needs to be given as a reference.
  • All Finnish participants in the consortium need not apply for H2020 project preparation funding, but they need to be mentioned in the application together with respective contact persons and estimated budgets
  • The name of the Tekes application for H2020 project preparation funding should be "H2020 – [name of the EU project]". This expedites the application process.
  • Applications for project preparation funding are accepted continuously; however, they must be submitted before the relevant Horizon 2020 call deadline. Costs are eligible from the date that the application has been submitted to Tekes with sufficient information up until a maximum of six (6) months after the relevant Horizon 2020 call deadline. In effect, this means that Tekes will cover related costs during the first month of Grant Agreement preparations. These costs could, for instance, stem from Consortium Agreement preparations and/or project management.
  • For two-stage Horizon 2020 calls, preparation costs for the first stage can also be eligible. However, Tekes must have received the preparation funding application prior to the first stage deadline, and the Horizon 2020 proposal must pass the first stage evaluation and proceed to the second stage. Preparation costs are eligible for a maximum of six months from the second stage deadline.
  • The report on eligible costs can be sent after the H2020 proposal has been evaluated. The H2020 proposal must receive at least 3 points in each evaluated category.
  • The Tekes report needs to include a short description of the proposed H2020 project, financial summary with eligible costs, as well as the EU evaluation summary report. An audit report is not necessary. Projects performed by research organisations do not have to have a steering group.
Innovation clusters and the EU

  • An innovation cluster can apply for Tekes funding to promote their activities in the European arena. The objective is to ensure Finnish participation and to support Finnish interest in Horizon 2020 and to establish the groundwork for later participation in H2020 projects.
  • Funding is only available for the innovation cluster for its activities. Thus, an individual organization within a cluster is not eligible for funding.
  • The proposed EU activities should ideally be included in an already existing Tekes-funded innovation cluster project (such as INKA clusters and SHOKs).
  • Tekes evaluates the project's impact on growth and competitiveness as usual.
  • The applicant must prove its capability, a convincing plan as well as the resources necessary for international activities.
  • The application must describe the cluster as well as the initial participants.
  • The cluster must be open and non-discriminatory. Members can come from countries other than Finland.
  • The cluster must prove that it has the mandate to act on behalf of its members.
  • Tekes will fund a maximum of 50% of eligible costs and funding from private sources must account for the remaining 50%.
  • Indirect employee costs are 50% of salary costs.
  • Other indirect costs are a flat rate of 20% of salaries and indirect employee costs.
  • Part of the private funding can come from the applicant's business profits.
  • Tekes will fund these types of projects with a maximum of 1 million euros in 2015.
  • Applications are sent through the normal Tekes process for companies by selecting the option "Research and development of a product, service, competence and/or method".
  • The name of the Tekes application should be "Innovation clusters and the EU" – [name of the project]". This expedites the application process.

Innovation cluster

Innovation clusters are composed of independent organizations such as innovative new companies, SMEs, large companies as well as research and dissemination organizations, non-profit organizations and others. The clusters aim to increase innovative activity by promoting intensive interactions, sharing of facilities/infrastructure and exchange of knowledge and expertise, as well as by contributing effectively to networking and dissemination of information and knowledge among the undertakings in the cluster.

More information

Esa Panula-Ontto
tel. +358 2950 55853
esa.panula-ontto (at)