Phase 1Results

SME Instrument Phase 1 May 2018 Results: More Submissions, Less Funding and Spain (again)

The results are in for the May 2018 SME Instrument Phase 1 (Horizon 2020) call and as always, they provide food for thought. Let’s take advantage of the generous unofficial holiday break (the next Phase 1 application deadline is in September) to analyze the stats, ponder the trends and improve our proposals. So how did this last call work out?


Total number of proposals submitted: 2.149

Almost 150 more submissions than in the last Phase 1 call, but the total number is within reason. No shock there.


Total number of funded proposals: 239

A slightly disappointing number for those who expect the EC to spend more on each call. Funded projects actually dropped by 14 in this call compared to the February cut-off, in which 253 Phase 1 projects were funded.

Total budget for the call: €11.95 million

Fewer funded projects = less spending. This time the budget was about €700k lower than the February call and €300k less than the foreseen budget of €12.249.300. The reason for this remains a mystery to the common mortal.

Success rate: 11%

More submissions and lower budget inevitably translate to a lower success rate. For what it’s worth, 11% is high in comparison to the first years of the SME Instrument and current stats for Phase 2, which are around 5%.


Number of above-threshold proposals: 511

The competition is still stiff, as 36 more applications were shortlisted for funding compared to last February. The total number of projects above threshold score more than doubled the number of funded projects. If the EC were to invest in all eligible projects, it would cost over €25 million.


Most popular sectors: ICT again

The biggest number of  projects selected for funding are in the field of information and communication technology (ICT), health and engineering, matching the same trend seen in Phase 2.


Most funded country: Spain

Once again Spain came in first with 48 funded proposals, followed at a considerable distance by Italy (21), France (18), Israel (17), Germany (16) and Switzerland (14). Poland ended up with a modest total of 3 funded projects.

So, what can be concluded from these stats? We see them as a wake-up call of sorts, namely that no matter how strong you are in your home country, to win SME Instrument funding you need to try harder and be better than the rest. But before you move your business to Spain and start claiming that you are ‘definitely ICT sector’ we ask you to sit down, take a deep breath and prepare to work some more on your proposal and project. What else are you going to do with your summer anyway?

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