INGENIOUS Innovation Grants – funding for SMEs

INGENIOUS Innovation Grants – funding for SMEs

June 21, 2023 Off By Business Start

The INGENIOUS (Building resilience and accelerating transition to green and digital economy in Energy Intensive Industries) – Euroclusters project fosters SMEs operated in energy intensive industry to develop innovative projects. The INGENIOUS Innovation Grants will support projects that are aligned with the major challenges where SMEs need to accelerate the implementation of the digital and green transformation by a) providing affordable, clean and efficient technology solutions, b) developing new business models, c) innovating their services, technology and production lines, d) open new markets.

The Innovation Grant addresses small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) in the Energy Intensive Industries and other SMEs that can be providers of solutions to the EII towards green and digital transition and resilience.

Eligible activities

• Development of a prototype

• Demonstrating technologies in a relevant or operational environment

• Testing technologies in a relevant or operational environment

• Validation of technologies

• Designing a business case

• Designing and engineering a pilot

• Process optimisation

• Product development

Eligible activities must be addressed to at least one of the following challenges:

  • Efficient and sustainable decarbonisation processes
  • Technology improvement and/or product innovation for digital transition
  • Technology improvement and/or product innovation for green transition
  • Closing loops for efficient and sustainable process Innovation
  • Ensuring safer and more efficient energy transition and supply
  • Advanced materials leading to competitive higher sustainability and digitalization
  • New-to-firm solutions and business strategies to face the challenges to overcome the EU-external dependency

Eligibility criteria

Eligible participants:

  • Applicants must declare their SME status in accordance with the SME definition of the EU.
  • At least 10% of the supported SMEs will come from EU regions different from the countries of individual Euroclusters’ partners. Specific attention will be paid to EU-13 countries in the calls and those EU regions with which the Euroclusters’ partners had no previous cooperation and shall focus on engaging actors from regions with different levels of economic development. INGENIOUS consortium will keep track of this in the eligibility of proposals-phase following the closure of the Open Call and prior to the assessment.
  •  Applicants need to be active in some of the following sectors:

       -Energy Intensive Industries: metalworking, nano, plasma technology, raw materials, chemistry, construction

       -Solution provider: ICT, energy resources, circular economy, advanced manufacturing.

  • Applicants must declare their financial stability
  • Applicants must be established in one of the eligible countries, i.e.:
  • EU Member States (including overseas countries and territories (OCTs)) and Ukraine
  • non-EU countries:
    • listed EEA countries and countries associated to the COSME part of the Single Market Programme or countries which are in ongoing negotiations for an association agreement and where the agreement enters into force before grant signature (list of participating countries)
    • Hungarian applicants should not be excluded from participating in the Open Calls but you will need to verify that such Hungarian entities receiving FSTP funds are not part of the entities listed in the link

Eligible projects:

  • the project duration 12 months;
  • The expected TRLs for funded activities under this open call have to be between TRL 6-9. The projects have to be minimum at TRL 5 at the beginning of the project activities.

Funding conditions

The applicants can apply for a grant of max. €60.000 (including one mandatory training per SME for Resilience preparedness/business continuity training worth €250) covering 100% of the eligible expenses. The total budget reserved in Ingenious for the Innovation Grants is € 1.000.000.

Maximum funding per SME:          60.000 €

Maximum funding per project:      180.000 €

Type of financial support   Lump-sum

Payments: 50% pre-funding

                 25% after 6 months with intermediate report

                 25% after 12 months with final report

The categories of eligible costs

  • Direct staff costs (personnel)
  • Subcontracting costs (external expertise)
  • Other costs (travel expenses and consumables)
  • Prototype and material costs relevant to the execution of the project are eligible as consumables

A combination of Innovation (current call),Training, Internationalization Grants(opening on 22 May 2023) is possible, but the maximum amount for one SME must not exceed €60.000.

Submission & evaluation process

The applications must be submitted using the Application Form in the INGENIOUS website. Before starting the submission process, applicants should read the Guide for Applicants available on the website.

Due to technical issues, the original version of the application form has been revised. All those who downloaded it from 15.5-17.5.2023 are asked to re-download it. We apologize for any inconvenience caused and hope for successful submissions from all applicants! INGENIOUS Team

The timeline for the submission, evaluation, and implementation is as follows:

  • Call opening: 15 May 2023 at 09:00 CEST
  • Deadline for submission: 31 July 2023 at 17:00 CEST
  • Publication of the evaluation results: December 2023
  • Projects start: January 2024
  • Projects end: December 2024

 The SMEs should form consortia consisting of a minimum of 2 and a maximum of 3 SMEs. SMEs of EU and Ukraine are eligible to participate. Potential consortium that can be comprised by 2 or 3 SMEs:

a.       1 SME as challenge owner and 1 SME as a solution provider.

b.       2 SMEs as challenge owners and 1 SME as a solution provider.

c.        1 SME as challenge owner and 2 SMEs as solution providers.

Only those proposals fulfilling all eligibility criteria and completing all mandatory fields in the application form will be considered eligible.

The evaluation process will last a maximum of 3 months and will be done in 2 main steps: pre-selection by INGENIOUS partners and external evaluation by the experts. Applications can only be handed in during this call period, no rectification period is foreseen in this Open Call. The INGENIOUS consortium will do the pre-selection of the proposals and the 12 highest ranked proposals will be forwarded to external evaluators (please see further information in the section Evaluation phase at page 13). Funding will be based on quality, rationale and feasibility of each project. The assessment period lasts up to three months starting upon closure, after which the results will be made public on the website: and applicants will be informed. The successful applicant needs to sign a formal contract with the INGENIOUS coordinator (the ‘Grant Agreement’) within 20 days. In case the signature is not accomplished by this date, the Innovation Grant will be revoked and INGENIOUS will award the following project on the waiting list. The Grant is valid for up to 12 months starting on January 1st, 2024.


•         Opening: August 1st, 2023

•         Closing: August 31st, 2023 


•         Opening: September 1st, 2023

•         Closing: October 31st, 2023 

Signature of Grant Agreement:

•         Opening: November 1st, 2023

•         Closing: December 15th, 2023

Further information

  • Applicants can find complete information about the Innovation grants in the Guide for Applicants available in the INGENIOUS website.
  • INGENIOUS contact:
  • INGENIOUS partnership is organising an Info Day on 25 May 2023 from 16.00 to 17.00 (CEST) to present the Innovation grant call and answer the questions from attendees registration link