Improving access to talent by small businesses

Accessing talent remains a key barrier to SMEs, particularly when located in peripheral areas or led by disadvantaged groups. Instruments to address those challenges include: 

(1) Grants to recruit researchers

To support SMEs in finding and recruiting highly skilled human capital able to manage and implement in-house innovation processes, the H2020 SME Innovation Associate programme, implemented in EU member states and other Horizon 2020 associated countries, provides grants to SMEs to cover the costs of employing a foreign post-doctoral researcher for up to one year (including salary and travel expenses). This is accompanied by a training package to maximise the benefits of the programme for both SMEs and researchers, while assuring smooth integration of the researcher into the business environment.

(2) Access to specialised online job portals

The H2020 SME Innovation Associate programme also offers all SME applicants the opportunity to benefit from publicising their job vacancies in the EURAXESS portal – the European Commission’s researcher mobility portal. This increases the visibility of their job vacancies and increases the chances of finding good matches for the advertised positions.  

H2020 SME Innovation Associate – European Union

2016-2018 (Pilot phase)

Objective: Support SMEs in recruiting highly skilled researchers from other countries in order to turn their innovative idea into a viable project.

Target: SMEs and start-ups with innovative ideas.

Instrument: Grant to cover costs of employing a researcher for up to one year (including salary, travel expenses and others); training package to maximise research outcomes and impact for both the SME and the researcher.