SMEs told to prepare for multi-billion euro Horizon 2020 fund

Posted on 10 Oct 2013 by Tim Brown

British small and medium sized businesses are being urged to get ready for a multi-billion-euro fund, details of which are set to be announced later this year.

The fund, which is part of the European Union’s Horizon 2020 package of support services for research and innovation, has been set aside for SMEs looking to undertake new product development programmes.

Approximately 4.8 million businesses across the UK will be applicable for the fund. However, according to new product development contractor Pera Technology, which is behind the call for action, there is over 1 million SME manufacturers who are likely to be the most successful at securing funding.

Speaking about the significance of Horizon 2020 Paul Tranter, Chief Executive at Pera Technology, said: “If we are going to have an effective economic recovery in this country and across Europe the SME manufacturing sector is key. It is particularly important for an economy like the UK’s where SMEs have been pinpointed as an engine for growth.

“This fund presents an enormous opportunity for SME manufacturers across the UK. 1,659 UK business and counting have successfully applied for the £1.2 billion that was previously available under Framework Programme 7, which runs until the end of this year and our intelligence suggests that the funding pot will be even bigger this time.

“For SME manufacturers the time to act is now. Whether they have ideas sitting on the shelf gathering dust, or they are already undergoing feasibility testing – with new product development programmes lasting anywhere from two years up to 15 years in sectors such as aerospace and medical – the chance to secure up to 100 per cent funding for research and development cannot be missed.”

To coincide with the newly increased European funding, Pera Technology has launched its leap® package of business support services. It covers all aspects of new product development from idea conception, feasibility evaluation and securing funding, right through to an in-depth research and development programme and commercialisation.

Paul continues: “One of the big changes this year is that the funding criteria and stages are a lot closer to the market. It’s likely that research programmes that don’t demonstrate clear commercial potential will prove unsuccessful. With Pera Technology’s proven track record of delivering commercially viable new product development programmes we’re the perfect partner for SMEs trying to access this fund.”

The final details of Horizon 2020 are expected to be announced in early December with the fund going live in January 2014.

To find out more about Horizon 2020 and the funding that will be made available to SMEs visit

Consortium finds success with Pera Technology

A project team, headed by leading new product development contractor Pera Technology, has successfully developed a commercially viable replacement to potentially toxic thiourea-based accelerators which are currently used in the curing process of polychloroprene rubber.

Despite providing a high performance cure system, carcinogenic and mutagenic ethylene thiourea (ETU) is inherently toxic and a statutory ban on its use is expected in the near future. With no existing replacement, the SafeRubber project was launched in June 2010 to develop an alternative for use in the manufacture of polychloroprene (CR) and epichlorohydrin (ECO) rubbers which are used to create products such as wet suits, fire door seals, anti- vibration mounting, and corrosion resistant coatings.

With Pera Technology’s assistance in securing €2 million of funding from the EU FP7 programme and providing access to an extensive network of industry experts, the SafeRubber team could concentrate on examining the chemical mechanisms within polychloroprene during the vulcanisation process. After designing 12 molecules, two suitable accelerator modules were identified as having curing characteristics similar to ETU. One of these, designated as SRM102, is now being scaled up for use in existing industrial processes.

David Cartlidge, Project Manager at Pera Technology, said: “The consortium has been incredibly successful – we’re confident that the European community will see the technological advantage of this new molecule, and ultimately the economic benefit, whilst the significance of improved worker safety can’t be underestimated.