Collaborative innovation project (definition):
A collaborative innovation project, or partnered innovation project, is an innovation project involving several parties. The latter are called “partners” and form a “consortium”. These different types of organisations work together over a defined period of time to achieve specific common objectives, such as pooling R&D expenditure or sharing development-related risks.
One of the strengths of collaborative innovation projects is that they provide access to partial or, in exceptional cases, total financial support. This aid can range from a few thousand to several million euros.
Funding organisations, or “funding windows”, such as Horizon 2020, InnoEnergy (formerly known as KIC InnoEnergy), Eurostars, FUI, ADEME, etc. operate at European and national levels. They regularly set up funding programmes. This financial aid, in the form of subsidies and/or repayable advances, supports innovation projects according to the nature of their activities, such as: R&D, industrial investments, demonstration projects in industrial settings, etc.
In addition to financial aid, collaborative projects are above all genuine levers to help you accelerate development and open up new opportunities for collaboration and business. Thanks to these collaborative innovation projects, your company will get to forge strong commercial ties with its partners. These collaborations may extend beyond the life of the project, providing security for your business with trusted partners or through end-users who have participated in the project.
Each partner contributes according to their particular skills and resources. The objective of collaborative projects is to provide each partner with skills and tools that are lacking internally, thus creating real synergies. Smaller structures, such as start-ups, can benefit from the expertise of large groups that would have been unavailable without participation in a collaborative research and development project and thus more quickly achieve exploitable results than if they were alone.
The advantages of collaborative innovation projects
- Collaborative projects make it easier to develop innovative projects thanks to the joint expertise of companies working together.
- Gaining access to skills and tools that you do not have in-house.
- Acquiring funding for your project more easily and quickly by applying to European and national collaborative programmes and responding to calls for projects.
- Pooling your research and development expenses.
- Sharing the risks associated with your growth.
- Launching the marketing phase (collaboration with beta-testers and future customers, commercial agreements with partners, etc.)
Companies concerned by collaborative innovation projects
These projects and funding opportunities are intended for all types of structures, whether private or public. However, please note that each call for projects has its own specific features in terms of partners it is seeking.
For example, some calls for projects do not finance large groups while others are exclusively reserved for SMEs (the SME Instrument of the H2020 financing programme for example). It is thus important to carefully analyse the various calls for projects in order to ensure that your project is eligible before starting to prepare your application.
Example of a collaborative innovation project
One of the prime examples of the support we offer is the PRESTIGE project.
PRESTIGE is a European project supported by the CEA, French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission, as part of the H2020 scheme, one of the most important European investment programmes. Carried out in collaboration with Dynergie, this project focuses on the development of new advanced printed materials for consumer goods in order to meet the contemporary challenges of urban life. Approved for €6M funding with sixteen partners, each with a key technology, spread across eight countries: Finland, Germany, Austria, Sweden, Spain, Greece, United Kingdom and France. Sixteen complementary stakeholders have been working together for 18 months now using a design-based methodology with an international vision. To learn more, visit the website devoted to the project.
Collaborative innovation projects are open and accessible to all if the participants are well prepared. These are, above all, real levers for accelerating development and opening up new opportunities for collaboration and business.
Would you like to learn more about collaborative projects? Check out our white paper for examples and key things to be aware of before you get started.