Research and Development - EU subsidies

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R&D (Research and Development)

Research and development projects, referred to as R&D (Research and Development), can be part-funded for EU grant programmes. This is intended to lead to economic growth in the countries covered by the programmes by stimulating the development of innovative solutions in Europe. It is an opportunity for any originator whose project is characterised by creativity and innovation and has the potential to create new technologies for the market.

What is Research and Development?

According to the Frascati Manual¹: "Research and development activities include creative work undertaken in a methodical way to increase the stock of knowledge - including knowledge of humankind, culture, and society - and to create new applications for existing knowledge".

Research and Development is a creative activity aimed at expanding the stock of knowledge and using this knowledge to create innovations. It requires an interdisciplinary approach, combining knowledge from different fields of science and technology. The diversity of R&D projects is enormous - from basic research to experimental prototyping to the development of advanced technologies and application solutions.

The definition and scope of Research and Development (R&D) activities encompass a broad spectrum of activities that share a common goal: to extend the frontiers of knowledge and to use this knowledge to create new, innovative solutions.

For an activity to be considered R&D, it must meet five basic criteria, it must:

  • innovative,
  • creative,
  • unpredictable, 
  • methodical,
  • transferable or reproducible.


Within the framework of EU-funded R&D projects, we can distinguish two main categories of activities:

Industrial research: refers to planned research or critical investigation aimed at the acquisition of new knowledge and skills for the development of new products, processes, or services, or for the significant improvement of existing products, processes, or services. It involves the creation of components of complex systems and may include the construction of prototypes in a laboratory environment or an interface environment simulating existing systems, as well as pilot lines where these are necessary for industrial research and, in particular, to obtain proof of concept for generic technologies.

Experimental development: means acquiring, combining, shaping, and using existing scientific, technological, business, and other relevant knowledge and skills to develop new or improved products, processes, or services. 
It may also include, for example, activities to conceptually define, plan, and document new products, processes, and services. 

Experimental development may include the development of prototypes, demonstrations, development of pilot projects, testing and validation of new or improved products, processes, or services in an environment that provides a model of the actual operating conditions, the main aim of which is the further technical development of products, processes or services, the final shape of which has not yet been determined in principle. They may include the development of commercially usable prototypes and pilot projects where the prototype or pilot project is necessarily the final product for commercial use and where it is too expensive to produce for it to be used only for demonstration and validation. Experimental development does not include routine and periodic changes made to existing products, production lines, manufacturing processes, services, and other operations in progress, even if such changes are improvements.

Activities considered research and development may concern many sectors of the economy, e.g.:

  • energy,
  • environmental protection,
  • computer technology,
  • automation and robotics,
  • medicine,
  • agriculture and forestry,
  • transport,
  • construction.

The beneficiaries of the programs operate in various sectors, and their projects can be used to create previously unseen solutions as well as improve existing services or projects. The R&D subsidy covers the financing of part or the entire process of introducing innovations, starting from the costs of research, purchase/rental of specialized equipment needed for this purpose, and the staff employed for this purpose, through the process and costs of implementing the project on the market, and ultimately to promotion. and spreading the solution.

R&D projects can cover a number of stages, including research, experimental implementation, prototype testing, development work, and technology transfer, which is why they constitute an important source of financing for entrepreneurs, scientists, and other professionals who want to develop their research projects and pursue ambitious innovation goals.

How to obtain an EU grant for an R&D project?

However, obtaining an EU grant is a complicated process. In order to do so, it is necessary to familiarise yourself with the available financial programmes and to follow the funding competitions regularly announced on the websites of European institutions.

In addition, it is necessary to submit a comprehensive application. This is subjected to an in-depth evaluation in many respects. Among other things, the market potential of the project is checked, as well as its merits and its compliance with the objectives of the selected financial programme.

In addition, in order for an application to be successful, the project must meet a number of requirements, including the following:

  • the competence and experience of the team involved,
  • the technical resources of the applicant,
  • inclusion of development work related to the project.

Only projects that receive a positive evaluation can count on receiving financial support.


Check out the example of R&D projects


What does the process of obtaining funding and implementing EU projects look like in a nutshell?


Selection of suitable programmes for projects

Verification of which European fund programmes will be best for obtaining funding


Preparation and submission of an EU application

Preparation of all documents in the application and ongoing contact with the institutions managing EU funds


Signing of the EU grant contract

Evaluation of the contract, and start of disbursement of funds


Accounting and project management

Accounting for European funding received


Contact us for more information and an up-to-date schedule of projects available for your company/organisation.


¹Frascati Manual 2015: Guidelines for Collecting and Reporting Data on Research and Experimental Development, The Measurement of Scientific, Technological and Innovation Activities, OECD Publishing, Paris.