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Research and innovation

How can seal holders use the Seal of Excellence?

Tips on how to use the Seal of Excellence, communication materials, sign up to the newsletter, who to contact and national authority details.

How to use the Seal of Excellence - tips for funding

The Seal of Excellence 

  • certifies the high-quality of your project proposal
  • can build the reputation of your project and your business
  • gives an opportunity to your project to attract other investments on local, regional, national, and international level

In addition to the Seal of Excellence Certificate, consider making all documents at your disposal (Seal of Excellence, full proposal, evaluation summary report etc.) available to the funders you approach.

Tell your funding body that the Seal of Excellence Certificate as well as the evaluation summary report and the proposal are fraud-proof as they are digitally protected.

Diversify your search for funding in terms of sources (public or private) and type (grants / financial instruments). You can also try to combine grants with financial instruments (loans, equity, etc.)

20 APRIL 2021
Seal of Excellence communication Kit

State aid notification exemption

On 23 July 2021, the European Commission adopted an extension of the scope of the General Block Exemption Regulation (GBER). With this amendment, the Commission simplified the rules for State Aid combined with EU support. Crucially, this extension introduced new possibilities to implement aid measures supporting projects having received a Seal of Excellence, as well as co-funded research and development projects or Teaming actions under Horizon 2020 or Horizon Europe.

Granted that the aid measures are in line with both the General conditions and the Specific conditions set out in Articles 25a and 25b of the GBER.

Art. 25a GBER – Aid for projects awarded a Seal of Excellence quality label

This includes aid of up to EUR 2.5 million per SME per research and development project or feasibility study awarded a Seal of Excellence. The eligible activities shall be those defined as eligible under the Horizon 2020 or Horizon Europe programme rules, including experimental development. This R&D-category is defined in Art. 2 (86) of the GBER. Activities at Technology-Readiness Level (TRL) 9 are however considered to go beyond the scope of the definition of experimental development. The categories, maximum amounts and methods of calculation of eligible costs shall be those defined as eligible under the Horizon 2020 or Horizon Europe programme rules.

Art. 25b – Aid for Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions and ERC Proof of Concept actions awarded a Seal of Excellence quality label

The exemption from the state aid notification requirement  also includes aid to Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions and ERC Proof of Concept actions awarded a Seal of Excellence.

Total public funding for a Seal of Excellence project under either Article shall not exceed the funding rate set out for that project under the Horizon 2020 or Horizon Europe programme rules.

Exempting such aid from prior notification to the Commission is a major simplification, which facilitates a quick implementation of such measures by Member States. The amendment entered into force on 1 August 2021.

More information

Commission Regulation (EU) 2021/1237 of 23 July 2021 amending Regulation (EU) No 651/2014 of 17 June 2014 declaring certain categories of aid compatible with the internal market in application of Articles 107 and 108 of the Treaty.

For more information on the state aid notification exemption, please visit: State aid: Commission widens scope of GBER (

Contacts and stay updated

To find out about funding opportunities you can use the following resources.

For more information please contact RTD-SEAL-OF-EXCELLENCEatec [dot] europa [dot] eu (RTD-SEAL-OF-EXCELLENCE[at]ec[dot]europa[dot]eu)