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Research and innovation

Information for funding bodies

Who can fund projects, tips on how to deal with Seal of Excellence proposals, information on the community of practice to help support Seal of Excellence proposals

Who can fund Seal of Excellence projects?

The Seal of Excellence offers a unique opportunity for funding bodies other than the European Commission to benefit from the high-quality Horizon Europe evaluation process..

Any public authority or private organisation with funding power, interested in investing in promising companies, researchers or institutions with innovative project proposals can fund Seal of Excellence projects.

If the beneficiary company has given prior consent to the EIC and SMEs Executive Agency (EISMEA) to do so, its basic contact information can be communicated to any trustworthy alternative funding source.

The community of practice

Funding bodies interested in supporting Seal of Excellence projects can join the community of practice. This is a platform created by the Commission for the exchange of good practices between funders. 

Currently, the community of practice has over 250 members both at the regional and national level. The intranet platform managed by the European Commission helps the exchange of good practices between funders in the search of the required information, as well as the documents needed for effective participation.

Access is limited to national or regional authorities able to provide funding for research and innovation projects, or any other funding agency for innovative SMEs.

As a member of the the community of practice, you will have access to:

  • meetings to discuss current practices and future developments
  • library including all relevant documents
  • aggregated figures and information on the content of Seal of Excellence awarded proposals in your own country/region
  • exchange of experiences with other funding bodies
  • promotion of your SOE-friendly measures through the Commission website and targeted emails to relevant group of SOE holders

Tips for funders

Seal of Excellence projects are great projects that passed a highly competitive and transparent selection process, performed by a jury of international and independent experts, and were found to deserve funding but could not receive it due to budgetary constraints. 

You can shorten your selection process when considering Seal of Excellence projects. There is no need to re-evaluate the content, just limit the checks to the minimum required by your rules.

Consider offering different types of support (e.g. grants, loans, guarantees, coaching) and possibly combining a few.

Seal of Excellence proposals may expect grants and the same aid intensity as Horizon 2020 and Horizon Europe, but they could also be happy with other degrees of support.

When you receive the Seal of Excellence, check the authenticity and integrity of the electronic certificate. You should also ask for the digitally protected submitted proposal and the evaluation summary report.

National and regional funders

It is up to regional and national funders to decide whether or not to establish a funding scheme to support Seal of Excellence recipients using institutional, regional, national or EU funding such as the European Structural and Investment Funds.

Funders in several EU countries have already introduced schemes to support Seal of Excellence recipients.
Seal of Excellence opportunities - MSCA

Potential funders can adapt the MSCA rates and conditions as they see fit.