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Eurostars, SME instrument, and MIT: one size does not fit all

May 31 2018

The three funding programmes Eurostars, SME instrument, and MIT all have a common goal: supporting companies in bringing their innovations to the market. Yet, as these subsidies also have important differences and are becoming increasingly competitive, we sorted this out for you and show ways in which ttopstart can support you in increasing your chances on success.


Eurostars is a programme with the ultimate goal to positively impact people around world, having a total budget of €1.2 billion for the period 2014-2010. The subsidy is specifically meant for R&D performing SMEs in participating EUREKA countries that are seeking for collaborative projects (TRL 3-6). With an overall success rate of 30%, Eurostars has proven to be an extremely attractive funding option. So, are you an SME with high growth potential, underpinned by a ground-breaking, disruptive technology that can be rapidly commercialised, Eurostars might be the subsidy for you! With a success rate of >70% for Eurostars proposals, ttopstart has developed unique methodologies and best practices to assist you in securing funding. 

SME instrument

Similar to Eurostars, SME instrument programme is a subsidy provided by the European Commission, supporting projects with both high growth and internationalisation potential (TRL > 6). Yet differently, SME instrument typically focuses on individual companies searching for funding to develop their technology towards commercialisation. Also, the programme offers full cycle support for all types of innovation performed by any type of innovative SMEs based in the EU or Horizon 2020 associated countries. The SME Phase 1 and Phase 2 instruments both promote innovation activities, but, as their names suggest, are intended to support different phases of innovation development. ttopstart has already supported multiple SME Instrument applications, with the recent successful case of Tired of Cancer.


MIT is a low threshold national programme and, similar to Eurostars, promotes collaborations. The programme offers different subsidies to provide SMEs with the best fit at the right stage, i.e. “knowledge vouchers”, “feasibility projects” (TRL 3-4), and “R&D collaboration projects” (TRL 4-6). By covering 35-50% of the costs on research or innovation advice, MIT strives to support innovation in Dutch regions and Topsectors.

Request assistance

Many SMEs feel that applying for national and European grants is complex and time-consuming and feel that assistance by a specialised consultancy firm is of great value. At ttopstart, we are highly ambitious about making a true impact in the field of life sciences and health. With our co-creation mindset and by providing full cycle support ttopstart can assist you in the entire process and facilitate the successful market introduction of breakthrough technologies. Get into contact with us to find out more.

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