New instruments for supporting R&D companies

Since 1 January, VLAIO has launched its new range of instruments for supporting R&D at companies. From now on we no longer speak of R&D projects, SME projects or Sprint projects, but of “Research projects” on the one hand and of “Development projects” on the other. The Development Project will be the low-threshold instrument with the aim of making a larger group of companies innovate stronger. In this project type an innovation-driven business case is brought to the market in the short term. The Research Project aims to stimulate R&D activities that have a strong research component and that fit in with a long-term strategy. Knowledge building is central to this type of project. The changes concern the subsidy percentages, the deadlines and budgets, the application documents, the evaluation criteria and the guidance and evaluation process. More details can be found via

At the request of essenscia and a number of other sectors, it was also investigated how an extension to the supportable innovation activities can be realised. This concerns the later phases of the development phase, such as demonstrators, pilots and upscaling. Two possibilities are offered to include this type of activity in a subsidized project:

1 / Inclusion of this later phase in a Development Project up to a maximum of 20% of the total cost of the entire project (possibly including previous projects) and up to a maximum of 500,000 euros This is possible since 1 January in all individual business projects submitted in the regular VLAIO channel, and also in Cooperative Development projects with at least 3 companies that are being set up as a Catalisti project.

2 / In the period May-June a test call will be launched specifically for pilot and demo projects at companies (individual or cooperative). This call will therefore be specifically aimed at these later phases of the process. Probably there will also be a limit in maximum support per project, but the limit of 20% compared to the previous route will therefore not apply here. This call will be open to all sectors, will have a limited budget (not yet clear how much) and will therefore be competitive.

As Catalisti, we can support you in the development of projects, both for 1 / and 2 /. Since our sector has been asking for several years for a specific support instrument for pilot and demo projects, it is important that sufficient cases from our sector are submitted in the test call. Based on this, essenscia in her advocacy activities can continue to press the government on the need for such an instrument. If you have any further questions about these activities, you can contact colleague Tine Schaerlaekens (

If you have project ideas that could fit into this opportunity, Catalisti can support you to develop them further.