EU UFO programme to fund SME drone project research in Bulgaria, France, Greece, Romania and UK

The Horizon 2020 INNOSUP funded UFO project supports 65 European SMEs in the development of innovative products and services by integrating new technology solutions in Small Flying Objects (SFOs).

The European Union’s Horizon 2020 “Innovation in SMEs” (INNOSUP)programme is setting aside  EUR3 million in the form of cascade funding to support 65 European small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) participating in 25 innovation projects for feasibility and demonstration activities to develop innovative products and services. The projects, collectively linked within the “UFO programme” integrate new technological solutions and know-how in provided by the combination of Small Flying Objects (SFOs: drones, high attitude platform systems and small satellites), embedded nano and digital technologies, Key Enabling Technologies (KETs), data analysis and exploitation solutions, addressing challenges in six emerging Industries, namely, blue growth, digital creative & gaming, mobility, climate, environment and finance & insurance.

According to a press release:

“In 2021, UFO project held two open calls.  The first open call closed on 18 February and the second open call closed on 7 October 2021. More than 90 eligible project proposals were submitted in both calls, in which applicants applied for one of two types of vouchers: feasibility and demonstration activities. The applications came from the five UFO partners’ countries – Bulgaria, France, Greece, Romania and the United Kingdom. Cross-border collaborations were particularly encouraged.

“In total, out of all the eligible project proposals submitted into the first and second open call, 25 were selected: 21 demonstration projects and four feasibility studies. The successful projects will receive financial support of up to EUR60,000 for each feasibility study and up to EUR150,000 for each demonstration voucher.

“In addition to direct funding, each of the 25 awarded projects, are receiving additional individual coaching and support by the UFO Consortium in an acceleration programme. These further activities include support to access public funding from regional, national and European funding sources for their innovation projects, access private funding for their business development, support for exploitation and scale-up, wide dissemination on European level, networking and market realisation.


Present in five different countries (Bulgaria, France, Greece, Romania and the United Kingdom), UFO aims to finance up to 75 SMEs offering new products and services in the targeted emerging industries. The final showcase event will take place on 17 November 2022, in London, where all the new funded products and services developed by the SMEs will be presented.

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