Member News

High-tech SMEs in the Big Science market

29 August 2019

Big Science Business Forum (BSBF) 2020 will be held Granada, Spain on 6-9 October 2020 to inform European companies and other stakeholders about Europe’s Big Science organisations’ future investments. At this event there will be a focus on European small and medium enterprises and the organisers have decided to include an SME track which is designed to boost the visibility of high-tech SMEs in the Big Science market.

The SME track has two objectives:

1.       To make a case for how investing in the Big Science market is a means of growth for European SMEs, and can generate knowledge transferable to other market segments (Category A).

2.       To give SMEs with proprietary technology and/or capabilities which are deemed applicable for the Big Science market the opportunity to liaise with technical responsible from Big Science organisations to explore collaborations and business opportunities (Category B).

Companies selected for the SME track will be entitled to a variety of benefits including:

•         Enjoy free exhibition space in the SME poster area.
•         Free registration to the congress for one delegate.
•         A special SME poster session during Day 0, during the cocktail session. Large Scientific Facilities participating on BSBF2020 will ensure that their technical staff are available at the poster session to engage in technical and business discussions with the SME representatives. This session is ideally suited for Category B SMEs.
•        Participation in parallel session: SMEs: SME involvement and key aspects for procurement. A given number of Category A SMEs to take part in this panel explaining their experiences and recommendations to engage in business with Big Science organisations.
•         Participation in Day 2 Plenary session III: Closing of BSBF2020 upon invitation by the International Organising Committee.
•         Presence in BSBF2020 conference webpage, conference programme book and other media-related conference material.
•         To be defined, brochure to be included in the conference bag.

Important information on the selection process and how to apply

The European Industrial Liaison Officers (ILOs) are able to nominate 4 SMEs per country. The European ILO Network (PERIIA) will review the submissions and will select 20 SMEs, with at least 40% from Category B.  The final selection will be confirmed by the BSBF 2020 International Organising Committee (IOC) and will ensure an adequate balance between countries, technologies and SME size. Selected SMEs will be contacted by the BSBF2020 IOC in February 2020.

Selection will be based on the following criteria:

1.   Category B SMEs:

a)         Contracts for Big Science organisations and national research facilities
b)         Big Science public or private-funded R&D projects (national funding, Eureka, H2020, etc.)
c)         Track record of the SME: annual turnover, employment, etc.
d)         Quality certifications

2.         Category B SMEs:

a)         Business development strategy for the Big Science market (number of submitted tenders, presence in past Big Science industrial events, etc.)
b)         Proprietary technologies and/or capabilities which are currently commercialised in other markets and are deemed promising for the Big Science market.
c)         Public or private-funded R&D projects which are potentially transferable to the Big Science market (national funding, Eureka, H2020, etc.)
d)         Track record of the SME: annual turnover, employment, etc.
e)         Quality certifications

If you would like to be considered by the UK ILOs for the SME track please send your completed SME track form to by the 11th September 2019. Any forms submitted after this date will not be considered.
Please send the form in Microsoft Word and please save the file with the name of your company.

UKAEA will review all submissions with STFC and select companies to nominate using the above criteria and the SME definition listed in annex 2 on the application form. Should it prove difficult for us to differentiate between companies using the above criteria alone, then we will prioritise companies whose supplies to the Big Science market have a higher % UK country of origin and/or higher % of staff based in the UK.

Please note that this is a very limited opportunity as all European ILOs are able to put forward SMEs, and therefore even if your company is put forward by UKAEA, this does not guarantee your inclusion in the SME Track as there is a further selection phase after this. If the ILOs from each country put forward 4 SMEs then the chances of selection in the second stage are 20%. However, please do not let this put you off applying if you believe your company fits strongly into either Category A or B.

Full details of the selection process and the objectives of the SME Track can be found HERE in the attached Expression of Interest document.

Please note registration for the event will open on 2 December, 2019. The web page for the event is currently under development, and will replace the current landing page,