Value-added innovation in food chains

Implementation period


Scope of work

Adaptive management and governance


This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation programme under Grant Agreement No. 777795.

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The innovation of added value to the food chains (VIDA) will promote and take advantage of the growth and innovation potential of the SME that works in the European food chains, reuniting four complementary and mutually dependent sectors; food, energy, water and key enabling technologies (KET), and creating the VIDA nexus. VIDA will strengthen existing and develop new cross-sectoral industrial value chains within the food production and processing industries through a combination of direct and indirect innovation actions and support and capacity-building measures. These will include virtual collaboration and open innovation tools, mentoring and knowledge exchange activities and an innovation voucher programme that will support the realisation of large-scale, high-TRL demonstration and commercialisation projects across Europe. VIDA has a total budget of €4,999,920, of which €4,275,510 will directly benefit SMEs (> 86% of the total budget). Three million two hundred seventy-five thousand of the budget is dedicated to providing specialised innovation vouchers and catalysing large-scale demonstrations of innovation projects in marketing, with more than 100 beneficiaries.


Objective 1: To identify innovation capacity and needs among SMEs, innovation actors and experts in the food value chain and to use this knowledge to create a dynamic and innovative conceptual model of current, future, and emerging thematic priorities to be addressed in VIDA.

Objective 2: Adapt and maintain virtual and physical open innovation spaces for SMEs and innovation actors to address emerging challenges within the VIDA Nexus.

Objective 3: Improve SMEs’ innovation potential, coordination and cooperation, and create learning opportunities by providing open innovation tools and training.

Objective 4: VIDA will foster the development of collaborative innovation demonstration projects; and projects that drive its innovation strategy.

Objective 5: Evaluate and validate the new industrial value chains created within Nexo VIDA as a result of the project and develop recommendations to overcome potential barriers in creating new industrial value chains.

Objective 6: To publicise the activities and results of our project. Define a sustainable long-term strategy for the continuation of the consortium’s actions after the project leading to the long-term exploitation of VIDA results.


In total, the VIDA project has financed innovation projects for SMEs in 2 years for an amount of 3,264,356 euros: 466,894.25 euros for projects to boost the innovation strategy of SMEs and 2,797,462.09 euros for demonstration projects.

The cascade funding supports innovative SMEs through direct funding (cheques) and indirect funding (consultancy and networking) to strengthen and grow, increasing their competitiveness and encouraging collaboration in and between different sectors, contributing to green recovery.

From the VIDA project, and following the implementation of the project, we recommend:

  1. Strengthen cascade financing schemes, companies, and in particular, SMEs, are very interested in these financing systems…
  2. Finance projects that are developed in the short term (maximum 12 months) are more accessible to SMEs and have a rapid impact on their results.
  3. Simplify aid application and justification processes that are SME-friendly.
  4. Facilitate industrial symbiosis between companies to reduce and reuse waste.
  5. Promote collaboration and synergy between industry and research by funding collaborative projects between companies, research centres, and universities.

These examples show how small financial aid, of up to 60,000 euros, to small and medium-sized enterprises, can generate significant impacts by contributing to the green transition, generating new value chains and promoting the use of new technologies that help to overcome the barriers to innovation.