I am from an EU country and hold a PhD degree in structural mechanics. I have two questions:

  1. Is it possible to start a company dedicated to R&D only and apply for research grants for my own projects and ideas? I would be the one hiring research staff and I would be supervising their work.

  2. Does anyone know any funding organization, body or foundation that is able to fund privately-held companies?

  • 2
    In the US, this is quite possible via SBIR and related programs. I don't know if EU countries have an equivalent, however.
    – jakebeal
    Sep 6, 2020 at 13:45
  • 1
    Sorry, but this isn't about academia, so off-topic.
    – Buffy
    Sep 6, 2020 at 13:56
  • Hi! Thank you for your reply. The outcomes of my research would all be industrial products. Of course, publications can be part of the projects, but they are not a priority. My field is Structural Mechanics (branch of Mechanical Engineering)
    – Hugo Silva
    Sep 6, 2020 at 15:36
  • 4
    @Buffy Grant-funded R&D work at a company certainly falls within the greater scope of this site: "... anyone in or interested in research-related or research-adjacent fields."
    – jakebeal
    Sep 6, 2020 at 19:59
  • 4
    @Buffy I'd say that if you're talking about the research, grant-writing, and publications aspects, absolutely --- there's a massive commonality between industry and university activities there. If you're talking about the manufacture, distribution, and marketing aspects, then no. But academia involves much besides universities, and this site has long recognized that fact (see, for example: academia.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/60/…)
    – jakebeal
    Sep 7, 2020 at 0:27

1 Answer 1


A significant part of the EU's research framework program (current Horizon 2020) funding is for industrial and technology research, so companies (or consortia which also contain companies) are eligible for funding. However, the idea here would be to ultimately aim for developing a product - thus, a pure R&D company like what you mention might not be the right target. (Of course, you can always aim for having a company whose product is intellectual property.)

  • Hi! Thank you very much for your answer. Could you please send me the link to the documents of the EU research framework program that you are referring to? I would like to read it. Your reply was very helpful. thank you once again!
    – Hugo Silva
    Sep 6, 2020 at 18:28
  • 3
    Note that "am I eligible to apply for a grant" and "am I likely to be awarded a grant" are two very different questions. A newly-formed company with no track record of success seems unlikely to be competitive for funding.
    – avid
    Sep 7, 2020 at 11:56
  • @avid Sure, but this was not a question, and should not come as a suprise.
    – user151413
    Sep 7, 2020 at 12:48
  • @user151413 If your answer can't be applied, surely it doesn't meaningfully answer the question? (That said, my answer focused on practicalities and was deleted by a mod.)
    – user2768
    Sep 7, 2020 at 15:00

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