Commission opens first European Innovation Council calls worth 1 billion euros

Submitted by Imogen Allan on 22 April 2021

Following the launch of the European Innovation Council (EIC) and the announcement of the first funding opportunities, the European Commission has opened the first EIC Accelerator calls.

The funding, worth over €1 billion, aims to help scale up start-ups and small- and medium-sized businesses that have the potential to achieve high impact. While over half of the funding is open to breakthrough innovations in any field, €495 million is for innovations that support the European Green Deal, as well as digital and health technologies.

Attracting innovation

The EIC Accelerator focuses on scientific discoveries or technological breakthroughs which need significant funding over a longer timeframe before returns can be generated. Such innovations often struggle to attract financing because the risks and time involved are generally too high. This funding enables innovators to attract the full investment amounts needed to scale up in a shorter timeframe.

Funding and support

The EIC Accelerator acts as a catalyst to crowd-in other investors necessary for amplifying the scale of the innovations. A unique financing model offers start-ups and SMEs grants of up to €2.5 million combined with equity investments through the EIC Fund, ranging from €500,000 to €15 million. In addition to financial support, all projects benefit from a range of Business Acceleration Services that provide access to leading expertise, corporates, investors, and ecosystem actors.  

The Commission has also opened the EIC Pathfinder programme with a budget of €168 million. Interdisciplinary teams of researchers can apply to this programme for research and innovation grants that will support them to realise their breakthrough ideas and have a transformative positive effect on our economy and society. The grants that vary from €3 to €4 million will focus on game-changing technologies that will address global challenges.

Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, said: 

“The EIC Accelerator is a unique funding instrument of the EU. It supports the development of breakthrough innovations through crowding-in private investors and offering support services to scale up. It will lead Europe at the forefront of innovation and new technologies, and help us tackle the health, environmental, and societal challenges we are facing.”

More information on the first EIC Accelerator and Pathfinder calls is available on the EIC website.

Potential applicants can also contact the %20support [at] (European Innovation Council and SMEs Executive Agency)

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