In 2017, the Juncker Commission launched the European Innovation Council (EIC), to turn Europe's scientific discoveries into businesses that can expand faster.
Fully operational from 2021, the Innovation Council is currently in its pilot phase, during which open competitions and face-to-face interviews are being conducted to identify and fund Europe's most innovative start-ups and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Since 2017, 1276 innovative projects have received an overall funding of over €730 million.
On 18 March, the European Commission announced that 68 additional start-ups and SMEs were selected to receive funds and delineated important steps to boost the remaining two years of pilot phase:
Calls for the EIC Enhanced Pilot for 2019-2020:
The EIC Pathfinder pilot has a total budget of around €660 million for 2019-2020. It comprises The FET-Open and FET-Proactive and offers grants of up to €4 million to promote collaborative, inter-disciplinary research and innovation on science-inspired and radically new future technologies. These grants are for consortia of at least 3 entities from 3 different Members States and associated countries.
The EIC Pathfinder Pilot ‘open bottom-up call’ is open from the 18 March with no specified deadline.
The ‘targeted calls’ are also open and the deadline to respect is 3 September 2019. The scheme features ‘targeted calls’ based on topics or challenges identified in the Work Programme along with open bottom-up call for proposals. These topica include:
The EIC runs under the research programme Horizon Europe and aims at supporting innovators, entrepreneurs, small companies and scientists with bright ideas and the ambition to expand on an international level, for instance pharmaceutical companies developing innovative treatments. It brings together the parts of Horizon 2020 that provide funding, advice and networking opportunities.
Given that global competition is intensifying, and Europe needs to deepen its innovation capability, and based on the early success of the European Innovation Council pilot, the Commission has proposed to dedicate €10 billion to the European Innovation Council under Horizon Europe.