How should the EU fund and nurture breakthrough innovation?

On 26 January, the independent High-Level Group of Innovators who advises the EC published a report including recommendations on how the European Innovation Council (EIC) should contribute to accelerating breakthrough innovation.

In the report, the High-Level Group identifies four factors that hold back breakthrough and deep tech innovation in Europe:

  1. Funding – Venture capital is too small, fragmented, short term, concentrated on digital, not enough oriented towards deep-tech and lacking critical mass for patient capita;
  2. Awareness – Europe needs a flagship initiative on breakthrough innovation that can attract the best innovators and connect local and sectorial ecosystems;
  3. Scale – Europe needs continental scale to compete at global level. It cannot compete with the US or China on the basis of national and local initiatives. European start-ups should not be forced to relocate to the US to access larger financing rounds;
  4. Talent – Europe needs role models and champions. Its funding needs to empower people, create a culture of risk-taking and stimulate entrepreneurship rather than encouraging risk avoidance and paper shuffling.

Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation Carlos Moedas welcomed the recommendations and said they formed a significant input for the development of a full-fledged European Innovation Council as part of the next EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation. 


The High-Level Group of Innovators was launched in January 2017 to support the European Commission in developing the EIC. As part of this process, the Commission has launched an EIC pilot programme (2018-2020) to test out new approaches within the current Horizon 2020 programme to support top-class investors, start-ups, SMEs and researchers with breakthrough ideas with scale up potential.

In 2018, the Commission will present proposals for the next EU research and innovation framework programme beginning in 2021. This would include a proposal for a fully-fledged EIC including its mandate, organisational form, governance, and budget.

The full set of recommendations from the High-Level Group of Innovators on establishing a EIC is available here.

Date: 07/02/2018 | Tag: | News: 728 of 1581
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