Currently in its pilot phase, the European Innovation Council (EIC) is part of the third pillar of Horizon Europe, the next research and innovation framework program for the period 2021-2027 presented by the European Commission. Horizon Europe has a budget of EUR 97.6 billion, compared with EUR 77 billion for its predecessor programme Horizon 2020, making it the most ambitious research and innovation funding programme the EU has ever had. It is designed around three pillars:
- the Open Science pillar (EUR 25.8 billion) supports researchers through fellowships and exchanges through the European Research Council and the Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions.
- The Global challenges pillar (EUR 52.7 billion) supports research relating to societal challenges, setting EU-wide missions with ambitious goals.
- The Open Innovation pillar (EUR 13.5 billion) aims to make Europe a front runner in market-creating innovation. The European Innovation Council (EIC) (EUR 10 billion) will offer a one-stop shop for high potential and breakthrough technologies and innovative companies with potential for scaling up.
At the centre of Horizon Europe is the concept of 'mission-oriented innovations' that aim to tackle the 21st century 'Grand Challenges', including social, environmental, and economic challenges through the generation of radical and disruptive innovations. In the third pillar, the European Innovation Council (EIC) is the main Horizon Europe instrument to foster disruptive and breakthrough innovations.
The European Innovation Council (EIC) supports top-class innovators, entrepreneurs, small companies, and scientists with funding, advice, and networking opportunities. The High-Level Group of Innovators, composed of 15 leading entrepreneurs and technologists headed by the Dr Hermann Hauser, Co-founder of Amadeus Capital Partners, advises the EIC on its strategies.
The European Innovation Council (EIC) offers funding (EUR 2.7 billion for the period 2018-2020) through different instruments:
- EIC Pathfinder Pilot offers grants of up to EUR 4 million to promote collaborative, inter-disciplinary research and innovation on science-inspired and radically new future technologies on Artificial Intelligence, implantable autonomous devices and materials, and breakthrough zero-emissions energy generation for full decarbonisation.
- EIC Accelerator Pilot supports high-risk, high-potential small and medium-sized innovative enterprises willing to develop and commercialise new products, services and business models that could drive economic growth and shape new markets or disrupt existing ones in Europe and worldwide.
- Fast Track to Innovation (FTI) offers funding to consortia that want to see quick market uptake of new technologies.
- EIC Horizon Prizes rewards projects that can most effectively meet a defined challenge, without prescribing how that challenge should be solved. The individual prizes range from EUR 5 to 10 million.
In addition to funding, the European Innovation Council (EIC) provides different soft instruments. It offers mentoring and business coaching from high-level CEOs and entrepreneurs. There are also Business Acceleration Services to provide networking opportunities and specific support small and medium sized-enterprises (SMEs).
Learn more online about Horizon Europe