New funding programme will develop breakthrough innovations in Europe

The European Commission has launched the European Innovation Council (EIC) with a budget of over €10bn for 2021-2027 to develop and expand breakthrough innovations in Europe.

Building on the Horizon 2020 programme, the new EIC combines research on emerging technologies with an accelerator programme and a dedicated equity fund, the European Innovation Council Fund, to scale up breakthrough innovations in Europe led by start-ups and small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs).

Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice-President for ‘A Europe Fit for the Digital Age‘, said: “We now have a fund to support small and medium-sized companies that do breakthrough innovation, access equity and scale up innovative start-ups. This is a way to convert research results into business and to develop visions for technological and innovation breakthroughs.”

Furthermore, the first annual work programme of the EIC is published, opening funding opportunities worth over €1.5 billion in 2021. At the same time, two prizes for Women Innovators and the European Capital of Innovation are opened for applications.

Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, said: “The European Innovation Council is Europe’s most ambitious initiative to support the breakthroughs Europe needs to recover from the economic crisis and accelerate the transition to a green and digital economy. By investing in visionary research and innovative companies, it will reinforce European technological sovereignty, scale up hundreds of Europe’s most promising start-ups, and pave the way for the upcoming European Innovation Area.”

The European Innovation Council capitalises on achievements from its pilot phase during the period 2018-2021. It supported over 5,000 SMEs and start-ups, as well as over 330 research projects with a budget of €3.5bn.

An applicants’ day will take place today (19 March 2021) to provide information on how the European Innovation Council works, how to apply, and who is eligible. Sessions will include information on funding opportunities for research teams, start-ups, SMEs, and investors.

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