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European Innovation Council
About the European Innovation Council

The EIC is Europe’s flagship innovation programme
to identify, develop and scale up breakthrough technologies
and game changing innovations

Who we are

The European Innovation Council (EIC) has been established under the EU Horizon Europe programme. It has a budget of €10.1 billion to support game changing innovations throughout the lifecycle from early stage research, to proof of concept, technology transfer, and the financing and scale up of start-ups and SMEs.

Find out about EIC funding opportunities

The strategy and implementation of the EIC is steered by the EIC Board, which has independent members appointed from the world of innovation (entrepreneurs, researchers, investors, corporates and others from the innovation ecosystem).

The EIC and SME Executive Agency responsible for supporting the EIC Board and its President, and for implementing the EIC’s activities which are set out in an annual EIC Work Programme.

12 DECEMBER 2023
EIC work programme 2024
EIC Work Programme 2023 - amended 11 August 2023
12 MARCH 2021
EIC work programme - 2022
EIC Board statement on the adoption of the EIC Work Programme 2022


The EIC takes a pro-active approach to managing funding under the leadership of EIC Programme Managers who develop visions for innovation and technology breakthroughs and steer portfolios of projects to achieve these goals. EIC Programme Managers have a high level of expertise in their field, and are recruited for limited time periods (up to 4 years) to design and oversee EIC funding in their portfolio areas.

A unique feature of the EIC is that it provides funding for individual companies (mainly startups and SMEs) through both grants and investments. The investments currently take the form of direct equity or quasi-equity investments and are managed by the EIC Fund.

Find out about investment opportunities with the EIC Fund


Collaboration with EIT

In January 2021, the European Commission signed a Memorandum of Understanding between the European Innovation Council (EIC) and the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) to reinforce their cooperation to support the best European entrepreneurs. This will enable innovators, innovative SMEs and start-ups, higher education institutions and research organisations to receive quality support services to deploy and scale up innovations faster and with greater impact.

Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) and the European Innovation Council (EIC) 

Both 2024 EIT KICs BC catalogue and 2024 EIT KICs BC Factsheet are also available through the EIT Knowledge center:

EIC experts, jury members, coaches and ambassadors

The EIC draws on a wide range of external advice and expertise in order to select the most promising projects and companies and to support them:

  • EIC expert evaluators assess applications for funding against the criteria for excellence, impact and implementation.
  • EIC jury members conduct face to face interviews with shortlisted companies and projects applying for funding
  • EIC coaches provide advice to companies and projects both at the application stage and for maximising the impacts of EIC funding
  • EIC ambassadors  act as a voice for the EIC in the Member States, and provide feedback on the programme from all corners of the innovation ecosystem.

Apply to be an EIC expert evaluator, jury member or coach

Impact and results

The fully-fledged European Innovation Council (EIC) has been launched in March 2021. Its unique approach to identifying, developing and scaling up Europe’s breakthrough technologies and game-changing innovation is already delivering tangible results.

In November 2021, the EIC published the EIC Impact Report 2021 that  documents the results and impact of the EIC pilot phase up to 2020. 

EIC impact report 2022

EIC pilot phase (2018-2020)

The EIC pilot phase was launched in 2018, incorporating existing instruments under the Horizon 2020 programme, in particular the SME instrument and Future & Emerging Technology (FET) programme. These funding schemes were brought together in single work programme to provide direct support to innovators throughout Europe.

The EIC pilot phase, together with the existing instruments, supported:

  • Over 430 projects on Future and Emerging Technologies, involving over 2700 partners. These projects have generated over 3000 peer reviewed scientific articles, over 600 innovations, and over 100 patents.
  • Over 5700 startups and SMEs, who  have raised over €5 billion in follow up investments (3 euro for every euro from the EU budget) andon average, more than doubled the number of employees in a 2 year period

Read the EIC impact report to find out more about the EIC pilot

Visit the EIC datahub to find out about projects and companies

EIC Forum

The EIC Forum has been established under Pillar III of Horizon Europe to promote coordination and dialogue on the development of the Union's innovation ecosystem and is an essential tool to help shaping a new European Innovation Strategy with Member States and Associated Countries.

The EIC Forum was formally launched on 23 November 2021. Its activities aims to improve coordination between national and regional innovation programmes and innovation activities under Horizon Europe. It will stimulate synergies and avoid overlaps, by sharing data on programmes and their implementation, resources and expertise, analysis, monitoring of technological, and innovation trends, while interconnecting respective innovators' communities.

The EIC Forum, as a place to collect, discuss and test new ideas and proposals from stakeholders and their possible uptake and scaling up at the European level, will be an important channel to discuss policy and also support the programming of Horizon Europe.


Browse all EIC documents on the dedicated page