The EIC is Europe’s flagship innovation programme to identify, develop and scale up breakthrough technologiesand 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.
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.
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.
Check the EIT Catalogue to discover the programmes
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.
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 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
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