The European Innovation Council (EIC) is Europe’s most ambitious innovation initiative to identify, support and scale up breakthrough technologies and disruptive innovations. It has a budget of €10.1 billion as part of the Horizon Europe programme (2021-27) and provides a one-stop shop for innovators from early stage research on new technologies, to scaling up ambitious startups and Small and Medium Enterprises. It aims to put Europe at the forefront of the next wave of strategic technologies, support a new generation of leading companies – in particular in deeptech, stimulate greater gender balance and diversity in innovation, and scale disruptive innovations to accelerate the transition to a green and digital economy.
The EIC is implemented through funding instruments, notably: the EIC Accelerator providing grants and investments to individual startups and SMEs, the EIC Pathfinder supporting research teams to develop emerging technologies, and the EIC Transition to transform research results into innovation opportunities. All EIC supported projects and companies receive access to a wide range of Business Accelerator Services including coaching, mentoring, and events with corporates, investors, procurers and much more. The EIC also implements a number of prizes to recognise outstanding innovators, including the woman innovators prize, the European capital of innovation prize and the social innovation award.
The strategy and implementation of the EIC is guided by an EIC Board composed of leading innovators from all parts of the innovation ecosystem: including researchers, entrepreneurs, investors, and ecosystem builders. The EIC Board acts as the “voice of the innovator”, to ensure all EIC activities are innovator-centric and to promote the EIC as the investor of choice for researchers and innovators with visionary ideas. The Board advises directly the European Commission, the EIC and European Innovation and SME Executive Agency (EISMEA, henceforth referred as ‘the Agency’) as the dedicated implementation structure, and interacts with a number of full time EIC Programme Managers with leading expertise in their fields. It also liaises with the EIC Fund, as the investment arm of the EIC, as well as with the European Research Council (ERC), the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) and other innovation programmes and initiatives.
The EIC Board will build on the experience during the EIC pilot phase which supported over 5700 startups and SMEs and close to 500 cutting edge research projects. (See the Deep Tech Europe – the EIC pilot 2020 Impact Report). During this phase, the activities were guided by a pilot EIC Advisory Board which provided a vision statement and number of impactful recommendations. The pilot EIC Advisory Board also contributed to the launch of the EIC in March 2021 and the preparation of the EIC 2021 Work Programme.
The EIC Board will fall under the responsibility of DG Research & Innovation, with the the Agency being in charge of providing support to the Board and its President through a Secretariat and of contributing to the representation of the Commission at the Board’s meetings, in accordance with the delegation instrument delegating powers to EISMEA and setting out its tasks (Commission Decision C(2021) 949 of 12 February 2021 delegating powers to the European Innovation Council and SMEs Executive Agency with a view to the performance of tasks linked to the implementation of Union programmes in the field of Innovative Europe, Single Market and Interregional Innovation Investments comprising, in particular, implementation of appropriations entered in the general budget of the Union).
Tasks of the EIC Board:
In accordance with the Horizon Europe legislaiton, the tasks of the EIC Board are to advise the Commission on:
- the overall strategy for the EIC component under Pillar III 'Innovative Europe';
- the work programme for the implementation of the EIC actions;
- the criteria for assessment of the innovativeness and risk profile of the proposals and the appropriate balance of grants, equity and other forms of financing for the EIC accelerator;
- the identification of strategic portfolio of projects;
- the profile of programme managers;
Furthermore, the EIC Board may upon request address recommendations to the Commission on:
- any matter which from an innovation perspective may enhance and foster innovation eco-systems across Europe, the achievements and impact of the objectives of the EIC component and the capacity of innovative firms to roll out their solutions;
- identifying in cooperation with relevant Commission services and, where appropriate, national and regional authorities and other relevant entities, such as the EIT Governing Board, possible regulatory barriers faced by entrepreneurs, in particular those awarded support under the EIC component;
- emerging technology trends from EIC's portfolio, to inform the programming in other parts of Horizon Europe;
- any other specific issues where advice from the EIC Board is needed
EIC Board members shall also contribute to outreach and communication activities including those oriented towards establishing connections between the EIC Community of funded innovators and the wider ecosystem, particularly investors, corporates and public procurers. Overall, member should contribute to raising the overall prestige of the EIC brand, acting as ‘EIC ambassadors’.
In addition, the Board shall provide advice for the design and implementation of new inducement prizes and recognition awards. It shall also advice the Commission on innovation trends or initiatives needed to enhance and foster the European Union’s innovation ecosystem, including potential regulatory barriers. The EIC Board's advice shall also identify emerging areas of innovation likely to be taken into account in the activities under the pillar 'Global Challenges and European Industrial Competitiveness' and missions.
The Board will establish collaboration with other similar initiatives for supporting disruptive innovation, most notably the European Institute for Innovation and Technology (EIT) and the European Research Council.
2. Features of the Board
The composition and mandate of the EIC Board are established in the Horizon Europe legislation (Decision of the Council on establishing the specific programme implementing Horizon Europe - the Framework Programme for Research and Innovation, Article 10 of Council Decision (EU) 2021/764 of 10 May 2021 [OJ L 167I , 12.5.2021, p. 1–80].). The Board shall consist of 15 to 20 high level individuals drawn from the different communities within Europe's innovation ecosystem, with expertise and professional experience encompassing both research and innovation.
EIC Board members are appointed in a personal capacity, acting independently and in the public interest. The Commission will strive to ensure an adequate balance of expert profiles, particularly with regard to young and women experts (the latter comprising at least 40% of the members, with the goal set on 50% female membership), as well as those stemming from the less advantaged areas of European Union.
A separate expression of interest is to be published to recruit the President of the EIC Board. The President shall be a high profile public figure with a solid understanding and proven professional experience in the research and innovation domain, and will chair the meetings of the EIC Board.
Members are appointed by the Commission from applicants complying with the requirements referred to in chapter 4 of this call for a period of two years, renewable twice. They shall remain in office until the end of their term of office.
In order to ensure continuity and the smooth functioning of the Board, the Commission shall establish a reserve list of suitable candidates that may be used to appoint replacements. The Commission shall ask applicants for their consent before including their names on the reserve list.
Members who are no longer capable of contributing effectively to the Board’s deliberations, or who in the opinion of DG Research & Innovation do not comply with the conditions set out in Article 339 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union or who resign, shall no longer be invited to participate in any meetings of the group and may be replaced for the remainder of their term of office.
2.3 RULES OF ENGAGEMENT AND OPERATION OF THE BOARD
The Commission shall appoint the President of the Board from applicants to the above- referred separate call for expression of interest, following a transparent recruitment process.
The Board shall act at the request of its President with the agreement of DG Research & Innovation, in compliance with the Commission’s horizontal rules on expert groups (‘the horizontal rules’) (See Article 13.1 of Commission Decision C(2016) 3301 establishing horizontal rules on the creation and operation of Commission expert groups).
The Board is expected to meet four to five times per year, in a virtual format or physically at Commission premises in Brussels or at another location. Ad-hoc meetings are possible either on the initiative of the President or at the request of a simple majority of members, in any case following the agreement of DG Research and Innovation. Each Board meetings will typically last for one to two working days, with the possibility of organising virtual meetings over teleconference.
The Agency will provide a Secretariat for organising the Board’s meetings, including logistics, preparation and dissemination of documents and experts’ reimbursements, as well as for providing administrative support to the President
Members should be prepared to attend meetings systematically, to contribute actively to discussions in the group, to be involved in preparatory work ahead of meetings, to examine and provide comments on documents under discussion, and to act, as appropriate, as 'rapporteurs' on ad hoc basis.
A maximum of 20 days of working time per year is expected, of which approximately half for Board and ad-hoc meetings and half for remote working days for additional tasks outside the Board meetings. At the request of the DG Research and Innovation, Board members should be prepared to attend some meetings, events and workshops outside the scope of Board meetings in order to contribute actively to communicating about EIC activities and to establishing connections between the EIC and key stakeholders (investors, corporates, research organisations).
The Board shall adopt its opinions, recommendations or reports by consensus. In the event of a vote, the outcome of the vote shall be decided by simple majority of the members. Members that voted against or abstained shall have the right to have a document summarising the reasons for their position annexed to the opinions, recommendations or reports.
As a general rule, working documents will be drafted in English and meetings will be also conducted in English.
In agreement with DG Research & Innovation the Board may, by simple majority of its members, decide that deliberations shall be public.
Members of the Board shall be remunerated for the services they offer. This remuneration will consist of flat fee honoria of EUR 2,000 for full attendance at a plenary meeting, and EUR 1,000 for partial attendance, in accordance with the financing decision. (See the European Commission Decision C(2021) 1510 of 17 March 2021, the “EIC Work Programme).
Participants in the activities of the Board and its sub-groups other than members of the EIC Board shall not be remunerated for the services they offer.
Travel and subsistence expenses incurred by participants in the activities of the Board and its sub-groups shall be reimbursed by the Commission. Reimbursement shall be made in accordance with the provisions in force within the Commission and within the limits of the available appropriations allocated to the Commission departments under the annual procedure for the allocation of resources.
EIC Board members, as well as invited experts, observers and their representatives, are subject to the obligation of professional secrecy, which by virtue of the Treaties and the rules implementing them applies to all members of the institutions and their staff, as well as to the Commission's rules on security regarding the protection of Union classified information, laid down in Commission Decisions (EU, Euratom) 2015/443 and 2015/444. Should they fail to respect these obligations, the Commission may take all appropriate measures.
On a proposal by DG Research & Innovation, the Board shall adopt its rules of procedure on the basis of the standard rules of procedure for expert groups and other similar entities.
The President, in agreement with DG Research & Innovation, may invite experts with specific expertise with respect to a subject matter on the agenda to take part in the work of the Board or sub-groups on an ad hoc basis.
Individuals organisations and public entities other than Member States may be granted an observer status, in compliance with the horizontal rules, by direct invitation of the President in agreement with DG Research & Innovation. Organisations and public entities shall appoint their representatives.
Observers and their representatives may be permitted by the President, and with the agreement of DG Research & Innovation, to take part in the discussions of the Board and its sub-groups and provide expertise. However, they shall not have voting rights and shall not participate in the formulation of recommendations or advice by the Board and its sub- groups to the Commission.
The President may set up sub-groups for the purpose of examining specific issues or topics of concern for the EIC on the basis of terms of reference defined by DG Research & Innovation. Sub-groups shall operate in compliance with the horizontal rules and shall report to the Board. They shall be dissolved as soon as their mandate is fulfilled. The members of sub-groups that are not members of the group shall be selected via a public call for applications.
The Board shall be registered in the Register of Commission expert groups and other similar entities (‘the Register of expert groups’).
As concerns the Board’s composition, DG Research and Innovation with the support of the Agency shall publish the following data on the Register of expert groups:
- the name of individuals appointed in a personal capacity;
- the name of observers.
DG Research & Innovation, with the support of the Agency, shall make available all relevant documents, including the agendas, the minutes and the participants’ submissions, both on the Register of expert groups and on the dedicated EIC website, where this information can be found with no need for user registration or any other restriction. In particular, DG Research & Innovation with the support of the Agency shall publish the agenda and other relevant background documents in due time ahead of the meeting, followed by timely publication of minutes. Exceptions to publication shall only be foreseen where it is deemed that disclosure of a document would undermine the protection of a public or private interest as defined in Article 4 of Regulation (EC) N° 1049/2001 (These exceptions are intended to protect public security, military affairs, international relations, financial, monetary or economic policy, privacy and integrity of the individual, commercial interests, court proceedings and legal advice, inspections/investigations/audits and the institution's decision-making process).
Personal data shall be collected, processed and published in accordance with Regulation (EU) No 2018/1725.
3. Application procedure
Interested individuals are invited to submit their application to the Agency.
Applications must be completed in one of the official languages of the European Union. However, applications in English would facilitate the evaluation procedure. If another language is used, it would be helpful to include a summary of the application in English.
An application will be deemed admissible only if it is sent by the deadline and includes the documents referred to below. All documents submitted by applicants should be duly filled in, legible, signed and numbered sequentially.
Each application shall include the following documents:
- a cover letter explaining the applicant's motivation for answering this call and stating what contribution the applicant could make to the group;
- a classification form duly filled in specifying the member category for which the application is made (Annex I).
- a selection criteria form duly filled in documenting how the applicant fulfills the selection criteria listed in chapter 4 of this call (Annex II).
For individuals applying to be appointed as members of the group in a personal capacity, a curriculum vitae (CV) shall also be provided, preferably not exceeding three pages. All CVs shall be submitted in the European format.
Individuals applying to be appointed as members of the group in a personal capacity must disclose any circumstances that could give rise to a conflict of interest by submitting a declaration of interests (’DOI’) form on the basis of the standard DOI form for expert groups attached to this call (Annex III). Submission of a duly completed DOI form is necessary in order to be eligible to be appointed in a personal capacity. Individuals who answer in the affirmative questions included in the DOI form are required to supply further details by filling in the section ‘Description’. The Commission shall perform the conflict of interest assessment in compliance with the horizontal rules (Article 11 of the horizontal rules).
Additional supporting documents (e.g. publications) may be requested at a later stage.
Deadline for application
The duly signed applications must be sent by Wednesday 30 June 2021, 17h00 CET at the latest (the horizontal rules provide for a minimum deadline of four weeks) to the following e-mail address: EISMEA-EIC-BOARD-APPLICATIONS@ec.europa.eu, the date of the e-mail will be the date of sending.
4. Selection criteria
The Commission seeks a diverse group of high level individuals including:
- entrepreneurs who have started up and scaled up innovative enterprises at European/global level;
- investors and venture capitalists;
- corporate leaders and individuals experienced in corporate venturing and corporate-startup relationships;
- researchers and academics with leading expertise in fields relating to future and emerging technologies;
- individuals with a strong track record in developing the wider innovation ecosystem, in particular in knowledge/technology transfer, in building start-up communities, and in managing innovation agencies/ incubators/ accelerators;
- experts on public sector and social innovation and academic experts on innovation
The Commission will take the following criteria into account when assessing applications:
- Vision, creativity and passion towards innovation and the capacity to achieve impact;
- Proven and relevant competence and experience, including at European and/or global level in areas relevant to breakthrough technologies and/or disruptive innovation;
- A leadership position of the applicant in her or his organisation;
- Recognition and/or achievements, for example in the form of prizes and awards obtained at national, European or global level;
- Strong communication and advocacy skills and good knowledge of the English language allowing for active participation in discussions and external events.
The Commission will seek to strike a balance within the members of the Board in terms of skills, experience, gender (approximately half of each gender), age and geographical origin. In addition, the Commission will ensure selected members’ expertise covers both research, innovation and investment perspectives and covers expertise in the fields of green, health and digital technologies and innovations.
The Commission shall ensure, as far as possible, a high level of expertise, as well as a balanced representation of relevant know how and areas of interest, while taking into account the specific tasks of the Board, the type of expertise required, as well as the relevance of the applications received.
5. Selection procedure
The selection procedure shall consist of an assessment of the applications performed by DG Research & Innovation with the support of the Agency against the selection criteria listed in chapter 4 of this call, followed by the establishment of a list of the most suitable applicants, and concluded by the appointment of the members of the group.
When defining the composition of the Board, the Commission with the support of the Agency shall aim at ensuring, as far as possible, a high level of expertise, as well as a balanced representation of relevant know how and areas of interest, while taking into account the specific tasks of the group, the type of expertise required, as well as the relevance of the applications received.
- Annex I: Classification form
- Annex II: Selection criteria form
- Annex III: Standard declaration of interests
- Annex IV: Guidance for filling in the declaration of interests
- Annex V: Privacy statement