Funding and support in 2024
The EIC Work Programme 2024 details the funding in three main schemes:
- EIC Pathfinder (€256 million) for multi-disciplinary research teams to undertake visionary research with the potential to lead to technology breakthroughs (grants up to €4 million).
- EIC Transition (€94 million) to turn research results into innovation opportunities, following up on results generated by EIC Pathfinder projects, European Research Council Proof of Concept projects and open for the first time to project results from Horizon collaborative projects from Pillar 2/ societal challenges (grants up to €2.5 million).
- EIC Accelerator (€675 million) for start-ups and SMEs to develop and scale up innovations with the potential to create new markets or disrupt existing ones (grants below €2.5 million, investments from €0.5 to €15 million). €405 million is earmarked for investments to be managed by the EIC Fund, which will receive an additional €180 million to follow on investments in companies selected under previous EIC Accelerator calls.
All the projects supported by the European Innovation Council have access to Business Acceleration Services, which provide coaches, mentors and expertise, and partnering opportunities.
The EIC takes a proactive approach to managing funding with EIC Programme Managers who develop visions for innovation and technology breakthroughs and steer portfolios of projects to achieve these goals.
The Commission has also completed the restructuring of the EIC Fund by transferring its shares to the European Investment Bank, while keeping its steer over the Fund’s investment policy. Together with measures introduced in the EIC work programme, this will allow the EIC Fund greater flexibility to manage the portfolio of investments, already comprising over 500 of Europe’s most promising start-ups and high growth companies.
The European Innovation Council work programme 2024 opens funding opportunities worth over €1.2 billion for strategic technologies and scaling up companies. The majority is dedicated to SMEs and start-ups to develop and scale up “deep tech” innovations in critical fields such as generative artificial intelligence (AI), space, critical raw materials, semiconductors and quantum technologies.
Simplification and other novelties
Building on the advice of the EIC Board, the work programme introduces a number of simplifications and improvements:
- The introduction of lump sum funding in most EIC calls that will remove financial reporting requirements for beneficiaries.
- The update of specific rules on Intellectual Property to empower Technology Transfer Offices, following the recommendations of the EIC Board.
- The introduction of consensus meetings for EIC Accelerator applications to improve the robustness of the evaluation process.
- Flexibility for the EIC Fund to increase or delay investments in selected companies to better respond to their needs and market developments.
- The opening of EIC Transition funding to follow up results from Horizon collaborative projects, in addition to results from ERC Proof of Concept, EIC Pathfinder and European Defence Fund projects.
Investing in strategic technologies
While the majority of EIC funding is open to all fields of technology, €420 million is earmarked for novel technologies and for SMEs and Startups to tackle challenges supporting directly the European Green Deal, REPowerEU, the Chips Act, future AI Act, Net Zero Industry and other EU policies, including the New European Innovation Agenda.
In line with the Commission’s strategy on economic security, applications in critical areas such as AI and quantum will be screened for foreign ownership and investment safeguards to be applied by the EIC Fund.
- Monday 15 January 2024, 09:00 - 17:15 (CET) - Online Info Day dedicated to potential applicants where high-level speakers will present the new work programme and provide an overview about three main funding schemes provided by the EIC.
- Tuesday 16 January 2024, 08:30 - 13:15 (CET) - Online Info Day dedicated to the European Innovation Council (EIC) Accelerator Challenges under the EIC Work Programme 2024.