EIC considers proposals with a requested EU contribution of up to EUR 3 million for Pathfinder Open and up to EUR 4 million for Pathfinder Challenges as appropriate. Nonetheless, this does not preclude you to request larger amounts, if properly justified.
In general, there is no specific expectation on the number of partners in a consortium or the duration of EIC Pathfinder projects, which should be “fit-for-purpose”, i.e. decided in line with the S&T ambition, by ensuring an efficient implementation strategy of the planned R&I, dissemination and exploitation activities and considering quickly changing research landscape in given area(s). Note however that the eligibility conditions of each call needs to be satisfied (e.g., 3 minimum legal entities for consortia in Pathfinder Open and 2 for consortia in the Pathfinder Challenge, unless specified in the Challenge text call). For some Pathfinder Challenges, projects are expected to have a set duration specified in the in the Challenge Guide.
Applications from single legal entities are not eligible under the EIC Pathfinder Open call. Single legal entities can however submit applications under the EIC Pathfinder Challenges call, where they will compete with proposals submitted by consortia.
It is expected that the various activities within the EIC Pathfinder projects should cover low TRLs, typically in the range between TRL 1 and 4. Note however that the TRLs range of some EIC Pathfinder Challenges may be narrower as specified in the given Pathfinder Challenge text call and Challenge Guide.
The main expected outcomes of Pathfinder projects are top-level scientific publications in open access and an adequate formal protection of the generated Intellectual Property (e.g. a patent application). In addition, the expected outcome of Pathfinder Open project is the proof of principle that the main ideas of the envisioned future technology are feasible, thus validating its scientific and technological basis. For Pathfinder Challenge projects, the expected outcomes are described in the given Challenge text call and Challenge Guide. Moreover, Pathfinder Challenge projects are also expected to contribute to the outcomes of the Challenge Portfolio activities as described in the Challenge Guide.
The participation of SMEs and industrial partners in the EIC Pathfinder consortia is not compulsory.
Please note however that for the Pathfinder Open call, applicants are encouraged to involve and empower in their team key actors that have the potential to become future leaders in their field such as excellent early-career researchers or promising high-tech SMEs, including start-ups.
About 1.5-2.5 months after the call deadline the applicants will receive the evaluators’ comments via the Funding & tenders portal, the deadline for sending replies to these comments will be eight calendar days (at 17h00 Brussels local time) after the receipt of these comments. The participants’ replies are strictly limited to maximum two A4 pages. They cannot be used to alter or add to the content of the proposals but must strictly focus providing clarifications and/or on responding to potential misunderstandings or errors by the evaluators. The replies will be made available to the evaluation committee who will decide on the final score on the basis of the remote score and the outcome of its consensus discussions, taking into consideration the comments from the rebuttal procedure, if any.
There are no consequences if a participant does not submit observations (not compulsory).
The evaluation process includes two steps: first, a remote evaluation of each proposal separately and second, the evaluation by the Evaluation Committee taking into account portfolio considerations. Portfolio considerations for a given Challenge call are described in the Pathfinder Challenge Guide. As a general principle, in order to balance out the portfolio, a categorisation of the proposals will be used and the proposals will be allocated to different components or categories. A suitable portfolio of proposals to be funded will be selected by the evaluation committee from the highest scoring ones for each category or component and proposed for funding.
Projects in a Challenge portfolio are expected to interact and exchange, remaining flexible and reactive in the light of developments within the portfolio or in the relevant global scientific or industrial community. They will progress together towards common Portfolio goals and create new opportunities for radical innovation as described in the Challenge Guide.
Each Pathfinder Open project will be allocated in at least one thematic or challenge portfolio. This allocation may change over time as new portfolios are created or evolve. EIC Portfolio activities will be identified and developed by EIC Programme Managers in consultation with the beneficiaries of the actions in each portfolio, and where appropriate with other interested EIC Community members and third parties. The aim of thematic portfolios is to develop cooperation within the portfolio in order to support the member-projects in achieving more efficiently and effectively their objectives, and more generally to enhance research, prepare transition to innovation and stimulate business opportunities, and strengthen the EIC Community. Such activities may include participation to conferences, workshops or meetings, data sharing, or participation to any relevant EIC Business Acceleration Services events, just to name a few.
It should be emphasised that the Pathfinder Open call is bottom-up and thus the level of adherence of a proposal to one or several existing portfolios is not an eligibility or evaluation criterion for proposals submitted to this call. It is nevertheless expected that all Pathfinder projects will be included in at least one portfolio.
Pathfinder Open proposals do not need to allocate budget for these activities while those from Pathfinder Challenges should allocate a corresponding budget as indicated in the relevant Challenge Guide.
In specific cases the participation in portfolio activities may be supported by booster grants with fixed amounts of up to EUR 50 000 per project.
The Challenge-driven approach will continue in future EIC work programmes beyond 2022. The topics identified for the challenge-driven calls in the EIC work programme 2022 will evolve, with new topics identified in later years, with the possibility of some topics identified in this Work Programme to be complemented with additional funding. Throughout 2022, the EIC will organise various discussions and events to help identify the most promising emerging topics for the Challenges, and EIC Programme Managers are expected to play a central role in this process.
The European Commission supports the formation of consortia for Pathfinder calls by means of its Partner Search tool on the Funding and Tenders Portal. Specific networking events may be organised and announced at a later stage. Please also contact your National Contact Point for further information and support.
Why is there no option for rebuttal under Pathfinder Challenges?
The rebuttal process was introduced as a pilot in 2021 to the evaluations of proposals submitted to the Pathfinder Open call only. If successful, it might be rolled out to other Horizon Europe calls at a later stage.
For proposals already submitted and currently under evaluation, services check that the proposals still comply with the (minimum) participation conditions, e.g.:
- For multi-beneficiary proposals (3 different countries): must include at least one legal entity established in an EU member state and two legal entities established in two other EU Member States or (candidate) Associated Countries;
- For two-beneficiary proposals (2 different countries): two independent legal entities from two different EU Member State or (candidate) associated countries.
- For mono-beneficiary proposals: one legal entity established in an EU Member State or (candidate) Associated Country.
In addition, applicants can have Associated Partners (who are not members of the consortia but are additional partners for whom the applicant takes responsibility for implementing activities).
If it becomes clear that a proposal is no longer eligible, services must inform concerned applicants that their proposal is no longer eligible due to the new circumstances regarding the current status of the candidate Associated Countries in Horizon Europe.
Some examples with Switzerland as follows:
- Mono-beneficiary application from a Member State or Associated Country with an Associated Partner from Switzerland: is this proposal eligible? Yes, if all the other eligibility criteria of admissibility and eligibility are fulfilled.
- Two-beneficiary proposal (two independent legal entities from two different Member States or Associated Country and with an Associated Partner from Switzerland: is this proposal eligible? Yes, if all the other eligibility criteria of admissibility and eligibility are fulfilled.
- A proposal with at least three independent legal entities each established in a different Member State / Associated Country and with at least one of them established in a Member State. A three-beneficiary proposal with an Associated Partner from Switzerland is eligible. However, is eligible a proposal with the maximum number of beneficiaries (5 legal entities) and with an Associated Partner from Switzerland (to make a total of 6)? Yes, if all the other eligibility criteria of admissibility and eligibility are fulfilled. It would make a consortium of 5 for the consideration of the eligibility of the proposal.
In case further clarifications are needed please see FAQ "In Horizon Europe, what is the status of participants from non-EU, Associated or third countries?"
Proposals must build on results from an ongoing or recently finished project (linked project), funded from an eligible call as listed in the Work Programme and the linked project needs to be clearly identified in the first page of the proposal’s part B.
Proposals must include the confirmation that the applicants are the Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) owner or holder, or have the necessary rights to commercialise the results of the project, as described in the proposal.
Applicants that are not the owner of the result to be further developed in the proposal must provide a commitment letter from the relevant owner(s) of the result(s), which confirms the commitment of the owner of the linked project research result(s) to negotiate with you a fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory access to such results, including the Intellectual Property Rights, for the purpose of future commercial exploitation.
The Seal of Excellence (only for mono-beneficiary applications from individual SMEs) is a quality label awarded to project proposals submitted to the EIC, to help these proposals find alternative funding. It certifies the value of the proposal, based on the outcome of the rigorous EIC evaluation process.
Proposals for EIC Transition (mono-beneficiary only) that were judged to deserve funding but did not get it due to budget limits will receive the Seal of Excellence. EIC Transition proposals must meet the thresholds on all evaluation criteria to receive the Seal of Excellence.
The Seal of Excellence projects can participate in activities and request up to three days of free business coaching through the EIC Business Acceleration Services.
The EIC considers proposals with a duration of up to 3 years as appropriate. .
The expected size may depend on the path chosen, the sector and amount of work proposed in the application. E.g.: for mono-beneficiary proposals, the budget may be smaller than for multi-beneficiary proposals, and certain sectors may be more expensive than others.
The minimum amount envisaged for a project is EUR 500 000. The maximum amount envisaged for a project is EUR 2.5 million.
Exceptional cases of higher amount or longer duration need to be explicitly and very well motivated and explained in the proposal.
The Work Programme allows for the participation of academic partners without an SME or industrial partner. However, the evaluation will assess the “necessary high-quality expertise, capabilities and motivation to move decisively towards innovation, create a unique commercial value from the emerging technology and develop an attractive business and investment proposition”.
It is therefore encouraged that companies participate, including SMEs/start-ups, and which may include companies that did not take part in the previous consortia that originated the results.
The Transition Challenge projects will be by default part of the related challenge portfolio. If deemed necessary, the Transition Open projects may be allocated to at least one Thematic or Challenge Portfolio.
The applicants should have sufficient preliminary business case/business model and market analysis for the application area(s) they have in mind at the proposal stage, based mainly on desk research. The Transition projects should advance both the technology and business aspects. The business case and business model will be further developed and refined during the project duration, with field and user research, as to become a credible basis for entrepreneurship, business creation and investment.
Applicants that are selected for funding are expected to start their project no later than 2-3 months after grant signature. The grant signature occurs normally within 6 months from the call deadline.
Applicants are advised to start their preparation (e.g. publish vacancy notices to recruit staff or call for tender to procure equipment) from the moment they have been informed of the positive outcome of the evaluation, as the probability of not to sign the grant, while non-zero, is rather low historically. If the applicants are not able to start within maximum 3 months after the grant signature are advised to submit their proposal in the subsequent cut off.
The page limit of the part B to be uploaded as file in the application process is 20 pages.
The 20 pages include the cover page (containing information about the related project on which the current EIC Transition proposal is built on), section 1, 2 and 3.
As a general rule, you may apply to the EIC Accelerator if your previous project is finalised (i.e. the related actions are finalised and the final report is uploaded and submitted by the beneficiary).
Beneficiaries of ongoing grant-only projects (SME Phase 2 or EIC Accelerator pilot) can only apply to the investment-only component. They will have to submit a new proposal to the short application phase.
Beneficiaries of completed projects must also apply starting with the short proposal and if successful can apply for any of the options in the full proposal: grant + investment; investment-only; grant only, grant first.
Please keep in mind a grant-only support under the EIC Accelerator can only be provided once to a beneficiary during Horizon Europe for a maximum of EUR 2.5 million to cover activities of TRL 5/6 to 8.
A company located in UK, having submitted a successful short proposal, may relocate to an EU member state/Associated Country, before submitting their full application. In this case, a new company has to be established in a member state in order to be eligible for blended finance. The PIC number of the newly established entity has to be communicated before submitting the full proposal to the EIC evaluation team so that we can update your application with the correct information.
No, you have to start the evaluation process from the Short Proposal. The AI-based IT platform will guide you through the whole submission process, as well as provide you with assessment of the different funding opportunities you may have at national and European level.
If your company is located outside the EU but established in an Associated Country it is eligible to apply for EIC Accelerator calls in the same manner as a Member State. In the event that your company is based in a non-associated third country but intends to establish an SME (including start-ups) or to relocate an existing SME to a Member State or an Associated Country, your company may submit a short proposal as a non-associated third country but must prove its effective establishment in a Member State or an Associated Country at the time of submission of the full proposal. Specific conditions and milestones may be set in the contract to ensure that the interest of the Union is met.
In case further clarifications are needed please see FAQ "In Horizon Europe, what is the status of participants from non-EU, Associated or third countries?"
he sister/parent company based in the Associated Country is eligible to apply itself. Activities run in other countries are not taken into account to check your eligibility. Alternatively the company based in the non-associated country may submit the short proposal but must prove its effective legal establishment in the associated country at the time of submission of the full proposal. Specific conditions and milestones may be set in the contract to ensure that the interest of the Union is met.
The consequences of losing the SME status during the implementation of the grant component will be assessed on a case-by-case basis, taking in consideration, in particular, the causes for losing the SME status. A change to the ownership situation of the beneficiary that calls into question the decision to award the grant may constitute a ground for terminating the contract.
Transition activities help all types of researchers and innovators develop the pathway to commercial development in the Union, such as demonstration activities and feasibility studies to assess potential business cases, and support the creation of spin offs and start-ups. Transition activities are open to projects and/or results stemming from the EIC Pathfinder, FET, and ERC Proof of Concept and such results are typically at TRL 3-4. At the end of a Transition project, the technology should have matured to TRL 5/6 and the business case should be sufficiently advanced for the applicant to be ready for the next stage, which can be to apply for EIC Accelerator.
Applicants selected under the EIC Accelerator may be awarded grant first support with the investment component of blended finance introduced at a later stage. This is the case when the innovation is at least TRL 5/6 but is based on a scientific discovery or novel technology and still requires significant work to validate and demonstrate in relevant environments in order to properly assess its commercial potential. Such innovations may include, but are not limited to, those based on research results from the EIC Pathfinder and Transition, as well as European Research Council. Grant-first companies are eligible for a follow on equity component subject to a milestone assessment attesting that the innovation activities are well under way and that the innovation has the potential for deployment.
Once you receive a GO for your short proposal, you will have access to the full application module. You will be able to build your full proposal and may submit it to any of the cut-off dates within 12 months of receiving the evaluation result.
Please note that if your short proposal is successful then you will be entitled to receive coaching support to prepare a full proposal.
You will have 12 months from the date of notification of a GO on your short proposal to prepare and submit a full proposal. If you have submitted a full proposal within these 12 months but received a NO GO, you may resubmit your full proposal at one of the following cut-offs – there is no time limit for your resubmission.
If your proposal is rejected a second time, you will not be allowed to submit another proposal for 12 months, starting from the date of submission of your revised full proposal, at which point you may only submit a new or significantly improved proposal to the short application stage.
For short proposals, applicants will be invited to fill a questionnaire on the EIC AI IT platform illustrating their innovation and submit a 10-slide presentation and a 3-minute video pitch. Applicants will also have to estimate the costs required to develop their idea, in the form of grant or investment, and they will have to demonstrate the need for EU support. Please note that at this step, the amounts are indicative and non-binding.
The full proposal consists of a detailed business plan and full information on the company’s finances and structure. Applicants will also need to propose a set of milestones to be used as a basis for the EIC to manage the funding for their innovation. Applicants are requested to define at this stage the type of funding (blended, grant and investment or investment only, grant only, grant first, ) they are applying for and provide a detailed budget.
You may adjust the EIC funding request when submitting your full proposal because the short proposal only requires to indicate an estimate while the full proposal should demonstrate your complete business plan and financial needs.
If your proposal is invited to interview, the Jury may propose to change the type of funding offered (e.g. blended finance proposal to “grant first”; “grant only” to blended finance, etc.) where they see fit. For blended finance proposals, the recommendation from the due diligence on the investment component may also be to convert to “grant first”.
At that stage, there are 2 options.
- Jury member can give a NO-GO with a resubmission at Step 2. If this is the case, then an applicant may resubmit directly to the remote evaluation of the full proposal at one of the following cut-offs, but will be expected to have made improvements. In addition, they will have the opportunity to address comments/recommendation by the jury in the first interview in 10,000 characters + will have 5000 characters to present the improvements that have been made.
- Jury member can give a NO-GO with “direct resubmission” recommendation, meaning that the applicant will not resubmit its full proposal but will be invited directly at one of the next face to face interviews. They don’t have to (and can’t) update their full proposal (the first one that have already received a GO at remote evaluation) but will have the possibility to upload a new pitch deck and to provide comments to address the first juries’ assessment/recommendations. Such a resubmission direct to the face to face interviews will only be permitted once.
Reimbursable advances might be available in 2022 and the terms and conditions will depend on the investment arrangements with the EIC investment partners and will be made available on the EIC website, in due time.
The EIC Accelerator may also include other financial instruments in future years.
Various typologies of risks are covered during the evaluation, including technology, regulatory and implementation/market risks. The experts will assess the considerations given to the management and mitigation of these risks.
Any significant information which changed between the submission of the full application and the interview should be highlighted to the jury during the interview and will be assessed accordingly by the jury. Any major change after the outcome of the interview should be taken into account during the negotiation process to structure the potential investment agreement during compliance checks, due diligence, syndication of potential co-investors, tranches of investment and related objectives and milestones, etc.
In line with the approach followed by the EIC Accelerator, all projects need to describe market activities even when they are not supported by the grant component. Projects requesting grant only support also need to describe market activities, and to indicate which are the other sources, other than the EIC, that they can use to finance their market activities.
Depending on their nature, costs for TRL9 onwards can be estimated either in the TRL9 work packages within the Development part of the Design Module, or in exploitation costs within the Go To Market part of the Design Module. For instance, all costs related to the development of a product, service or process can be included in TRL9 work packages within Development part of the Design Module.
However please note that the grant component only reimburses costs related to activities below TRL 9. According to the design of the AI platform and in line with EIC requirements, it is necessary to have at least:
• One work package for technology development, one work package for market activities and one work package for management to develop your innovation activities.
• One work package for market activities and one for management to develop your market/scale-up activities (TRL 9).
Milestones are checkpoints produced at a specific point in a task while deliverables are tasks results such as reports, studies, tests, etc. While milestones can sometimes correspond to the completion of a deliverable, the two are not necessarily linked. It is not necessary to have a milestone for every deliverable. However, the most important deliverables can be good indications of where you want to place milestones.
These milestones are mandatory and correspond to the achievement of TRL levels during the project. So in short, work packages are linked to TRLs in order to be consistent with the difference between Grant component (which can support activities up to TRL 8) and Equity component which can support activities in TRL 9.
The duration of the grant component will be set to align with the indicated duration of the Work Package related to TRL5-8 activities, even if it is more than 24 months. Nevertheless, as there are no restrictions to the use of the investment component and you can use the investment component to complement the funding needed for the innovation activities.
“Existing technologies” are technologies that already exist and that applicants can use to carry out the project. “Needed technologies” are the ones where you need to advance your own knowledge in order to continue the project and finally “Technologies to be developed” addresses the technological gap in the project’s technology which the project requires to deliver the solution. These definitions are also described on the AI tool platform.
Exploitation revenues can include different types of revenues (sales, licensing, contracts, etc), to be identified for each company. This issue may be discussed with coaches.
Each Work Package should include at least one deliverable. Where a Work Package includes several tasks, there should not be more than one deliverable per task.
Applicants should fill only the steps that are relevant to their project, and therefore the market penetration strategy should focus on the market to be addressed by the innovation.
BRL and MRL Levels are the same, and might be linked with TRL levels:
- BRL 1: Basic research: You can describe the need(s) but have no evidence
- BRL 2: Needs formulation: You articulate the need(s) using a customer/user story
- BRL 3: Needs validation: You have an initial 'offering', stakeholders like your slideware
- BRL 4: Small scale stakeholder campaign: Run a campaign with stakeholders ('closed' beta - a number of friendly stakeholders that is relevant according to specificities of your market)
- BRL 5: Large scale early adopter campaign: Run a campaign with early adopters ('open' beta - a number of intended customers that is relevant according to specificities of your market)
- BRL 6: Proof of traction: Sales match a number of paying customers that is relevant according to specificities of your market
- BRL 7: Proof of satisfaction: A happy team and happy customers give evidence to progress
- BRL 8: Proof of scalability: A stable sales pipeline and strong understanding of the market allow revenue projections
- BRL 9: Proof of stability: KPIs surpassed and predictable growth
- TRL 1: Basic Research: Basic principles observed
- TRL 2: Technology Formulation: Technology concept formulated
- TRL 3: Needs Validation: Experimental proof of concept
- TRL 4: Small Scale Prototype: Technology validated in lab
- TRL 5: Large Scale Prototype: Technology validated in relevant environment (industrially relevant environment in the case of key enabling technologies)
- TRL 6: Prototype System: Technology demonstrated in relevant environment (industrially relevant environment in the case of key enabling technologies)
- TRL 7: Demonstration System: System prototype demonstration in operational environment
- TRL 8: First Of A Kind Commercial System: System complete and qualified
- TRL 9: Full Commercial Application: Actual system proven in operational environment (competitive manufacturing in the case of key enabling technologies; or in space)
In the AI tool, the value chain specified using “cards” which can be analysed from the perspective of being before and after the solution is provided. You should ensure consistency between the stakeholders involved in the value chain, and the information you put in the card of the stakeholder.
Please see the indications on the AI platform: Please upload your FTO (Freedom To Operate) if you have one. If you do not have one, please upload a note of up to 2 pages explaining the reasons and provide as much information as possible on this issue. In cases where the FTO is not relevant (e.g. software), please upload a simple statement.
In the full proposal, applicants provide data into different fields. Out of the data, the AI tool builds a business plan. In other words, applicants do not need to provide a form B in pdf (as it was the case in Horizon 2020): the AI platform simply collects all their data and inputs via a step-by-step methodology.
In addition, applicants will be able to upload the following documents in their business plan:
- pitch deck (mandatory)- no maximum number of slides but the pitch deck will be used in the interview should you be invited to the jury and must be presented in maximum 10 minutes
- maximum 10 pages in an annex with any additional information you'd like to add (optional)
You can also insert URL links anywhere in your proposal. However, all the essential information about your project must be in the platform and not referred to any external material via URLs Be also aware that evaluators are under no obligation to read any additional information referred to in URLs.
For the Accelerator applications, applicants are not required to present a full Data Management Plan at the application stage. Rather, it is expected that applicants upload at least a one page document in which they take into account the need to develop such a Plan as part of their project implementation (and for which associated costs are eligible) and to demonstrate an awareness of the relevant considerations for their project. Consequently, applicants should already think about it at the application stage (and take note that the rules concerning data management plans are different compared to Horizon 2020).
Applicants are required to upload the following documents in the following sections of Go to Market:
- Results of the FTO analysis: Go to Market/Prepare/Intellectual Property. Please upload your FTO if you have one. If you do not have one, please upload a note of up to 2 pages explaining why and providing as much information as possible on this issue. In cases where the FTO is not relevant (e.g. software), please upload a simple statement.
- Data management plan: Go to Market/Prepare/Intellectual Property. Please upload your Data Management Plan if you have one, or a one pager providing your thoughts on the underlying issues (open access to data, access of public authorities in case of emergencies) and your guiding principles as to how you would tackle these where needed.
- Financial Information: Go to Market/Prepare/Finance. Please use the financial information template provided in this section with your information
- Letters of intent (if any- this is optional): Go to Market/Scale/Scaling strategy
The Commission will not move the proposals from one call to another. The applicant has the responsibility to make the choice and take the decision to submit his/her proposal either to the EIC Accelerator Open call or to one of the EIC Accelerator Challenges.
Please take a close look at the sections in the Work Programme regarding the EIC Accelerator Challenge areas of strategic relevance in order to take the decision. The EIC Accelerator Challenges is open to innovations in the specific fields of technology or application described by the specific challenges in sections IV.2.1 and IV.2.2.
The proposal will not be declared out of scope if you submit your challenge-related proposal to the EIC Accelerator Open call however if you believe it fits better in the challenge call, it is recommended to select that option.
Also, please note that all of the evaluation criteria established for the EIC Accelerator Open call will apply. However, in addition, applications under the challenges will be evaluated against an additional criterion for ‘Impact’: “Does the proposed application have the potential to contribute to the specific objectives and achieve the expected impacts set out in the Challenge?”
In case the evaluators will not be convinced, they will score accordingly under this sub criterion
Yes, the expert evaluators at each step of the process will have access to the ratings. However, please keep in mind this information is not a score and is meant only as additional guidance and insights to assist the applicants in their application and for the experts in their assessment. Therefore, the ultimate responsibility of the application remains with the applicant. Experts may use the information to support their assessment, but ultimately the experts’ decision is their own responsibility and should be based on their knowledge and expertise.
The AI platform will provide applicants with AI support to assess their concept/idea as they prepare their short application. If the short application is successful, the AI platform will further provide AI & methodological support to help applicants develop their business plan in the full application. It is the applicant’s decision how to respond to the feedback and support, and the applicant is fully responsible for the content and submission of the application.
The AI platform will provide evaluators with data and insights about the proposed innovation. However, the evaluators are fully responsible for their evaluation of proposals against the criteria laid down in the Work Programme.
Because each applicant is entitled to submit a second time, the rebuttal system is now embedded in the resubmission process on the AI platform. The newly submitted proposal contains text fields which allow the applicant to both respond to evaluator’s feedback as well as summarize the changes made if applicable.
The new set of evaluators will assess the changes and improvements made since the first submission and take into account any comments you may wish to respond to the feedback from the first evaluation.
If you receive a NO-GO for the second time on your short proposal, you have 5 working days to submit a complaint regarding your evaluation if the complaint is based on:
- factual errors;
- manifest error of appreciation regarding the purpose and scope of the Accelerator or
- experts asked for details or documents that are deemed to be submitted at the full proposal stage only.
The complaint form is available on the AI platform together with the evaluators’ report. You will be able to submit a complaint to individual evaluator feedback which the EIC evaluation team will carefully assess. In cases where within 5 working days the Agency finds that there is an error on one of the above grounds, it will be assessed again by the concerned expert(s) within 5 working days. If your proposal is re-evaluated as a GO, you will be eligible to introduce your full application to the same cut-off date that you would have been able to submit to, with a GO from the initial evaluation. Otherwise, your proposal will be definitively rejected, and you will only be able to resubmit in accordance with the resubmission rules.
The issue you encountered was due to the fact that you marked your profile as either “investor” or “non EU/associated country” when you submitted your short proposal.
An investor or a non-EU/associated country applicant is able to submit a short proposal on behalf of an SME, but that SME must be established in the EU at the time of the full proposal and you will be asked to provide the PIC for the EU/Associated Country SME in order to submit the full proposal.
If you are not an investor or from a non-EU/associated country and marked this option by mistake in the short proposal, please contact the EIC support team to change your profile so you can submit your full proposal with your PIC.
There are no formal email acknowledgement receipts of your full proposal. You should see the status as “submitted” in the EIC AI platform - Design Version.
The deadline for full proposal submission is 17.00 (Brussels time) on the cut off date published in the EIC Annual Work Programme. It is highly recommended to submit your proposal as early as possible and at least 48 hours before the deadline. This will avoid technical problems (system requirements, local configuration settings, system congestion).
ou will not receive an error message in response to your late proposal submission. Your proposal status will be listed as “submitted” and will be eligible to be evaluated under the following cut-off deadline. You will have the option to keep it in in the submission system until the subsequent cut-off. Alternatively, you can withdraw the proposal, update it and then submit in time for the upcoming deadline. Withdrawing the proposal before receiving the evaluation result will not count toward the resubmission limit
Applicants who managed to reach the stage of submitting full proposals will be given a possibility to share specific project-related data:
- basic information about the proposal limited to the name, phone, email of the CEO or person in charge of managing innovation/company, proposal acronym, title, company’s name (country, city), abstract, requested budget , evaluation result (GO/NO GO).
By selecting the option above, the applicants give ‘consent’ to share this information with National Contact Points (NCPs) of their Member State or Associated Country, Enterprise Europe Network (EEN) members, relevant public organisations from the EU, EU Member States and Horizon Europe Associated Countries (including regional innovation organisations, European Structural and Investment Funds managing authorities). These entities may assist Seal of Excellence holders in receiving additional support at national level. In particular, the EEN has been contracted by the EIC to supportSeal of Excellence holders to obtain funding from private and/or public sources. (This service will be offered to a limited number of companies)
In case applicants choose not to share the above-mentioned data, the Seal of Excellence will unfortunately not be granted.
The data will be made available subject to the fulfilment of confidentiality obligations agreed with the National Contact Points, EEN members and relevant authorities.
National Contact Points, Enterprise Europe Network (EEN) members and Knowledge Innovation Communities of the European Institute of Innovation and Technologies (EIT KICs) may be useful sources of information and support the preparation of full proposals. This is the reason why, the EIC gives the possibility for applicants to give consent i.e. to share specific data with them:
- basic information about the proposal limited to the name, phone, email of the CEO or person in charge of managing innovation/company, proposal acronym, title, company’s name (country, city), abstract, requested budget, evaluation result (GO/NO GO).
The data will be made available subject to confidentiality obligations of the National Contact Points, Knowledge Innovation Communities, and EEN members.
NCPs role is among others to support applicants to prepare to the EIC calls. They have the latest information about EIC calls and can provide practical advice and support on how to apply. NCPs are appointed by each country. The EIC provides additional funding to NCPs in order to network, exchange best practice and build capabilities in particular in widening countries.
The Enterprise Europe Network (EEN) has members in the EU and Associated Countries. It provides comprehensive information and support on different funding opportunities. For the EIC it complements the support provided by the NCPs, for example by proactively identifying and encouraging more companies to apply to the EIC Accelerator, in particular from widening countries and women led companies. In addition, the EEN will provide support to Seal of Excellence companies to find alternative sources of funding.
It is up to applicants to decide if they choose to receive services from NCPs and EEN members and they will be given such an option in the application tool (see other questions related to it).
The EIC works with EIC Investment Partners for implementation and management of the investment component of EIC Accelerator blended finance.
In 2022, the EIC Investment Partner will be only the EIC Fund (transition phase). After 2022, the EIC may work with other Investment Partners in addition to the EIC Fund.
Within the mandate given by the Commission following the evaluation process by EISMEA, investment decisions (and their related conditions and management) are taken by the EIC Fund.
The EIC Fund is an alternative investment fund (AIF) for investing in companies selected by the EIC Accelerator. The European Commission will appoint an alternative investment fund manager (AIFM) to manage the EIC Fund.
The European Investment Bank (EIB) is investment adviser to the EIC Fund. The EIB and the EIC Fund manager are completely different and separate legal entities. The EIB provides advice and support to the EIC Fund, but does not make any investment decision.
Within the mandate given by the Commission, the EIC Fund manager makes decisions on investments, their structure and terms, follow-on investments and divestments, in accordance with the EIC investment guidelines and having regard to the recommendations of the EIB as investment adviser.
On divestments, the EIC Fund invests patient capital, with a long average perspective on return on the investment. The EIC Fund’s main objective is “impact investment” rather than maximizing return on the investment. The exit strategy for each company is to be set on a case-by-case basis. Exit routes may include IPOs, management buyouts, secondary sales or liquidations.
Investments made or to be made under Horizon 2020 EIC Pilot will be managed by the EIC Fund as well.
The Commission needs to adapt the structure and management of the EIC Fund to the Horizon Europe regulation, and also to draw the lessons from the pilot phase (2019-2020) in order to make the Fund sustainable for the number and amounts of investments expected in the period 2021 -27.
During a transition phase in 2022, the Commission is making all the necessary arrangements to complete the restructuring of the EIC Fund that include the appointment of an external fund manager. During this transition phase in 2022 the EIC Investment Partner will be the EIC Fund which is a dedicated fund for investing in companies selected by the EIC Accelerator with the support of the European Investment Bank. Within the mandate given by the Commission following the evaluation process, investment decisions (and their related conditions and management) are implemented by the EIC Fund.
Following the transition phase further changes are expected in 2023 in order to put EIC investments on a fully sustainable basis. These changes will be communicated to potential applicants before they are implemented.
The restructuring of the EIC Accelerator investment process will not have any impact on funding offered by the EIC or the selection process. The European Innovation Council and SME Executive Agency (EISMEA) will continue conducting the evaluation and selection of proposals and the EIB will continue its role in implementing due diligence as investment adviser. The EIC Investment Guidelines will provide information on the investment strategy. This builds on the first positive experiences from the 141 investments approved by the EIC Fund since September 2020.
The European Innovation Council and SMEs Executive Agency (EISMEA) will continue coordinating the grant and the equity components and will ensure close cooperation between the various partners to ensure rapid decision making processes in line with market timeframes.
Blended finance projects selected following the cut-offs in 2021 have faced delays while the implementation arrangements for the investment component for the fully-fledged EIC under Horizon Europe are being put in place. This does not affect the grant components.
The transition arrangements for the EIC Fund are expected to be in place from spring 2022 to implement the investment decisions for blended finance and equity only projects from the 2021 cut-offs, and to avoid any delays for projects selected following the cut-offs in 2022.
The transition phase, i.e., the EIC Fund being the only investment partner, applies to all companies selected by the European Innovation Council and SMEs Executive Agency (EISMEA) for EIC Accelerator support in 2021 and 2022.
The applicable EIC investment guidelines will be available on this website when adopted. The Commission published indicative investment guidelines on 22 April 2021, conditional upon their final adoption.
The Commission does not expect that the final investment guidelines will significantly differ from the indicative, published version. The final version will mainly reflect the restructuring of the EIC Fund.
The EIC investment guidelines will provide details on investment scenarios.
Following an initial assessment implying some level of due diligence, including ‘Know Your Customer’ (KYC) compliance checks (led by the EIC Fund), the EIB, as investment advisor, will categorise the transactions into investment scenarios or “buckets”. Investment scenarios are based on companies’ investment maturity and their ability to attract co-investments. The EIC investment will be structured according to the investment scenarios.
In some exceptional cases, the EIC Fund may recommend the European Commission to reject an investment when initial assessment or due diligence, at any stage, reports substantial negative issues in accordance with the EIC investment guidelines.
Compliance and some due diligence checks would be performed by the EIC Fund based on standard compliance rules, related among others to KYC (Know Your Customer), anti-money laundering (AML), anti-terrorism financing, tax-avoidance, non-compliant/non-cooperative jurisdictions (NCJ) and sanctions. Compliance and KYC checks will be performed prior to the initial investment, as well as prior to possible follow on investments. They will be extended to shareholders and their ultimate beneficial owners (UBO).
The investment component is tailored based on the assessed investment scenario and may take different forms. It may consist of convertible instruments (i.e. loans/bonds/notes and other similar instruments such as participation rights and simple agreements for future equity (SAFE), a combination of such quasi-equity instruments and direct equity, or direct equity, initially covering seed-stage up to growth equity rounds.
The EIC Fund may use convertible instruments and combination of quasi-equity instruments in cases that are not sufficiently mature for regular investors (not investor ready), due to remaining very high risk despite the awarded EIC Accelerator support.
The EIC Fund may use direct equity in cases where potential investors show immediate interest in co-investing into EIC selected companies. The EIC Fund will seek that the equity investment is at least matched by these other potential, qualified investors (i.e. which will cover at least 50% of the round), having an objective of 1:3 leverage for the full EIC investment cycle.
The EIC Fund may either invest with quasi-equity or a combination of quasi-equity and equity, or may propose to the European Commission to revert to a “grant first” support to cover up to 70% of total eligible costs of the pre-TRL9 activities, and recommend milestones that once reached, may attract co-investors and hence trigger the investment component initially awarded by the Commission.
The EIC investment guidelines will provide a definition of ‘qualified investor’.
It could be generally defined as an investor that has the capacity to validate the market and technology prospects of the prospective investee company, and concludes the investment with market compliant terms and conditions. In addition the qualified investor shall have full alignment of interest with the EIC Fund, and shall not have other motives driving the investment decision. Qualified investors may vary on case-by-case basis, and for each case the qualification is subject to assessment by the Investment Partners.
A more than EUR 15 million investment request is allowed in duly justified cases for proposals in technologies that are strategic for the Union, where there is a global competition and where the funding needs significantly exceed what is available in Europe, even for early stage of technology development.
There is no explicit list of strategic technologies and applicants can propose innovations they consider strategic, with a justification included in their application.
The areas included in the Accelerator challenge on “technologies for open strategic autonomy” would normally be considered as strategic. Other relevant examples include those identified under EU industry policy, such as Advanced Materials, Advanced Manufacturing, Artificial Intelligence, augmented and virtual reality, Big Data, Blockchain, cloud technologies, connectivity, Industrial Biotechnology, Internet of Things, Micro- and Nanoelectronics, Mobility, Nanotechnology, Photonics, Robotics, and IT for Security/Cybersecurity. (https://ati.ec.europa.eu/). Other areas such as critical raw materials, batteries, green hydrogen, semiconductors, cloud and edge technologies, space technologies, quantum computing, zero emission aircraft, RNA and cancer vaccines could also be considered as relevant. This list of potential examples is neither exhaustive, nor are the examples definitive confirmations that the respective sectors will be considered as strategic at the time when a given proposal is examined – this depends on the specificities of the proposal and on the developments in the respective sectors.
Requests for over 15 million euro will not normally be accepted for investments which are standard in the sector, for example late stage clinical trials in the pharmaceutical sector, except where the intervention assessed is considered of key strategic value (e.g. is considered by EMA for accelerated review or PRIME designation). The assessment of global competition and availability of funding needs in Europe will be made on a case by case basis during the evaluation and due diligence process, i.e. the fact that a proposal relates to a strategic sector is a necessary but in no way a sufficient condition for it to be considered for this exceptional investment. To note that the EIC juries or the due diligence process may lead to recommendation for a lower investment amount if the request for an investment over 15 million euro is not sufficiently justified. Applicants should also be aware that in a pilot phase in 2022, the total budget for investments above 15 million euro is limited to 15 percent of the total budget for the EIC accelerator. Once this limit is reached, the maximum investments will be 15 million euro (for the duration of 2022). Proposals will be submitted to the EIC/EIE programme Committee for opinion.
Grant-only beneficiaries under the EIC Accelerator pilot in Horizon 2020 can apply for an investment component follow-up in Horizon Europe. To do so, eligible applicants will have to submit a new proposal via the short application stage of the evaluation procedure for the EIC Accelerator.
There are no excluded investors by geography a priori. However, the EIC is an initiative of the EU and where relevant, considerations will take into account EU technology sovereignty. When implementing investments approved by the Agency, the EIC Fund will ensure that supported companies keep most of their value, including their IP, in the EU or in the Associated Countries in order to contribute to their economic growth and job creation. The Agency may set specific conditions and milestones in the contract to ensure that the interest of the Union is met.
Before submitting the full application, applicant companies will need to give consent to share necessary information with the EIC Fund. Applicant companies will also be offered the opportunity to share certain data and information with investors who have undergone a prior EIC due diligence process and who may wish to invest in the company or project and assist the company in developing its idea into a business plan.
For applications for blended finance (including an investment component), the EIC Fund will start the negotiation process to structure the potential investment agreement. During this stage, the EIC Fund or the Agency will also look for other investors. The company will be asked for its consent before other investors are contacted or engaged in negotiations.
Companies are allowed to send a maximum of three representatives to the interview. More details on this respect will be communicated at a later stage.
Existing investors or investors that submitted a proposal on behalf of an applicant that is subsequently invited to the interview, are also eligible to attend the interview among the three representatives of the company. Investors are expected to explain how they are supporting and/or intend to support the company if it is retained for the EIC support.
In order to prepare an informed and tailor-made investment recommendation, the EIB performs the commercial and financial due diligence while the EIC performs the technological due diligence.
The purpose of the technological due diligence is not to re-assess the project, but to complement the evaluation process and dig in depth specifically on the technology (protection, validity, “investibility”) and its potential market (landscape, competition, positioning), beyond the information initially provided and the statements made by the company in the proposal.
The technological due diligence contributes to better-informed investment decisions paving the way for other investors to invest alongside the EIC Fund, the largest deep-tech investor in Europe. The outcome should also help the EIC and the founders to take a critical looking at the proposed technological and commercial milestones, and to structure the investment accordingly.
The EIC selects the most qualified expert from the pool of EIC evaluators already involved in the selection of the concerned proposal, or from the wider European Commission experts’ database, to lead the research and draft a 5-10 pages report in 3 weeks’ time.
The report is based on the strong technical background and the proven expertise of the selected expert that may challenge the claims of the company, contact the company to collect further information and eventually its clients and network. The expert may also consult any other relevant sources of information.
In order to protect the activities and interests of the company, the expert signs the standard Horizon Europe expert contract template, including a strong impartiality and confidentiality clause and conflict of interest.
The technological due diligence exercise is launched after the selection of the projects and the publication of the results of the call.
The company is informed about this step in the invitation to the negotiation letter and beforehand via the EIC Fund Investment Guidelines.
Coaches will be vetted to appear on a list selectable for coaches. They must meet essential experience criteria that will be published in the new Call for Expression of Interest for EIC Coaches
The process to find and select a coach will be by:
- creating a shortlist of possible matches through individual selection criteria
- inviting them, explaining the main business challenge and including project information
- have ‘chemistry’ calls with those who responded to be available and interested, to make a final choice.
An EIC business coach – in face-to-face online setting - will mainly question your aspirations and challenge your assumptions. Our coaches will let you discover improvement opportunities and they have the task to let you learn and solve business development issues. Topics can cover the whole entrepreneurial venture, depending on your needs, from challenging the value proposition and business model, improving the strategy and investor business case, building the team, the leadership and processes, up to international expansion. The coaching support we offer is not compulsory to build a proposal, just strongly recommended. You will always remain fully responsible yourself for the content of your proposal. EIC coaching assignments cannot be instrumental for proposal writing or other consultancy activities.
The business development coaching is available for various EIC target groups and will be tailor made to deliver the desired outcome:
- For Accelerator applicants (full application stage) and Seal-of-Excellence teams, your objective may be to improve the value proposition and investor pitch.
- For Pathfinder researchers your objective may be to discover innovation opportunities and to provide insight in your entrepreneurship potential.
- For Transition teams your objective may be to get to know the industry and to create a value proposition.
- For Accelerator start-ups and scale-ups, your objective may be to improve your business plan, the strategy implementation and a faster market entry.
- In the Women Leadership Programme additional WLP Coaching is offered to help you tackle potential glass ceiling issues.
For Accelerator applicants and Seal-of-Excellence teams, three days of coaching are offered. For all further beneficiaries the starting offer of three coaching days may be extended on the recommendation of project officers and programme managers.
You will all receive an invitation to select a coach, as soon as you become eligible to the service.
Business Acceleration Services are tailored as much as possible to the EIC beneficiaries’ needs and aim to guarantee the best match possible with relevant business partners. This is why most offered EIC services will have a certain selection process based on specific criteria relevant to the specific event or service. If this is the case, the criteria and the selection process are announced in the event publication and/or the registration website. If there are no selection criteria, the event may also be based on a ‘first come first serve’ basis or an unlimited attendance approach. Please check out any details in this regard in the event publication (in the EIC Community). Please note as well that even if your grant or EIC funding is contractually finished you are still eligible and invited to apply to the EIC BAS services.
You are entitled to three days of coaching to be used whenever you need them. You are only entitled to the coaching services once. Therefore, you may choose to use them directly after the short proposal to prepare your full proposal for the first time. You may also choose to apply for the full proposal without using a coach and should you be rejected, you can use the coach to prepare your resubmission.
Business Acceleration Services form an integral part of the EIC programmes and are offered for free (in-kind) to eligible EIC funded projects and companies, Seal of Excellence as well as to innovators and companies coming from other European or national initiatives that have entered into a specific agreement with the EIC. Nevertheless, if the event or service requires travel or accommodation those are to be taken care of by the attendee. For the EIC funded companies and projects, there are possibilities to claim those costs under your current grant, please contact your project officer in this regard.
EIC BAS Global Offer is presented and available via the EIC Community. You will find there an event/service agenda and information relevant to application/expression of interest to participate in each individual BAS service. Access to some services like specific expertise and advice is triggered through the project review process or programme manager.
The EIC Community Platform is an exclusive, virtual business platform, where EIC innovators can connect and leverage potential business partnerships. It gathers all innovative companies and innovators funded under the European Innovation Council covering the EIC Accelerator, EIC Transition, EIC Pathfinder and Women TechEU programs, as well as coaches, national contact points, corporates, investors, procurers, staff of the EIC …and many more.
If you are...
an EIC beneficiary (Accelerator, Pathfinder, Transition, Women TechEU), access a one-stop-shop to:
- Register to EIC Business Acceleration Services, such as the EIC Corporate Programme, EIC Investor Programme, EIC Procurers Programme, EIC Community Talks & Trainings, EIC GHG Programme, EIC Women Leadership Programme, EIC Overseas Trade Fairs Programme
- Get access to your event group for photos and videos or background information;
- Create a personal and company profile;
- Use the powerful search engine to find like minded companies;
- Explore business opportunities among EIC peers;
- Publish your challenge or submit your solution on the EIC Challenge Platform;
- Expand networks with EIC ecosystem partners;
- Share your experience and get support from peers via horizontal and thematic groups;
- Co-create ideas and knowledge;
- Promote interesting other events to the EIC Community;
To have access to these sections, you will be requested to log in using your EU Login username and password. If you do not have one, you can create your EU Login here. If you are funded by the European Innovation Council, it may be that your user profile has been already automatically registered. In this case, just log in with EU Login username and password and you are already in!
not part of the internal EIC Network yet? Access the public side of the EIC Community Platform and find:
- The most relevant news, success stories, open calls and events promoted by the Business Acceleration Services are available outside the platform;
- Share the great news with your network: you can do it directly on your digital page.
Horizon Europe’s Coordination and Support actions exclude financing R&I activities, therefore, action 3 will only support pilots and test solutions that focus on actual systems proven in operational environment (competitive manufacturing in the case of key enabling technologies or in space).
For actions 2 and 3, it is respectively mentioned in the call text that “at least two EIC funded projects and companies to be invited per market engagement and consultation” and “at least one EIC funded company or project has to be included in this co-creation”, but then how to guarantee equal treatment and transparency amongst interested suppliers?
For actions 2 - market consultation – and action 3 – co-creation –, when public or private procurers will be selecting suppliers for consultation (action 2), or to co-create with (action 3), they will have to target primarily, but not exclusively, EIC beneficiaries.
Since public procurers will be fully responsible for the co-creation process (project management, expressing the needs, collecting the proposals, selecting the suppliers, co-creating with the suppliers, etc.), they will receive the full amount of the requested grant. The public procurer will thus be in charge of paying the selected suppliers.
To be noticed that the consortium submitting the proposal, will have to develop/design this aspect in their proposal to make it safer and stronger in terms of responding to the legal constraints.
No. In line with the Horizon Europe legal base, there are no geographical criteria or quotas used by the EIC in selecting projects and companies for funding. The evaluation criteria are specified in the relevant call texts. At the same time the EIC would like to encourage high quality applications from all EU countries and associated countries and works with the National Contact Points, the Enterprise Europe Networks and others to promote EIC funding opportunities across all regions and that potential applicants have support available.
You may apply to several EIC calls at the same time as long as the same costs are not financed twice by the EU or national budget.
- If you decide to apply to both Pathfinder Open and Challenge calls, please make sure to adapt your proposals in line with the different objectives and evaluation criteria of the relevant call.
- For Transition, given the fact the EIC Transition Open and Challenge calls are opening at the same time, we strongly discourage to submit the same proposal to both calls.
- For the EIC Accelerator, you can only apply to one call at a time and must choose between the Open and the Challenges. You may apply to another EIC Accelerator call once you have received the evaluation results of the first submission.
You can apply for EIC funding if you have an ongoing grant as long as the same costs are not financed twice by the EU or national budget.
- For Pathfinder, please make sure that you explain in your proposal how your ongoing H2020 grant(s) relate to your current application.
- For Transition, please make sure to fulfil the eligibility conditions described in the Work Programme (e.g. applications should be based on results generated by eligible projects specified in the Work Programme).
- For the EIC Accelerator you cannot apply for funding if you have an ongoing EIC Accelerator/EIC Pilot/SME Instrument project. Exceptionally, if you have an ongoing grant-only project, you can apply for an investment only component under the EIC Accelerator.
A list of countries associated to Horizon Europe is available on the Funding and Tenders portal. In addition, legal entities based in a third country which is officially candidate for association to Horizon Europe is eligible; however, the signature of any grant agreement with such entity will be subject to the positive conclusion of the association negotiation, including to Horizon Europe’s third pillar. Such a negotiation result will be made public on the Commission's dedicated Horizon Europe website.
A legal entity based in a third country which is not candidate for association to Horizon Europe can apply as part of a consortia in which the minimum number of EU or Associated Country partners are present. This applies to EIC Pathfinder and Transition calls which are open for consortia.
A legal entity based in a third country which is not candidate for association to Horizon Europe can apply at the short application stage for the EIC Accelerator but must relocate or establish an eligible company in an EU Member State of Associated Country before receiving any support.
Foreign interference occurs when activities are carried out by, or on behalf of, a foreign state-level actor, which are coercive, covert, deceptive, or corrupting and are contrary to the sovereignty, values, and interests of the European Union (EU).
The EU is a front-runner of international openness in R&I, at the same time, international cooperation can involve risks and challenges that must be taken into account. To support R&I actors in mitigating such risks, the Commission has published a toolkit for tackling foreign interference in R&I (European Commission, Directorate-General for Research and Innovation, Tackling R&I foreign interference: staff working document, 2022). Applicants are strongly recommended to familiarise themselves with this publication and to consider its relevance for the proposals they intend to submit.
K entities may apply to calls of the EIC funded by grants, including the Pathfinder scheme, Transition activities, and the grant only part of the EIC Accelerator. However, UK entities will only be eligible for funding (and to meet the minimum requirements for eligible partners within consortia) if the Horizon Europe association agreement with the UK applies at the time of signature of the grant agreement. Check more on the guidance for UK applicants.
For the EIC Accelerator, this means that UK start-ups and SMEs will be able to apply for the calls, but solely to request a “grant-only” support. UK entities will not be eligible to apply for “blended finance” (which combines a grant with an investment component) and UK entities already awarded a “grant-only” support will not be eligible for follow up equity investments from the EIC.
UK entities may apply for all forms of EIC Accelerator funding at Step 1 (short applications) but will need to relocate to an EU Member State or eligible Associated Country by the time of submitting a full application for support (other than “grant only”).
UK entities that win EIC funding will also be eligible to receive Business Acceleration Services (coaching, mentoring, events, etc.), except these relating to access to investors.
Under the Fast Track scheme, applicants do not apply directly to the EIC Accelerator call. Instead, the responsible funding bodies identified in the Work Programme decide whether an existing project is suitable for support under the EIC Accelerator based on a project review to assess the innovation or market deployment potential of such project.
The Fast Track is being implemented by a number of the Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs) of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) and further information can be found on their websites. The Fast Track is also available for ongoing EIC Pathfinder and Transition projects (including pilot Pathfinder/ FET projects funded under Horizon 2020). Eligible projects can contact their project officers for further information.
The Fast Track scheme referred to in Annex 4 to the Work Programme and the Fast Track to Research and Innovation (FTRI) referred to in Horizon Europe Regulation are two different things.
On the one hand, the FTRI is a procedure that may be applied to allow a faster, bottom-up access to funds for small collaborative consortia covering actions from fundamental research to market application. To this end, the FTRI may be proposed under some of the calls for proposals dedicated to select research and / or innovation actions Under the Global Challenges and European Industrial Competitiveness and the European Innovation Council Pathfinder parts of the Framework Programme.
On the other hand, the Fast Track scheme stems from Article 43(5) of Horizon Europe Regulation. Its purpose is to allow eligible funding bodies to directly submit for evaluation under the last award criterion (Article 43(4)(c)) a proposal for an innovation and market deployment action which already fulfils the first two criteria, provided that cumulative conditions as set out in the Regulation, in the Specific Programme, and in the Work Programme are met.
Would an on-going negotiation with an entity be considered as demonstrating concrete exploitation?
Beneficiaries may not have to disclose underlying detailed data and results when they commit to publish, patent or protect their results or when they demonstrate concrete exploitation; i.e. plan a specific use of the results for commercial purposes that will lead to an update of the Plan for dissemination and exploitation.
Entering in negotiation may constitute a step towards exploitation but a concrete exploitation will have to be materialised through a written commitment by the entity.
The granting authority will impose penalties when the beneficiary “continues to oppose to the dissemination by the granting authority or refuses to provide any data or document necessary for the said dissemination.” Hence, the granting authority will not impose penalties if the beneficiary attempts to disseminate and provides the means to the granting authority to support the dissemination.
The context in non-for-profit entities and in for-profit entities is different in regards to the level of exploitation of results or research findings. Indeed, exploitation may be an ancillary aim in non-for-profit legal entities. Therefore, the EIC provides for the necessary access rights for “the EIC inventor” in non-for-profit legal entities where these can be more impactful and most multiply exploitation opportunities.
We support universities in giving their researchers sufficient rights to help them turn their research output into innovation. However, our intention is not to be prescriptive with regards to how universities manage intellectual property.
The rules of intellectual property for the EIC Pathfinder and Transition activities are different from the usual Horizon Europe rules as the explicit aim of the EIC is to support disruptive and breakthrough technologies to be developed into innovations. In this sense, the goal is not only to support ‘knowledge output’ but most importantly to support ‘innovative output’ with commercial value and enable faster access to market.
These rules for the EIC Pathfinder and Transition were introduced last March as part of the first EIC work programme, following advice from the EIC pilot Advisory Board and in consultation with Member States.
The following are two particular additions to the usual Horizon Europe rules:
- Projects must consider potential innovation opportunities before publishing the results. The aim here is not to prevent publications but to ensure that publications do not inadvertently prevent innovation.
- Individual inventors (e.g. researchers where they qualify as inventors) in public institutions should have sufficient access rights to further use/exploit the results. This does not mean they have to own the results (as long as they have sufficient access rights) and allows for royalty sharing where the university provides support, and so is designed to work in tandem with effective university policies on IP and technology transfer.
- The rationale of these distinct features is that the EIC aims at delivering innovation and supporting the implementation of these innovations in companies, startups, spinouts or by other means (e.g. licensing, collaborations).
- In doing so, this addresses the relative weaknesses in technology transfer in Europe (for example, compared with the US), while being fully supportive of those universities and research institutions which have well-developed and effective technology transfer.
To become an EIC Inventor you need:
- to be employed or subcontracted by a non-for-profit legal entity;
- to have actively taken part in producing the results at stake and;
- to be entitled to appear on a publication of these results and/ or in an IP registration mechanism such as patent filing.
Then, the EIC inventor will be granted sufficient access rights to exploit the said results, only if their idea/ plan to exploit does not hinder the exploitation plan already agreed between the EIC and the EIC awardee. A key point to remember is that there is no transfer of ownership and the EIC awardee has the priority of exploitation. The only aim is to multiply the opportunities of exploitation of the EIC results in order to reach impact.
An example would be a PhD student or a post-doc who dedicated few years of their work to obtain the said results.