Fast-Track and Plug-in schemes provide for a specific treatment of proposals that result from existing Horizon Europe or Horizon 2020 projects.
Fast Track and Plug In schemes to the EIC Accelerator
The Fast Track scheme (the ‘Fast Track’) and the Plug In scheme (the ‘Plug In’) are two novelties under Horizon Europe. They allow funding bodies managing other parts of the Horizon Europe and Horizon 2020 programmes (the Fast Track) and funding bodies managing certified national/regional programmes (the Plug In) to submit projects from their portfolio directly to the full application stage of the EIC Accelerator.
To do so, eligible programmes must first perform a dedicated project review of an ongoing (or recently terminated) project and the proposal stemming from such project.
Therefore with the Fast Track and the Plug In, applicants do not apply directly to the EIC Accelerator call. Instead, it is the eligible programmes that decide, through a project review, whether a project is suitable for support under the EIC Accelerator.
The project review must be conducted using award criteria equivalent to the ones set out for the ‘short application stage’ of the EIC Accelerator (and therefore centred on the underlying idea of that potential new action) and using an evaluation process that guarantees an independent assessment of proposals in compliance with Horizon Europe legislation.
State of play of the Fast Track scheme
Since its official launch in 2021, 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) for selected funding schemes. In particular, the following KICs have submitted companies through the Fast Track:
- EIT Health
- EIT Raw Materials
- EIT Climate-KIC
- EIT Urban Mobility
- EIT Digital
If you are a company supported by one of these EIT KICs, you can check the website of the KIC to see which of their funding schemes are eligible for the Fast Track and how to apply. At a first phase in 2022 and 2023, each KIC can submit up to 20 companies though the Fast Track.
In addition, the Fast Track is also being implemented for EIC Pathfinder and EIC Transition projects (including under EIC pilot) managed by EISMEA. If you are a participant in a Pathfinder or Transition project (including recently completed projects) and are interested in the Fast Track you can contact your Project Officers (POs) using the messaging facility of the Funding & tenders portal (which will also work for closed projects).
As from 2023, also selected companies awarded a grant under Horizon 2020 under the EIC pilot Accelerator managed by the Agency may be invited to a project review for assessing their suitability for the Fast Track scheme. Your Project Officer will contact you if your case is deemed appropriate for the Fast Track scheme.
Further information about the Fast Track is provided in Annex 3 to the 2023 EIC Work Programme and in the Guidance document for funding bodies implementing the Fast Track.
State of play of the Plug In scheme
The Plug In applies to proposals stemming from existing national or regional programmes that have been assessed and certified.
The pilot phase of the Plug In scheme was officially open for implementation in January 2023, after two rounds of assessments by a group of independent experts led to the certification of 50 programmes (including 16 ‘with conditions’) from 21 Member States and 3 Associated Countries.
If you want to know which programmes have been certified so far, please Go to the list of certified programmes
To know how the Plug In scheme is being implemented, please contact the responsible funding body for that programme.
Further information about the pilot Plug In is provided in Annex 4 to the 2023 EIC Work Programme.
Group of experts
In autumn 2021, the Commission appointed a group of independent experts to assess the national or regional programmes submitted by the Members States and Associated Countries to Horizon Europe for the EIC pilot Plug In. The objective of group of experts is to assess these programmes and certify the ones that meet the requirements to be eligible for the Plug In scheme.