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European Innovation Council

Seals of Excellence

What are the EIC Accelerator and the EIC Transition activities Seals of Excellence ?


The EIC Accelerator Seal of Excellence and the EIC Transition activities Seal of Excellence are quality labels awarded to project proposals submitted by start-ups and SMEs under Horizon Europe, the EU's research and innovation funding programme until 2027, to help these proposals find alternative funding.

Projects that were judged to deserve funding by independent experts gathered within EIC juries, but did not get it only due to budget limits, may receive such Seals of Excellence.

This now well-known quality label recognises the value of the proposal and helps other funding bodies take advantage of the Horizon Europe evaluation process.

Provided that the beneficiary company has given prior consent to the EIC & SMEs Executive Agency (EISMEA) to do so, its basic contact information can be communicated to any trustworthy alternative funding source.

Characteristics of the Seal of Excellence

The Seal of Excellence provides indicates basic information on the proposal, the call and the submitter.

It demonstrates political commitment by displaying the signatures of the two Commissioners respectively in charge of innovation and regional policy.

It is unique and safe. It is digitally sealed against fraud, as is the project proposal and evaluation summary report.


How to receive it?

Depending on the decision of the jury responsible for hearing the management team of the start-up/ SME carrying out the corresponding innovation project, excellent proposals submitted to Horizon Europe’s EIC Accelerator or EIC Transition that meet all the selection criteria, but cannot be funded under the available call budget, may be awarded an EIC Seal of Excellence.

The Seal of Excellence Certificate is delivered to SMEs, including start-ups, when they receive their evaluation results from the EIC (EISMEA).


How to use it?

The Seal of Excellence

  • certifies the high-quality of your proposal
  • can build your reputation and
  • is a great opportunity.

Tips to find funding

  • Consider making all documents at your disposal (Seal of Excellence, full proposal, evaluation summary report etc.) available to the funders you approach.
  • Tell your funding body that the Seal of Excellence Certificate as well as the evaluation summary report and the proposal are fraud-proof and digitally protected.Diversify your search for funding in terms of sources (public or private) and type (grants / financial instruments). You can also try to combine grants with financial instruments (loans, equity, etc.)