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18 Mar 2019

EC announces € 2 billion of funding for EIC pilot phase 2019-2020

At a press conference on 18 March 2019, European Commissioner for research, science and innovation, Carlos Moedas, announced that the European Commission (EC) would provide over €2 billion of funding in 2019-2020 for early stage to more mature projects of the European Innovation Council (EIC) pilot. The announcement was made ahead of the 21-22 March European Council discussion on innovation, industry and competitiveness. The funding will go to EIC “pathfinder” projects to support advanced technologies from the research base (call opening on 19 March 2019) and to the EIC “Accelerator” to support startups and SMEs in developing and scaling up innovations to the stage where they can attract private investment (call opens in June 2019). Under the “Accelerator” funding, companies will be able to access blended financing (grants and equity) of up to €15 million according to the EC.

Other steps announced by the EC towards the EIC, which is to become fully operational under Horizon Europe as of 2021, are the following: a call for applications for 15 to 20 innovation leaders to an EIC Advisory Board to oversee the EIC pilot and prepare the future EIC; 68 startups and SMEs selected for an overall funding of €120 million under the existing EIC pilot; and a soon to be opened call for application to recruit a first set of "programme managers" to provide hands-on support for funded projects.

The EIC pilot was launched in 2017, to identify and fund Europe's most innovative start-ups and SMEs. Since then, 1,276 innovative projects have received an overall funding of over €730 million from the EIC pilot.

For more information:

EC - press release

€2 billion of funding - EC reference documents

Call for innovation leaders (deadline: 10 May 2019)

Breakdown of EIC pilot beneficiaries per country and sector

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