Following the launch of the European Innovation Council (EIC) in March, the European Commission opened the first EIC Accelerator calls on 9 April 2021. The funding worth over €1 billion aims to help scale up start-ups and small and medium-sized businesses that have the potential to achieve high impact. While over half of the funding is open to breakthrough innovations in any field, €495 million are earmarked for innovations that support the European Green Deal as well as digital and health technologies.
The EIC Accelerator focuses on scientific discoveries or technological breakthroughs which need significant funding over a longer timeframe before returns can be generated. Such innovations often struggle to attract financing because the risks and time involved are generally too high. This funding enables the innovators to attract the full investment amounts that are needed to scale up in a shorter timeframe. The financing model offers start-ups and SMEs grants of up to €2.5 million combined with equity investments through the EIC Fund ranging from €500,000 to €15 million.
On the same day, the Commission opened the EIC Pathfinder programme, with a budget of €168 million. Interdisciplinary teams of researchers can apply for research and innovation grants that will support them to realise their breakthrough ideas and have a transformative positive effect on the economy and society. The grants that vary from €3 to €4 million will focus on game-changing technologies that will address global challenges and improve our lives.