5

European Innovation Council

The European Innovation Council (EIC) was introduced by the European Commission to support the commercialisation of high-risk, high-impact technologies in the European Union.
European Innovation Council
Leadership team

Carina Faber (Programme Manager, Renewable energy conversion and alternative resource exploitation)

Samira Nik (Programme Manager, Quantum tech and electronics)

Isabel Obieta (Programme Manager, Responsible electronics)

Stella Tkatchova (Programme Manager, Space systems & technologies)

Iordanis Arzimanoglou (Programme Manager, Health and biotechnology)

Enric Claverol-Tinturé (Programme Manager, Medical technologies and medical devices)

Antonio Marco Pantaleo (Programme Manager, Energy systems and green technologies)

Francesco Matteucci (Programme Manager, Advanced materials for energy and environmental sustainability)

Franc Mouwen (Programme Manager, Architecture engineering construction technologies)

Ivan Stefanic (Programme Manager, Food chain technologies, novel & sustainable food)

Headquarters
Brussels, Belgium
Region served
European Union
Year stablished
2018
Social Media
Summary

The European Innovation Council (EIC) is an initiative established under the EU Horizon Europe program with a budget of €10.1 billion. Its primary aim is to support game-changing innovations throughout their lifecycle, from early-stage research to proof of concept, technology transfer, and the financing and scaling up of startups and SMEs.

The EIC is guided by the EIC Board, which consists of independent members appointed from various sectors of the innovation ecosystem, including entrepreneurs, researchers, investors, and corporates. This board is responsible for strategising and implementing the EIC's activities.

To efficiently manage funding and drive innovation, the EIC employs specialised EIC Programme Managers who have a deep understanding of their respective fields. These managers develop visions for innovation and technology breakthroughs and oversee portfolios of projects aimed at achieving these goals. They work for limited time periods of up to four years and play a crucial role in designing and implementing EIC funding in their specific areas.

One distinctive aspect of the EIC is its provision of funding for individual companies, primarily startups and SMEs, through grants and investments. The investments are currently in the form of direct equity or quasi-equity investments and are managed by the EIC Fund.

The EIC, launched in March 2021, aims to support the commercialisation of high-risk, high-impact technologies in the European Union. It offers funding, networking and partnership opportunities, and business acceleration services to researchers, startups, and SMEs, facilitating the transition of their innovations into the market.


History

The European Innovation Council (EIC) has evolved through various phases, with the pilot phase being launched in 2018. This phase brought together existing funding instruments from the Horizon 2020 program, particularly the SME instrument and the Future & Emerging Technology (FET) program, under a single work program. The aim was to provide direct support to innovators across Europe.

During the EIC pilot phase, significant support was provided to numerous projects and startups. Over 430 projects focusing on Future and Emerging Technologies were funded, involving more than 2,700 partners. These projects have resulted in over 3,000 peer-reviewed scientific articles, more than 600 innovations, and over 100 patents. Additionally, more than 5,700 startups and SMEs received support, raising over €5 billion in follow-up investments. On average, these companies more than doubled their number of employees within a two-year period.

In January 2021, the European Commission further strengthened cooperation in the innovation ecosystem by signing a Memorandum of Understanding between the EIC and the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT). This collaboration aimed to enhance support for the best European entrepreneurs by providing quality support services for the deployment and scaling up of innovations. The partnership encompassed innovators, innovative SMEs and start-ups, higher education institutions, and research organizations, fostering faster and more impactful innovation deployment and growth.


Goals and Purpose

The European Innovation Council (EIC) has been established with clear goals and purposes to foster innovation and drive economic growth in the European Union. The primary aim of the EIC is to support the commercialisation of high-risk, high-impact technologies and innovations developed by researchers, start-ups, and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) within the European Union.

One of the main goals of the EIC is to provide financial support throughout the entire lifecycle of innovation, covering activities from early-stage research and proof of concept to technology transfer, financing, and the scale-up of start-ups and SMEs. With a substantial budget of €10.1 billion under the EU Horizon Europe programme, the EIC aims to allocate funding to game-changing innovations and breakthrough technologies, ensuring that promising ideas receive the necessary financial resources to thrive.

In addition to financial support, the EIC serves as a platform for networking, partnerships, and business acceleration. It offers innovators access to a wide range of opportunities, including networking events, matchmaking sessions, and mentorship programs. By facilitating connections between entrepreneurs, researchers, investors, corporates, and other key players in the innovation ecosystem, the EIC aims to foster collaboration and knowledge exchange, driving the development and adoption of disruptive technologies.

Furthermore, the EIC plays a vital role in bridging the gap between research and market application. It aims to facilitate the successful transition of innovative ideas and technologies from the laboratory to the market, supporting the creation of sustainable businesses and stimulating economic growth. By providing support services, guidance, and expertise, the EIC empowers innovators and entrepreneurs to navigate the complexities of commercialisation, ensuring that groundbreaking inventions reach their full potential and generate tangible societal and economic benefits.


Impact

The European Innovation Council (EIC) has made a significant impact in driving innovation and fostering the development of breakthrough technologies within the European Union. Through its various programs and funding opportunities, the EIC has supported numerous projects and companies, leading to tangible outcomes and positive outcomes for the innovation ecosystem.

Under the EIC Pathfinder program, researchers, start-ups, and SMEs have received grants of up to €3-4 million to explore and develop radically new technologies. This support at the early stages has allowed innovators to advance their ideas and reach proof of concept, laying the foundation for future breakthroughs.

Building on the technologies generated by the Pathfinder program, the EIC Transition funding has played a crucial role in maturing and validating novel technologies. Grants of up to €2.5 million have enabled innovators to develop their technologies in real-world environments and establish a solid business case for future commercialization. This support has bridged the gap between laboratory research and market deployment, facilitating the successful transition of innovations.

The EIC Accelerator program has had a substantial impact on individual SMEs, particularly start-ups and spinout companies. By providing a combination of grant funding and direct equity investments, the EIC Accelerator has enabled these companies to develop and scale up game-changing innovations. With financial support of up to €2.5 million for innovation development costs and investments of up to €15 million for market deployment and scale-up, the EIC Accelerator has empowered SMEs to bring their innovations to market and achieve significant growth.

An important aspect of the EIC's impact lies in the comprehensive support ecosystem it provides. Selected companies receive coaching, mentoring, access to investors and corporates, and numerous networking opportunities within the EIC community. This holistic approach ensures that innovators not only receive financial support but also gain the necessary resources and connections to thrive in the competitive landscape.

Furthermore, the introduction of the EIC Fund in 2020 has strengthened the investment component of the EIC Accelerator. With investments ranging from €0.5 million to €15 million, the EIC Fund provides patient capital in the form of equity or quasi-equity to selected breakthrough innovation companies. By bridging the funding gap and leveraging co-investments, the EIC Fund plays a vital role in supporting start-ups and SMEs in their scaling-up journey.


References
European Innovation Council
Leadership team

Carina Faber (Programme Manager, Renewable energy conversion and alternative resource exploitation)

Samira Nik (Programme Manager, Quantum tech and electronics)

Isabel Obieta (Programme Manager, Responsible electronics)

Stella Tkatchova (Programme Manager, Space systems & technologies)

Iordanis Arzimanoglou (Programme Manager, Health and biotechnology)

Enric Claverol-Tinturé (Programme Manager, Medical technologies and medical devices)

Antonio Marco Pantaleo (Programme Manager, Energy systems and green technologies)

Francesco Matteucci (Programme Manager, Advanced materials for energy and environmental sustainability)

Franc Mouwen (Programme Manager, Architecture engineering construction technologies)

Ivan Stefanic (Programme Manager, Food chain technologies, novel & sustainable food)

Headquarters
Brussels, Belgium
Region served
European Union
Year stablished
2018
Social Media