• Posted 11-May-2020

European Innovation Council: From deep-tech research to visionary innovation and scale-ups

The Advisory Board of the European Innovation Council (EIC) has presented its new vision for the future to support world-class science and innovations. The new motto is “from deep-tech research to visionary innovation and scale-ups”.

The EIC aims at supporting top-class innovators, entrepreneurs, small companies and scientists with bright ideas and the ambition to scale up internationally. Its objective is to bring together the parts of the funding programme Horizon 2020 that provide funding, advice and networking opportunities for those at cutting edge of innovation.

The Advisory Board, which consists of experienced innovators, entrepreneurs, researchers and investors, presented a new statement on future approach to support innovative European solutions to current global challenges. The statement implicitly emphasizes:

Now is the time to encourage visionary and gamechanging innovators, researchers, entrepreneurs and investors; to direct resources into high-impact ideas, ventures and investments; and for our industries and new businesses to lead on major innovation opportunities emanating from deep-tech in the coming years. It is time to show talented young innovators (researchers and entrepreneurs) that Europe is the best place for them to develop their potential and realise their dreams and ambitions.

The new vision follows the success of existing funding schemes and it promises further conformity with general principles of equal opportunity, picking up high-risk/high-impact ideas, strenghtening interdisciplinary collaborations and investing in the best teams and companies to push the innovative ideas forward to the market. Moreover, the EIC wants to challenge system biases, which tend to discriminate against e.g. unconventional thinking, women innovators, or those who lack track record. In a summary, the main goals and inspirations are following:  

The EIC will generate rapid impact through its integration of two highly successful existing programmes: the Future and Emerging Technologies (FET now Pathfinder) and the SME Instrument (now Accelerator).  We can learn from others, such as the US Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency’s experience with breakthrough technologies or how venture capitalists combine finance and mentorship. But it would be a mistake to just cut-and-paste. The EIC will be unique in combining an advanced science-and-technology research programme with an accelerator programme for start-ups and SMEs, and for integrating traditional grant support together with a dedicated fund for equity investment, building therefore ONE innovation community. The EIC will become the hallmark of excellence for impact-oriented innovators in the same way that the European Research Council (ERC) is for researchers.

According to the statement, so far, every euro of EIC support for a start-up or SME has triggered follow-on investments of €2.4. Aside from the funding mechanism (the budget for the period 2021-2027 should be €10 billion at least), the EIC wants to provide high class mentoring and advice to successful applicants, from the early research phase to demonstration and scale-up. All these points will make the EIC a globally recognised innovation flagship for Europe.

Source: Digital Single Market News (https://bit.ly/35P2atI)