The EIC pilot supports top-class innovators, entrepreneurs, small companies and scientists with bright ideas and the ambition to scale up internationally. It brings together the parts of Horizon 2020 that provide funding, advice and networking opportunities for those at cutting edge of innovation.

With this aim the European Commission on the 18 March 2019 published the updated version of the Work Program called Enhanced European Innovation Council (EIC) pilot for the period 2019-2020 of Horizon 2020 program, with the allocated budget of around 2 billion euros. The updated Work Program brings together a number of existing funding instruments and some new features, which will foresee next Horizon Europe 2021-2027 Program. Particularly, the Pathfinder (FET Open and FET Proactive) will support ambitious and high-risky collaborative research projects aiming at developing radical and innovative technologies.

The Accelerator (SME Instrument) will address SMEs and start-ups with radically innovative marketable ideas, with the aim of accelerating their scaling-up on European and global markets.

Among the main changes introduced in the updated version of the Work Program are:

  • Phase 1 SME Instrument will be discontinued; the final deadline for applications will be 5 September 2019.
  • New financing option, an equity component, is integrated in the current Phase 2 SME Instrument (EIC Accelerator), starting from October 9th 2019. From this deadline the funding will be provided in the form of grant only, or blended finance (combining grant and equity).
  • Further details on the equity option will be announced by the Commission in the coming weeks.
  • Starting from the 9 October 2019 single beneficiary only (a single company, not a consortium) can apply for Phase 2/EIC Accelerator.

The current Work Program 2019-2020 brings together under the common Framework several Instruments such as Open FETs, Proactive FETs, SME InstrumentsFast Track to Innovation and Inducement Prize in order to strengthen breakthrough innovations and to provide support to innovative firms and entrepreneurs with the potential to scale up rapidly at European and global levels.

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