European Innovation Council (EIC): Tackling New Horizons

European Innovation Council

The European Innovation Council (EIC) is part of the broader Horizon Europe programme. Like everything connected with Horizon Europe (formerly Horizon 2020), the EIC has announced a new working programme for the period 2021-2027. It has a total budget of €10 billion. The first deadlines are in May this year. In addition, for some calls it is possible to submit a short application at any time—including now!

New on the Horizon?

The various grants of the EIC were previously known as the SME instruments, Fast Track to Innovation (FTI), and Future and Emerging Technologies (FET). The programmes have now taken on new names:

Open Funding

  • EIC Pathfinder Open
  • EIC Transition Open
  • EIC Accelerator Open

Strategic Challenges

  • EIC Pathfinder Challenges
  • EIC Transition Challenges
  • EIC Accelerator Challenges

As is evident from the above, the calls are divided into open calls, and strategic challenges. The open calls in particular are new to this funding instrument and allow projects to tackle any relevant topic. Whilst, the challenges focus on specific technological and innovation breakthroughs.

Thematic Focus

The pre-defined challenges set by the EIC are related to the EU priorities for transitioning to a green, digital, and healthy society. In addition to the Green Deal, the Recovery Plan for Europe in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic is an important focus. We see this reflected in thematic challenges related to medical technologies (e.g., medical tools to activate brain tissue; cell and gene therapy; and engineering living materials), but also, for example, new routes to green hydrogen production, and energy harvesting and storage technologies.

Overall, the goal of the EIC instruments has remained the same: to identify and support breakthrough technologies and innovations with the potential to scale up and become (international) market leaders. There is an instrument for every TRL level (from R&D work, to validation and demonstration). Staying true to its old name, the EIC continues to support the development and scaling up of start-ups and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

Blended Financing

In the table below, we provide a brief overview of the available budgets. Please note that project budgets are indicative ; higher budgets will be considered, provided they are well-motivated.

CallTotal BudgetBudget per ProjectEligible costs
EIC Pathfinder Open €168 million€3 million100%
EIC Transition Open€59.6 million€2.5 million100%
EIC Accelerator Open€592.5 million€0,5 - €17 million70% Blended financing
EIC Pathfinder Challenges€132 million€4 million100%
EIC Transition Challenges€40.5 million€2.5 million100%
EIC Accelerator Challenges€494.76 - 496.76 millionMax. €15 millionBlended financing

As can be seen in the table, for the Accelerator instruments, various blended financing models are available, for example combining grant money with investments, and additional EIC funding instruments. These rules are fairly complicated! Hence, if you are interested in making use of an EIC instrument, please do not hesitate to contact us as soon as possible. We are keen to help you navigate your new horizon.

Start Today!

The first deadlines are in May this year, as can be observed in the table below.

EIC Pathfinder Open19 May 2021
EIC Transition Open22 September 2021
EIC Accelerator Open9 June 2021
6 October 2021
EIC Pathfinder Challenges27 October 2021
EIC Transition Challenges22 September 2021
EIC Accelerator Challenges9 June 2021
6 October 2021

Importantly for the EIC Accelerator instruments (both Open and Challenges), a two-stage application process applies. During the first stage, applicants provide a 5-page form; 10-slide PowerPoint presentation; and 3-minute pitch to present their project. If you would like to submit a short proposal, we advise you to contact our consultants, who can help you determine the optimum moment for your first submission.


The new application procedure is worthy of note, as this is a trend we see emerging across both the national and international grant landscape. Our consultants are keen to support you in every aspect of your grant application, including pitching, presentations, and project presentation videos. Would you like to know what can do for you? Contact us today to discuss the possibilities.

Volgt u ons al op LinkedIn?


Share this article via: LinkedIn