The European Commission is awarding € 32.7 million to 15 innovative projects, involving 67 partners in 15 countries to help speed up their access to the market. Each project will receive up to € 3 million, under the second round of the Fast Track to Innovation (FTI) scheme, run under the EU's research and innovation programme Horizon 2020.
The projects include designing a scooping device for fighting forest fires by air, bringing the recovery and reuse of plastic waste from photovoltaic panels to an industrial scale, developing a novel diagnostic to make a better use of antibiotics, making a mobile 3D-scanner for forensic data and building an exoskeleton to rehabilitate patients with spinal cord or brain injury.
The FTI scheme was launched in January 2015. The second round of the scheme received 229 project proposals involving 922 participants in total by the 1 September 2015 cut-off date. This brings the total of proposals received to 498 since the launch of the programme, of which 31 received more than € 68 million funding in total. The success rate for this round was 6.6%. Among the consortia that received funding almost half were SMEs.
The FTI is a fully bottom up measure promoting innovation activities at the close-to market stage. It supports mature innovative concepts that have already been tested. Supported activities include systems validation in real working conditions, testing, piloting, validation of business models and standard setting and pre-normative research.
The scheme runs during 2015-2016 as a pilot initiative under Horizon 2020, with a budget of € 200 million to support any topic under the “Societal Challenges” and the specific objective “Leadership in Enabling and Industrial Technologies (LEITs)”. This thematic openness – combined with openness to all kinds of innovation entities, will nurture trans-disciplinary and cross-sector cooperation for growth through innovation.
The pilot is implemented through one common and continuous open call. Proposals can be submitted at any time. The next cut-off dates for applications are 15 March, 1 June and 25 October 2016. Continuation of the Fast Track to Innovation beyond 2016 will depend on the results of an in-depth evaluation of the scheme.