What is the EIC pilot and who is it for?

Why an EIC?

The EIC supports a European Green Deal, an economy that works for people and a Europe fit for the digital age.

Europe needs to capitalise on its science, innovative SMEs and start-ups to compete in global markets increasingly defined by new technologies. That is why the European Commission has introduced a European Innovation Council (EIC) to support high-risk, high-impact ideas, turning science into new business and accelerating the scale-up of ’game-changing’ innovators shaping the future.

Factsheet about the EIC pdf

EIC datahub

What the EIC pilot does

The EIC pilot aims to support top-class innovators, entrepreneurs, small companies and researchers with bright ideas and the ambition to scale-up internationally.

The EIC pilot provides funding and opportunities for innovative researchers, innovators and entrepreneurs - often startups and companies - that

  • are radically different from existing products, services or business models
  • are highly risky
  • have the potential to scale up internationally

The EIC pilot supports ideas from any area of technology or business sector, including novel combinations of technologies and business models. Support is available from feasibility to development to scale-up stages.

EIC pilot support is available to innovators from all EU Member States, countries associated to the EU Horizon 2020 programme, and to innovators from all parts of the world who establish their activities in Europe.

In June 2018 the European Council invited the Commission to launch a new pilot initiative on breakthrough innovation, still within Horizon 2020. In response, the EIC Enhanced Pilot 2019-2020 was launched and features:

  • better, simpler funding instruments within Horizon 2020 rules
  • more flexible and pro-active management
  • oversight by an EIC Advisory Board

New features 2019-2020

The EIC pilot final two year phase includes:

  • Over €2 billion in funding for 2019-2020 covering the innovation chain
    • ‘Pathfinder’ projects to support creating novel breakthrough technologies from the research base
    • ‘Accelerator’ funding to support startups and SMEs develop and scale up innovations to the stage where they can attract private investment (open in June). Under ‘accelerator’ funding companies will be able to access blended financing (grants and equity) of up to €15 million
  • 22 innovation leaders appointed to an EIC Advisory Board. The board oversees the EIC pilot, prepares the future EIC, and champions the EIC globally
  • A first set of programme managers with leading expertise in a number of future and emerging technology areas to provide practical support for projects funded by the Pathfinder