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What is the EIC pilot and who is it for?

What is the European Innovation Council (EIC) pilot?

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 European Commission have confirmed the intention to launch an enhanced EIC pilot initiative in 2019, following the European Council's request in July this year. The enhanced pilot will build on the structure of the EIC under the Horizon Europe proposal to fast track disruptive and market-creating innovation. Further details of the pilot will be released in the last quarter of 2018. The pilot will be implemented using 2019-2020 budgets under Horizon 2020, and will involve a revision to the Horizon 2020 work programme.

A first phase of the EIC pilot was launched on 27th October 2017 as part of the Horizon 2020 Work Programme 2018-2020. These instruments continue to offer funding to innovative companies in support of market-creating innovations.

It offers in a single place:

  • €2.7 billion in funding for the period 2018-2020
  • Opportunities for networking, mentoring and coaching
  • Strategic advice to upgrade the innovation ecosystem in Europe

It brings together the parts of Horizon 2020 that support high-risk/high-return, breakthrough research or market creating innovation and will experiment with a number of new approaches.

A new initiative that will empower innovators to make a difference

Who is the EIC pilot aimed at?

The EIC pilot focuses funding and opportunities on innovators, startups and companies with ideas and innovations which:

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

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

How the EIC pilot was designed and what is next

The EIC pilot is running under the Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme which ends in 2020.

The EIC pilot was designed on the basis of the results of a call for ideas carried out in spring 2016.

A workshop was held in July 2016 to discuss the outcome of the call for ideas and verify that the responses represented stakeholders' views accurately.

In 2018, the Commission will present proposals for the next EU research and innovation framework programme beginning in 2021.

This would include a proposal for a fully-fledged European Innovation Council including its mandate, organisational form, governance, and budget, and will take into account the interim evaluation of Horizon 2020 carried out in spring 2017.

Summary of the workshop pdf

Overview of Responses to the Call for Ideas pdf