The European Commission has announced a further €2 billion in funding for the pilot phase of the European Innovation Council.
The current pilot scheme was launched in 2017 and is set to run until 2020, with full implementation under the Horizon Europe programme projected for the 2021-2027 budget period. To date the pilot phase has allocated more than €730 million to 1276 small and medium enterprises and startups, with companies’ eligibility for the funding determined through competitions and face-to-face interviews.
The Commission has laid out the steps it intends to take over the next two years to prepare the European Innovation Council to make the transition from a pilot to a fully realised programme:
- Distributing more than €2 billion in funding across the “innovation chain”, covering “pathfinder” projects which aim to develop new technologies from the research base and “accelerator” finance for projects which have grown enough to begin soliciting private investment;
- Establishing a European Innovation Council Advisory Board, to consist of between 15 and 20 “innovation leaders” who will oversee the running of the pilot, prepare the council for its full implementation in 2021; and promote the council worldwide; and
- Appointing programme managers who will be able to provide “full-time, hands-on support” for projects receiving funding.
Carlos Moedas, Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, said: “With the European Innovation Council, we don’t simply put money on the table. We create a whole innovation system to place Europe at the forefront in strategic technologies and innovation that will shape our futures such as artificial intelligence, biotechnology and zero-emission energy. We must focus on the needs of the innovators, who are the ones who will generate jobs, strengthen our global competitiveness and improve our daily lives.”
Europe provides 20 per cent of the world’s investment in research and innovation, despite only holding around seven per cent of the global population. The Commission aims to continue its high level of research and development funding; and has pledged a total of €100 billion to Horizon Europe, its research and innovation programme, for the period spanning 2021 to 2027.