The EIC Accelerator blended financing (formerly SME Instrument Phase 2, grant and equity) by the European Commission (EC) and European Innovation Council (EIC) is designed for startups and Small- and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SME). It awards up to €2.5 million in grant and €15 million in equity financing per project (€17.5 million total) and is the most well-funded funding instrument in the EIC portfolio.
Relevant for startups as well as professional writers, freelancers or consultants, the EIC renews its Work Programme annually with updates to the Challenges, budgets and cut-offs being common.
The previous articles on the draft of the 2023 EIC Work Programme have summarised key changes and aspects relevant to future applicants (see Part 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8). This article presents an update following the official publication with regard to the EIC’s Challenges and budget which have undergone changes since the leaked draft of 2022.
The budgets for the EIC Pathfinder, EIC Transition and EIC Accelerator have been set as follows:
|Budget in M€ (cut-offs)||Open||Challenges|
|EIC Pathfinder||179.50 (1)||163.50 (1)|
|EIC Transition||67.86 (2)||60.50 (2)|
|EIC Accelerator||611.75 (4)||523.49 (3)|
The EIC Accelerator remains the most popular and well-funded program in the EIC’s portfolio and the Challenges retain their strategic importance as is evident in the large budget allocated to specific technology areas.
The EIC Accelerator Challenges
Compared to the draft work programme, the specific Challenges for the EIC Accelerator have largely remained the same with the exception of semiconductor technologies being included in the Challenge for quantum computing technologies (i.e. at least 30% of the €100 million is allocated to each field).
This is likely based on the ongoing lack of semiconductor manufacturing capacities in the European Union and the negative impact on technology developments and climate goals.
The exact technology areas and restrictions of the EIC Accelerator Challenges are described in the Work Programme while they are summarised below:
- Novel biomarker-based assays to guide personalised cancer treatment
- Aerosol and surface decontamination for pandemic management
- Energy storage
- New European Bauhaus and Architecture, Engineering and Construction digitalisation for decarbonisation
- Emerging semiconductor or quantum technology components
- Novel technologies for resilient agriculture
- Customer-driven, innovative space technologies and services
The budgets for the 2023 EIC Accelerator Challenges are:
|Challenge||Budget in M€|
|Biomarkers for cancer||65|
|Decontamination for pandemic management||65|
|New European Bauhaus||65|
|Quantum or Semiconductor components||100|
|Space technologies and services||65|
Note: The budget for the individual EIC Accelerator Challenges total €525 million which approximates the €523.49 million allocated in the top-down budget.
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These tips are not only useful for European startups, professional writers, consultants and Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SME) but are generally recommended when writing a business plan or investor documents.
Deadlines: Post-Horizon 2020, the EIC Accelerator accepts Step 1 submissions now while the deadlines for the full applications (Step 2) under Horizon Europe are:
- Step 1 (short proposal)
- open now
- Step 2 (business plan)
- 1st cut-off: -
- 2nd cut-off: -
- 3rd cut-off: -
- 4th cut-off: October 19th 2023 (extended)
- Step 3 (interview)
- 1st cut-off: -
- 2nd cut-off: -
- 3rd cut-off: October 2nd to 6th (extended)
- 4th cut-off: November 27th to December 8th
The Step 1 applications must be submitted weeks in advance of Step 2. The next EIC Accelerator cut-off for Step 2 (full proposal) can be found here. After Brexit, UK companies can still apply to the EIC Accelerator under Horizon Europe albeit with non-dilutive grant applications only - thereby excluding equity-financing.
Contact: You can reach out to us via this contact form to work with a professional consultant.
EU, UK & US Startups: Alternative financing options for EU, UK and US innovation startups are the EIC Pathfinder (combining Future and Emerging Technologies - FET Open & FET Proactive) with €4M per project, Thematic Priorities, European Innovation Partnerships (EIP), Innovate UK with £3M (for UK-companies only) as well as the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grants with $1M (for US-companies only).
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by Stephan Segler, PhD
Professional Grant Consultant at Segler Consulting
General information on the EIC Accelerator template, professional grant writing and how to prepare a successful application can be found in the following articles: