The European Commission has a variety of channels where updates and news are published. For the EIC Accelerator (SME Instrument Phase 2), there is not a single, centralized source of information but a variety of fragmented channels which should be scanned periodically in order to remain up-to-date on recent developments.
This is essential in preparing a successful grant (or blended finance) application since proposal template updates are usually unannounced and implementing them can be critical for success.
It is also important to always remain in the loop regarding the European Innovation Councils (EIC) newest strategies since they can make the difference between an immediate rejection (i.e. non-environmental applications during the Green Deal cut-off) and receiving a fair proposal evaluation.
Startups, as well as Small- and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SME), should be particularly careful to do not miss any details since, for example, the United Kingdom (UK) is now only allowed to apply for grant financing under the EIC Accelerator but not for equity (i.e. blended finance) for the deadline on October 7th 2020 due to Brexit. After Horizon 2020, the UK’s future is likewise uncertain as it relates to Horizon Europe in 2021-2027.
In the past, changes have also been made to the number of applicants whereas consortia were allowed pre-2019 but the current EIC Accelerator is exclusively a single-applicant program.
The following is a short collection of the most important websites and pages which are used to publicise relevant EIC Accelerator (SME Instrument Phase 2) updates. These are not only important for consultants and professional writers but also for applicants who are currently resubmitting a proposal and want to verify if templates or guidelines have changed since the last submission.
Note: The list is focussing on updates rather than informative material so manuals and general guidelines are excluded.
The EIC twitter account (@EUeic) is one of the most useful resources for receiving the newest EIC Accelerator updates. Information regarding interview invitations, delays and other general changes is often published on Twitter first. It is always worth studying the account’s timeline and replies when considering to apply for the grant financing since essential updates will likely be found there (i.e. EIC Accelerator Interviewees from March Deadline Unable to Apply for May Cut-Off)
2. EIC Accelerator Call Page
The official call page for the EIC Accelerator is likewise rich in content, ranging from the current application deadlines, over documentation on the grant status to an update feed which often details the number of submissions received and sometimes includes flash reports which contain statistics on the actual call budget, above-threshold proposals and other relevant information.
The collection of documents also contains, amongst other things, a complete list of the financed companies and brief information on their respective projects. Updates are infrequent and inconsistent but valuable in most cases.
One of the most important aspects of staying up to date with the EIC Accelerator is the official documentation for the Work Programme and the Proposal Template. Both documents are usually quietly uploaded by the EU and replace the old documents automatically which means that a writer or consultant has to periodically check if the files have changed.
The easiest way to do this is, for example, to search for EIC Accelerator template PDF on Google and to check the PDF for its current version which is given at the beginning of the document (i.e. the last update as indicated in the history table). The details of the performed changes are usually conveniently listed as well which makes studying the new template easier (i.e. view EIC Accelerator: New Proposal Template from March 20th).
The same is true for the Work Programme which is just as important as the proposal template and can be searched and investigated in the same way.
4. European Innovation Council (EIC) Newsletter
The EIC has recently created a newsletter which is designed to keep all interested parties up to date. While it might grow in the future, so far, the content has been infrequent and less informative than other outlets due to simple re-posting of existing content.
5. Newsroom: EASME and SME Instrument News
The search pages on the EU’s Newsroom can be very useful in filtering for relevant information related to topics of interest. The Executive Agency for Small- and Medium-Sized Enterprises (EASME) and European Innovation Council (EIC) are great choices to search for since they often publish EIC Accelerator- related content. Other options are keywords such as Innovation or other similar terms.
6. Related Websites or Institutions
Alternative resources for EIC Accelerator-related content are informative websites by consultancies specialised on the grant or initiatives such as Access4SMEs and Access2EIC. Social media can also be a useful way to identify quality information sources (i.e. #eicaccelerator on Twitter) and can be beneficial for both prospect- and awarded-companies.
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) will be on March 16th 2022, June 1st 2022 and October 5th 2022 under Horizon Europe. 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:
- EIC Accelerator Interviews: Pitch Deck vs. Proposal Documents (SME Instrument)
- Choosing a Good Project for the EIC Accelerator (SME Instrument Phase 2)
- The EIC Accelerator Budget: Grant vs. Blended Finance (SME Instrument Phase 2)
- EIC Accelerator – Introduction and Blended Finance (SME Instrument Phase 2)
- EIC-Accelerator Writing: Providing the Missing Link (SME Instrument Phase 2)
- The Biggest Mistakes When Applying to the EIC Accelerator (SME Instrument Phase 2)
- Identifying a Broad Vision for an EIC Accelerator Project (SME Instrument Phase 2)