The abstract for the EIC Accelerator (SME Instrument Phase 2) project will be the only part of the proposal that, if successful, is made public through the Community Research and Development Information Service (CORDIS) website.
In general, it should contain a complete summary of the project, condensed into 2,000 characters, and be devoid of any confidential information.
You should also consider that the information in this section could be associated with your company indefinitely so you should take care that all the figures, metrics and facts you present here are well researched. You might also want to avoid giving concrete revenue projections or financial data (i.e. professional writers or consultants should be extra diligent here).
First Part (66% of the space)
The structure of the abstract follows the general recommendations for a good narrative (see here) by first outlining the problem (i.e. market pain points, financial losses, health concerns, EU policies, etc.), then moving on to the current insufficiencies in addressing the problem (i.e. downsides of current methods, the inability of competitors, a lack of solutions, etc.) and then presenting the innovation (i.e. operating principle and key features).
The narrative should seamlessly flow from one sentence to another and there should be no unnecessary information while making every word count. See information on the narrative here: EIC-Accelerator Writing: Providing the Missing Link (SME Instrument Phase 2)
Second Part (33% of the space)
Afterwards, the team, company, pilot customers and expected market impact should be presented to highlight the team’s competence and ability to execute the project. If applicable, industry changes, job creation, gender equality and other social issues should be addressed.
In terms of traction, some information should be given regarding the number of customers, customer inquiries, active users or the access to resources that are key to the business model (i.e. European focus recommended).
The abstract follows no particular template or structure but it is a good rule of thumb to keep the first paragraph at two-thirds of the length and leave one third for the second paragraph. Reading the abstract should give the evaluator a sense of a high-impact innovation which is urgently needed and the applicant should appear competent enough to fully exploit the business opportunity.
Examples for successful abstracts of funded projects can be found on the results page of the CORDIS database.
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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: