Ahead of the March 21-22, 2019 European Council discussion on innovation, industry and competitiveness, the European Commission takes decisive steps to set up a European Innovation Council (EIC).
With the European Innovation Council, the Commission responds to the need to close the innovation gap in Europe by identifying and funding Europe’s most promising start-ups and SMEs. Currently in its pilot phase, the EIC will become a full-fledged reality from 2021 under the next EU research and innovation programme Horizon Europe.
At a press conference on March 18, 2019, Commissioner for research, science and innovation Carlos Moedas announced important steps for the final years of the pilot phase of the EIC: over EUR 2 billion of funding in 2019-2020 for early stage to more mature projects; a call for application for innovation leaders to oversee the EIC pilot and prepare the future EIC; 68 start-ups and SMEs selected for an overall funding of EUR 120 million; and a soon to be opened call for application for programme managers to provide hands-on support for funded projects. Carlos Moedas, Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation said: “With the European Innovation Council, we do not 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.”
Global competition is intensifying and Europe needs to deepen its innovation and risk-taking capability to compete on a market increasingly defined by new technologies. That is why the Commission launched in 2017 the pilot phase of EIC to identify and fund Europe’s most innovative start-ups and SMEs. Since then, 1276 highly innovative projects have already benefitted from an overall funding of over EUR 730 million.