Funding and Support in 2024
The European Innovation Council’s (EIC) Work Programme 2024 marks a significant step forward in fostering research and innovation across Europe. With a comprehensive funding structure and support system, the programme is set to revolutionise the landscape of technological and scientific advancement. Worth over €1.2bn, the majority is dedicated to SMEs and start-ups to develop and scale up “deep tech” innovations in critical fields such as generative artificial intelligence (AI), space, critical raw materials, semiconductors and quantum technologies. You can download the full EIC 2024 Work Programme here.

The funding is provided across three main schemes.
EIC Pathfinder: Allocating €256 million, the EIC Pathfinder scheme stands as a cornerstone of the 2024 programme. It aims at empowering multi-disciplinary research teams, encouraging them to engage in visionary research with the potential for groundbreaking technological advancements. Grants under this scheme can reach up to €4 million, providing substantial support for ambitious projects.
EIC Transition: With a budget of €94 million, the EIC Transition scheme focuses on transforming research results into tangible innovation opportunities. This scheme is a natural progression from EIC Pathfinder projects, extending its reach to include European Research Council Proof of Concept projects and, for the first time, results from Horizon collaborative projects from Pillar 2/ societal challenges. Grants under this scheme can go up to €2.5 million.
EIC Accelerator: The EIC Accelerator, with a massive €675 million budget, is tailored for start-ups and SMEs. It aims to aid in the development and scaling up of innovations with the potential to disrupt or create new markets. The scheme offers grants below €2.5 million and investments ranging from €0.5 to €15 million. Notably, €405 million of this is earmarked for investments managed by the EIC Fund, which also receives an additional €180 million for follow-on investments in companies selected under previous EIC Accelerator calls.
All projects supported by the EIC gain access to Business Acceleration Services, offering expert coaching, mentoring, and partnership opportunities.

Proactive Management and Structural Changes
The EIC adopts a proactive approach in managing funding. EIC Programme Managers play a crucial role, developing visions for innovation and technology breakthroughs, and guiding project portfolios to achieve these ambitious goals. The European Commission has also restructured the EIC Fund, transferring its shares to the European Investment Bank. This restructuring, alongside the EIC work programme’s measures, enhances the Fund’s flexibility in managing its investment portfolio, which already includes over 500 of Europe’s most promising start-ups and high-growth companies.

Simplification and Other Novelties
The EIC Board’s recommendations have led to several simplifications and improvements to be implemented in the 2024 Work Programme:
• Introduction of lump sum funding in most EIC calls, eliminating financial reporting requirements for beneficiaries.
• Updated Intellectual Property rules to empower Technology Transfer Offices.
• Introduction of consensus meetings for EIC Accelerator applications to strengthen the evaluation process.
• Increased flexibility for the EIC Fund to adjust investments in response to company needs and market trends.
• Expansion of EIC Transition funding to include Horizon collaborative project results.

Investing in Strategic Technologies
A significant portion of the EIC funding (€420 million) is reserved for novel technologies and SMEs/Startups addressing challenges directly supporting the European Green Deal, REPowerEU, Chips Act, future AI Act, Net Zero Industry, and other EU policies, aligning with the New European Innovation Agenda. In line with the Commission’s strategy on economic security, applications in critical areas like AI and quantum technology will undergo screening for foreign ownership and investment safeguards by the EIC Fund.

Information Days
The EIC has scheduled two Information Days in January 2024. These events, conducted online, will provide potential applicants with insights into the new work programme and an overview of the three main funding schemes. The first day (15 January) is dedicated to the overall work programme, while the second day (16 January) focuses on the EIC Accelerator Challenges. You can read more about these info days here.