The European Innovation Council Impact Report 2023: a €70 billion deep-tech portfolio

The European Innovation Council (EIC) has recently released its annual Impact Report for 2023, showcasing its pivotal role in nurturing deep tech innovation throughout Europe. The report emphasises the EIC's status as a key investor in European innovation, with investments exceeding €1.2 billion in 2023 alone. Notably, these investments have catalysed an additional €3.5 billion in capital, demonstrating the EIC's substantial leverage in mobilising funds for ground breaking projects.

One of the report's key highlights is the significant growth in the total portfolio value of enterprises supported by the EIC, which has grown to nearly €70 billion. This exponential increase reflects the EIC's success in identifying and supporting high-potential start ups and scaleups in the deep tech sector.

Iliana Ivanova, Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, has lauded the EIC for its transformative impact on Europe's innovation landscape, emphasising the creation of a robust ecosystem conducive to critical technologies, which is vital for maintaining Europe's competitiveness on the global stage. Commissioner Ivanova said:

“The European Innovation Council (EIC) has emerged as a game-changer in supporting deep tech innovation in Europe. This Impact Report shows how the EIC supports the growth of high potential startups while at the same time building a European community of deep tech investors. This is crucial to ensuring the future of our companies and strengthening EU leadership in critical technologies.”

Moreover, the report highlights the EIC's role in driving the growth of supported companies, leading to substantial increases in valuation, employment rates, and revenue generation. Additionally, the EIC has played a crucial role in fostering unique innovations and facilitating strategic partnerships, further solidifying its position as a driving force in deep tech innovation across the continent.

Key impacts to date of the EIC include:

  • An overall portfolio value of EIC supported companies of nearly €70 billionan increase of over €20 billion in just over a year;
  • Impact on scaling up companies, with over 150 “centaurs” (valuation above of €100 million), 15 of whom have a valuation above €500 million including 8 over €1 billion (unicorns);
  • EIC companies averaging 35% employment growth and 68% revenue growth in the first 2 years following EIC support;
  • Attracting over €12 billion of follow-on investments, primarily from venture capital, corporates, and national promotional banks.
  • 1686 unique innovations generated from EIC research projects (Pathfinder and predecessors);
  • EIC companies and projects matched to corporates, procurers and potential investors resulting in over 125 signed deals.

For those interested in delving deeper into the comprehensive document which offers insights into the EIC's activities, successes, and future directions, you can download it here: EIC Impact Report 2023. You can download the key impacts summary here: EIC Key Impacts 2023.

EIC Summit and R&I Week

The European Innovation Council Summit 2024, will take place on 18th and 19th March as part of the Research & Innovation week.

Celebrating the 40-year journey through the Research and Innovation Framework Programmes, the R&I Week 2024 will debate the future of R&I and shape the contribution to EU political priorities, in particular the EU Tech Sovereignty and Competitiveness.

Tuesday 19th March will be fully dedicated to EIC beneficiaries with workshops covering diverse issues for researchers and entrepreneurs, such as intellectual property rights, investments, or scaling up your company. Discover the full programme and list of speakers.

The R&I week also includes the Belgian Presidency event on Innovative Procurement, taking over from the EIC Summit on the late afternoon of 19 March and continuing until the afternoon of 20 March. After that, it’s the start of the Research and Innovation Days providing a full R&I related programme, closing at the end of 21st March.

To register, click here.

New EIC Board holds its first plenary meeting

The recent inaugural meeting of the new European Innovation Council (EIC) Board, held on January 10 and 11, 2024, in the prestigious imec facility in Leuven, Belgium, marks a significant milestone in the journey towards fostering innovation across Europe. This event symbolises the commitment of the European Union (EU) to spearhead innovation and sets the stage for strategic advancements in European research and innovation.

Appointed by the European Commission (EC) on December 13, 2023, the new EIC Board, under the leadership of its President, Michiel Scheffer, holds a pivotal role in guiding the direction of the EIC. The Board’s responsibilities extend beyond advisory roles; they encompass shaping the strategy, work programme, thematic portfolios, and, upon the Commission's request, advising on broader innovation policy matters. This structure ensures a comprehensive approach to innovation, integrating strategic insights with practical implementations.

The EIC Board is scheduled to convene five to six plenary meetings annually. These sessions are crucial for deliberating on the EIC's strategic and operational frameworks and advising the EC on various matters within their mandate. The recent meeting marked the first plenary session with the new Board membership. The primary agenda was to establish the priorities for the Board’s work in 2024, especially focusing on strategizing and implementing the EIC's objectives for the latter half of the 2024-27 programme. This session was attended by Iliana Ivanova, Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education, and Youth, who engaged with Board members in a fruitful exchange on the EIC’s priorities within the broader context of EU policies and the mid-term review of Horizon Europe. Horizon Europe, the EU's flagship funding programme for research and innovation, is integral to the EIC's mission, underscoring the importance of aligning the EIC's strategies with the overarching goals of the EU.

The composition of the EIC Board reflects a blend of continuity and fresh perspectives. Members serve in a personal capacity, with their terms set for two years, renewable twice. This structure facilitates the rotation of approximately one-third of the members every two years, ensuring a dynamic infusion of ideas and experiences. The current Board, comprising 10 members with renewed mandates from the 2021-23 period and 10 new members selected from a reserve list, represents a diverse and experienced group of individuals committed to steering Europe towards a brighter, innovation-driven future.

The mandate of these new and renewed members, extending until December 2025, symbolises a period of opportunity and challenge. As Europe navigates through complexities of the modern world, the EIC Board's role becomes increasingly vital. It embodies a strategic think-tank, poised to influence the direction of European innovation, making substantial contributions to the development and implementation of policies that nurture research, innovation, and education.

As the Board embarks on its journey to shape the future of innovation, its decisions and strategies will undoubtedly play a critical role in determining the trajectory of Europe's innovation landscape. With a balanced mix of continuity and new insights, the EIC Board is well-positioned to drive significant advancements in research and innovation, ultimately contributing to the prosperity and competitiveness of the EU on the global stage.