European Commission adopts EIC Work Programme 2022

The European Commission has adopted the 2022 work programme of the European Innovation Council (EIC)! In 2022, it will provide €1.7 billion for breakthrough innovators to scale up and create new markets.

EIC Pathfinder

Firstly, the EIC Pathfinder will receive €350 million to fund early-stage technology research. €183 million will be awarded through Pathfinder Open, with submissions open from 1st March until 4th May. The remaining €167 million aims to tackle the following six challenges:

  • Carbon dioxide and nitrogen management and valorisation
  • Mid-long term, systems-integrated energy storage
  • Cardiogenomics
  • Healthcare continuum technologies
  • DNA-based digital data storage
  • Alternative approaches to quantum information processing, communication, and sensing.

These calls will open from 15th June until 19th October.

EIC Transition

Secondly, the EIC Transition will receive €131 million to fund technology validation and spin-out. It will focus on promising results generated by both EIC Pathfinder and European Research Council Proof of Concept projects. Calls open from 1st March, with €70.9 million allocated to EIC Transition Open and €60.5 million to the following Transition Challenges:

  • Green digital devices for the future
  • Process and system integration of clean energy technologies
  • RNA-based therapies and diagnostics for complex or rare genetic diseases
EIC Accelerator

Lastly, the EIC Accelerator will provide €1.16 billion for start-ups and SMEs to develop and scale up high impact innovations. Applicants can submit a short application at any time. Then, the cut-off dates for full applications are 23rd March, 15th June, and 5th October.

What’s new in the 2022 EIC Work Programme?
  • A new EIC-Scale Up 100 Initiative to identify 100 potential deep-tech unicorns.
  • Equity investments above €15 million for technologies of strategic European interest.
  • Stronger support for women innovators through the development of an innovation gender and diversity index.
  • The EU Prize for Women Innovators includes two new prizes for innovators under 35.
  • More frequent application deadlines.
  • Second-time applicants to the EIC Accelerator can describe and defend the improvements made to their resubmission.
More Information

Further information on each of the calls is available in the EIC Work Programme 2022. There will also be an Information Day on 22nd February. If you are planning to apply for funding and would like bid writing support, please contact us in order to arrange a free consultation.


Eureka Eurostars: £2.5 million available for collaborative research and development

A new Eureka Eurostars call is open for applications! Through this competition, UK registered SMEs can apply for a share of £2.5 million for collaborative research and development projects. They must develop an innovative product, technology-based application, or technology-based service with high market potential.

Scope

All proposals must demonstrate:

  • a game-changing or disruptive idea leading to new products, processes or services
  • a strong and deliverable business plan that addresses market potential and needs
  • sound, practical financial plans and timelines
  • good value for money
  • a clear, evidence-based plan to deliver significant economic impact, return on investment (ROI) and growth through commercialisation, as soon as possible after project completion
  • clear, considerable potential to significantly benefit the UK economy and/or national productivity
  • the benefit of participants from the countries working together and how this adds value
  • a clear definition of where intellectual property can be used and shared between the participants and countries
  • a clear route to market within two years of project completion
Eligibility

UK registered SMEs can apply for a total grant of up to €360,000 or 60% of the total eligible project costs (whichever is the least). To apply, you must fulfil the following seven eligibility criteria:

  1. The project lead is an innovative SME from a Eurostars country.
  2. Your consortium includes at least two independent entities.
  3. Your consortium includes entities from at least two Eurostars countries
  4. The budget of the SME(s) from a Eurostars country, excluding subcontracting, is 50% or more of the total project cost.
  5. No single participant or country is responsible for more than 70% of the project budget.
  6. The project duration is less than 36 months.
  7. The project has an exclusively civilian purpose.
More Information

RedKnight has an excellent track record with supporting applications to Eureka Eurostars. For example, we recently won €674,160 on behalf of the FrOLik consortia – read more about this here.

This competition is open from 21st January until 24th March. For more information and to apply, please visit the competition page. Additionally, if you are looking for bid writing support and would like to arrange a free consultation, get in touch today.


EU Missions receive €673 million investment

Last month, the European Commission adopted an amendment to the Horizon Europe work programme for 2021-2022, increasing its budget to €15.4 billion. This includes €673 million to roll out the following EU Missions:

1) Cancer

This mission aims to improve the lives of more than three million people affected by cancer by 2030. With a total budget of €125 million, it will invest:

  • €60 million in projects developing new methods and technologies for cancer screening and early detection
  • €54 million to improve understanding of the impact of risk factors and health determinants
  • €11 million to develop a set of quality of life and patient preference measures for cancer patients and survivors
2) Adaptation to Climate Change

‘Adaptation to Climate Change’ will help at least 150 European regions and communities to become climate resilient by 2030. Its €122 million budget will support a variety of activities, such as the development of climate change risk assessments and large-scale demonstrators of climate resilience.

3) Restoring Oceans, Seas and Waters

This Mission aims to restore, protect and preserve the health of Europe’s oceans, seas and waters by 2030. It will invest €114 million in projects to protect the EU’s waters, prevent pollution, and create a sustainable, carbon-neutral and circular Blue Economy.

4) Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities

The 'Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities' Mission intends to deliver 100 climate-neutral and smart cities by 2030. It has a range of calls totalling €119 million to support the transition towards climate neutrality in cities. They are in areas such as urban planning, the innovation potential of public transport, and Positive Clean Energy Districts.

5) Soil Health and Food

The mission’s goal is to establish 100 living labs and lighthouses to lead the transition towards healthy soils by 2030. With a total budget of €62 million, the Commission will launch calls to validate and develop indicators for soil health and functions, increase understanding of the link between soil health and safe food, and much more.

The first EU Missions calls are open for applications, with more information available in the updated 2021-2022 work programme. The European Commission has also organised Info Days for prospective applicants on 18th and 19th January – see the full programme here.

RedKnight can help you produce a competitive application, significantly increasing your chances of securing funding! Please contact us to discuss an application in more detail.  


Delays in formalising the UK’s association to Horizon Europe cause concern

Delays in formalising the UK’s association to Horizon Europe are causing growing concern amongst the UK research and innovation community.

In December 2020, the Trade and Cooperation Agreement revealed that the UK would associate to Horizon Europe. This meant UK entities would be able to access funding on equivalent terms as organisations in EU countries.

However, ten months on, the European Commission is yet to sign off on the deal. In recent weeks, Mariya Gabriel, the European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, has said that the UK will only be allowed to associate to Horizon Europe once other political disputes are resolved (Source: Science | Business).

Growing Concern

Organisations in both the EU and the UK are becoming increasingly concerned about the delay. The European University Association has claimed that delays are creating unnecessary insecurity within the European knowledge community, which threatens plans for scientific cooperation.

In a recent statement, they called for the process of association to be accelerated:

“Europe’s universities therefore urge the European Commission and the UK government to finalise Protocol I linked to the Trade and Cooperation Agreement as a basis for UK association and to move onward to a fast and successful association of the UK to Horizon Europe.”

What does this mean for UK applicants?

Despite recent uncertainty, UK entities can continue to apply for funding from Horizon Europe. However, grant agreements will only be signed once association has been finalised.

In an earlier Q&A on the UK’s participation in Horizon Europe, the European Commission said they expect the UK’s association agreement to enter into force before the first grant agreement signings.

With several countries already formally associated to Horizon Europe, we are hopeful that the UK's agreement will follow soon. Share your thoughts in the comments below and please contact us if you have any questions.


Pump priming grants available for UK Horizon Europe applicants

UK researchers can apply for grants of up to £5000 from the ‘Horizon Europe Pump Priming Collaboration between UK and EU Partners’ funding call. This competition is funded by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), and delivered by organisations including the British Academy and UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).

The purpose of this call is to support the development of collaborative activity between UK and EU/associated countries’ entities. It focuses specifically on Pillar 2 of Horizon Europe (Global Challenges and European Industrial Competitiveness).

Applicants can use this funding for various activities, including feasibility studies, application advice and training, and partnership building. Significantly, this extends to support services such as proposal writing.

Eligibility
  • Proposals are welcome in all disciplines.
  • All projects must be led by a named Principal Investigator, who will be responsible for directing and managing the grant. They should be a researcher of at least postdoctoral status from an eligible UK-based organisation. In addition, their position should last at least the duration of this grant.
  • The competition welcomes proposals from UK research institutes and universities. It encourages proposals that involve working with any other type of organisations eligible for Horizon Europe funding, such as SMEs, hospitals, and commercial partners.
  • Applicants must identify a call in Pillar 2 that they intend to apply to as a result of this pump priming funding.
  • This funding can only apply to calls that open between 1st September 2021 and 7th September 2022.

The full eligibility criteria are available in the Scheme Notes.

How to apply

All applicants must register in the British Academy’s online Flexi-Grant system. From there, they will need to complete a short application form that provides details of their planned project.

The deadline for the first wave of assessment is 13th October 2021. Further assessments will take place every two weeks until all funding has been allocated. For more information and to apply, please visit the British Academy website.

Source: British Academy


£2.5 million available for UK SMEs through Eureka Eurostars

A new round of Eureka Eurostars funding is open for applications! Through this competition, UK registered SMEs can apply for a share of £2.5 million for collaborative research and development projects. They must develop an innovative product, technology-based application or technology-based service with high market potential.

Scope

All proposals must demonstrate:

  • a clear game-changing or disruptive innovative idea leading to new products, processes or services
  • a strong and deliverable business plan that addresses market potential and needs
  • sound, practical financial plans and timelines
  • good value for money
  • a clear, evidence-based plan to deliver significant economic impact, return on investment (ROI) and growth through commercialisation, as soon as possible after project completion
  • clear, considerable potential to significantly benefit the UK economy and/or national productivity
  • the benefit of participants from the countries working together and how this adds value
  • a clear definition of where intellectual property (IP) can be used and shared between the participants and countries
  • a clear route to market within two years of project completion or the commencement of clinical trials if applicable
Eligibility

UK registered SMEs can apply for a total grant of up to €360,000 or 60% of the total eligible project costs (whichever is the least).

To apply, you must fulfil the following seven eligibility criteria:

  1. The project lead is an innovative SME from a Eurostars country.
  2. Your consortium includes at least two independent entities.
  3. Your consortium includes entities from at least two Eurostars countries
  4. The budget of the SME(s) from a Eurostars country, excluding subcontracting, is 50% or more of the total project cost.
  5. No single participant or country is responsible for more than 70% of the project budget.
  6. The project duration is less than 36 months.
  7. The project has an exclusively civilian purpose.
How can RedKnight help?

RedKnight has an excellent track record with supporting applications to Eureka Eurostars. For example, we recently won €674,160 on behalf of the FrOLik consortia - read more about this here.

This competition is open from 2nd September until 4th November. For more information and to apply, please visit the competition page. Additionally, if you are looking for bid writing support and would like to arrange a free consultation, get in touch today.


The EIC Accelerator Application Process

The EIC Accelerator is the European Innovation Council’s flagship programme for start-ups and SMEs. It provides blended finance to support the development of cutting-edge innovation projects with high growth potential.

Under Horizon Europe, the EIC Accelerator has a new 4-step application process:

1. Diagnostic Module

The Diagnostic module is a mandatory step in the application process. At this stage, you will answer a series of questions on your innovation. The Diagnostic will then assess the details you have provided to give an idea of your chances of success.

2. Short Application

There are five sections to complete within the short application:

  1. Firstly, you must supply general information about your proposal.
  2. Provide information about your company and CEO.
  3. Next, you should upload a pitch deck in pdf format. While there is no pre-defined template, it should not exceed ten slides.
  4. Upload a video up to 3 minutes long. In this video, the core members of your team (up to three people) should explain your innovation and the main motivation behind your application.
  5. Lastly, you must answer a series of questions that comprise a 5-page form. They cover the details of your innovation, your potential market, and your team. There is a limit of 1000 characters per section.

Your short application will be assessed remotely by four expert evaluators and you will receive the outcome within four weeks. They will each give a GO or NO GO. If at least two evaluators give a GO, your short application has been successful and you can move forward.

If you were unsuccessful, you can resubmit your proposal. You should make improvements in line with the feedback you received, as if your next application is rejected, you will not be allowed to resubmit for 12 months.

3. Full Application

The full application is in the form of an online questionnaire, comprised of three modules: Ideation, Development and Go 2 Market. You can find an indicative template of questions in the Guide for Applicants.

In addition, you will need to:

  • Define the type of funding you are applying for - please note that UK entities are only eligible for the grant component.
  • Submit a pitch deck – this should be different from the one in your short application. There is no pre-defined template nor limit of slides. However, remember that you will present this pitch deck if you get through to the face-to-face interviews.
  • Complete the Financial Annex and use the 10 extra pages allowed to provide Letters of Intent or similar.

Full applications will be assessed after the set cut-off dates by three remote experts. To be successful, you will need all 3 of the remote experts to give a GO for all the criteria.

If 1 or more give a NO GO under any of the criteria, your application will be rejected. However, you will be eligible to resubmit an improved full application to one of the next two cut-offs. If rejected again, you may submit a new or significantly improved short application after 12 months.

4. Face to Face Interview

Interviews will take place remotely or in Brussels, approximately 8-9 weeks after the cut-off date. You can send a maximum of 3 representatives to the interview, where they will be assessed by a panel of up to 6 jury members.

The interview will last up to 40 minutes and include 10 minutes of presentation and a 30 minute Q&A to clarify aspects of your proposal. Following the interview, the jury members will prepare an Evaluation Summary Report that includes i) the evaluation outcome and ii) specific comments related to the three award criteria.

You will learn the interview outcome within 2-3 weeks. Successful applicants will then negotiate terms and sign an initial agreement for the grant component. If you requested an investment component, your company will simultaneously be subject to a due diligence process by the EIC Fund.

If your proposal is unsuccessful, you may resubmit based on the following rules:

  • First rejection: resubmit an improved full proposal to the remote evaluation at one of the two following cut-offs
  • First rejection and the jury decides your proposal is a potential GO after improvements: you will be able to resubmit a revised proposal directly to one of the next two interview sessions
  • Second rejection: after 12 months, you may submit a new or significantly improved short application
About RedKnight

Our team can support both short and full applications. Contact us to arrange a free consultation where we can discuss your project’s suitability for the EIC Accelerator.

Source: EIC Accelerator Guide for Applicants


Horizon Europe Releases Main Work Programme

The European Commission has adopted the main Horizon Europe work programme for 2021-2022! Over the next two years, the European Commission will invest €14.7 billion in the research and innovation priorities set out in the Strategic Plan.

What will it fund?

The work programme shows a clear intention to accelerate Europe’s green and digital transitions while working towards a sustainable post-coronavirus Europe.

Of the funding available, over a third - €5.8 billion - will be invested in research and innovation to support the European Green Deal, while another €4 billion will fund the development of core digital technologies. Finally, around €1.9 billion will fund research and innovation to help repair the immediate economic and social damage caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, said:

“With 40% of its budget devoted to making Europe more sustainable, this Horizon Europe work programme will make Europe greener and fitter for the digital transformation. Horizon Europe is now fully open for business: I would like to encourage researchers and innovators from all over the EU to apply and find solutions to improve our daily lives.”

Background

Horizon Europe is the EU’s €95.5 billion research and innovation programme for 2021-2027 and the successor of Horizon 2020. Significantly, the UK will have ‘Associated Country’ status. This means that UK entities will be able to access funding on equivalent terms as organisations in EU countries.

The programme has three ‘pillars’: 1) Excellent Science, 2) Global Challenges and European Industrial Competitiveness and 3) Innovative Europe. For more information about what comes under each pillar, click here.

Funding is available for a wide variety of research and innovation areas, such as health, ICT and climate change. In addition, funding is available to all sectors through the European Innovation Council.

Next Steps

The first calls for proposals will open on the Commission’s Funding and Tenders Portal on 22nd June. Additionally, Horizon Europe Information Days targeting potential applicants will take place between 28th June and 9th July.

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EIC Pathfinder Challenges 2021

The EIC Pathfinder provides funding for advanced research on breakthrough technologies. Alongside an open call for funding that closed on 19th May, the European Innovation Council (EIC) has announced five Pathfinder Challenges for 2021:

  1. Awareness inside (consciousness in AI systems)
  2. Tools to measure and stimulate activity in brain tissue
  3. Emerging technologies in cell and gene therapy
  4. Novel routes to green hydrogen production
  5. Engineered living materials
What are the Pathfinder Challenges?

Pathfinder Challenges provide a top-down funding opportunity that targets the EIC’s strategic priorities. Each challenge sets out to build on cutting-edge science and technology, leading to disruptive innovations grounded in high-risk research and development. With each challenge call, the EIC aims to establish a multi-disciplinary portfolio of projects which will be supervised by a dedicated EIC Programme Manager.

Who can apply?

Firstly, you should apply if you have a project idea that could contribute to the goals of one of the challenges. In contrast to the Open Call, the Pathfinder Challenges support applications from both consortia and single legal entities (unless otherwise stated in the specific challenge criteria).

What funding is available?

The total indicative budget for this call is €132 million which will be split across the five challenges. Typically, individual proposals should cost up to €4 million and the grant will cover 100% of your project's eligible costs. However, applicants can request larger amounts if there is a justifiable need for extra funding.

Further grants of up to €50,000 will be available to explore pathways to commercialisation or for portfolio activities. As well as this, successful applicants will receive access to a wide range of Business Acceleration services and be able to submit an EIC Accelerator proposal via a fast-track scheme.

More information

The call will open from 15th June until 27th October 2021. For more information on each of the challenges, such as specific eligibility criteria, download the EIC work programme. If you’re thinking of applying and would like bid writing support, please contact us to arrange a free consultation.

In addition, you can find alternative grant funding opportunities on our blog or in our monthly newsletter.


EU Prize for Women Innovators 2021

First launched in 2011, the EU Prize for Women Innovators celebrates female entrepreneurs across the EU and in countries associated to Horizon Europe. In 2021, the European Innovation Council will award three prizes of €100,000 each in the main category. Additionally, a fourth prize of €50,000 will be available for a ‘Rising Innovator’ aged 30 or younger.

Eligibility Criteria

Applicants must be each of the following:

  • A woman
  • Established in an EU Member State or a country associated to Horizon Europe
  • Founder or co-founder of an active innovative company registered at least two years before the submission deadline
  • If applying within the Rising Innovator category, applicants must have been aged 30 or younger at the start of 2021
Previous Winners

Looking for inspiration? Check out last year’s winners of the EU Prize for Women Innovators!

  • Madiha Derouazi (Switzerland), founder and CEO of Amal Therapeutics, a company developing therapeutic cancer vaccines
  • Maria Fátima Lucas (Portugal), co-founder and CEO of Zymvol Biomodeling, a company developing computer-designed industrial enzymes by applying molecular modelling
  • Arancha Martínez (Spain), co-founder and Managing Director of It Will Be. Her company helps tackle poverty through technological innovation and provides support to vulnerable women and children
  • Lastly, the winner of the Rising Innovator 2020 prize was Josefien Groot (Netherlands), co-founder and CEO of Olavers. Her company is developing microstructures to boost the efficiency of wind turbines
Background: Gender Equality in European Research and Innovation

There are more women than men in Europe. Despite this, just 16% of European start-ups are founded or co-founded by women and only 6% have all-female founding teams (European Commission). As a result, the European Commission will prioritise gender equality through Horizon Europe, the new framework programme for research and innovation. The programme will introduce strengthened provisions, including:

  • From 2022, all public bodies, research organisations and higher education establishments will need a gender equality plan to access Horizon Europe funding.
  • Under the Widening Participation pillar, funding will be available for research and innovation organisations to develop their own gender equality plans.
  • Flagship measures and activities promoting gender equality under the European Innovation Council (EIC). Targets include increasing the number of women-led companies invited to pitch their projects to 40%.
  • The Commission will encourage gender balance in evaluation panels and among researchers involved in projects. This is particularly important, as it will be a potential tie-breaker for equally ranked proposals.

For more information on gender equality provisions in Horizon Europe, click here.

Applications for the EU Prize for Women Innovations 2021 are open until 30th June. Don’t forget to share this blog with any female entrepreneurs who might be interested!