The European Innovation Council (EIC), with a budget of over €10 billion for 2021-2027 to develop and expand innovation, has now been launched by the European Commission. This new EIC will combine research on emerging technologies, with an accelerator programme, and a dedicated equity fund, the European Innovation Council Fund, to scale up innovative start-ups and small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs), with around €3 billion of the EIC’s budget going to the EIC Fund.

Funding opportunities in 2021
The funding opportunits in the first EIC work programme include:

  • EIC Accelerator financing, worth €1 billion, for start-ups and SMEs to develop and scale up high impact innovations with the potential to create new markets or disrupt existing ones. Out of the €1 billion, €495 million is allocated to innovations for the European Green Deal and for strategic Digital and Health Technologies.
  • EIC Pathfinder for multi-disciplinary research teams, worth €300 million, to undertake visionary research with the potential to lead to technology breakthroughs. Research teams can apply for up to €4 million in grants. The bulk of the funding is awarded through open calls with no predefined thematic priorities, while €132 million is allocated to tackle five Pathfinder challenges: self-aware Artificial Intelligence (AI), tools to measure brain activity, cell and gene therapy, green hydrogen, and engineered living materials.
  • EIC Transition funding, with €100 million, to help converting research results (from the EIC Pathfinder and the European Research Council) into innovations (spinouts, commercial partnerships, etc.). This first EIC Transition call will focus on results generated by EIC Pathfinder pilot projects and European Research Council Proof of Concept projects, to mature the technologies and build a business case for specific applications.
  • New measures are introduced to support women innovators, which include a female leadership programme. In partnership with the Enterprise Europe Network, female innovators, and innovative SMEs from lesser-known regions, will be supported to apply, helping to overcome the innovation divide.

The first annual work programme of the EIC is published, opening funding opportunities worth over €1.5 billion in 2021, and two prizes for Women Innovators and the European Capital of Innovation are opened for applications.

This is a good opportunity for nursing research to be more visible and set the scene at EU level.