Publication of European Innovation Council (EIC) Work Programme 2022

The 2022 work programme of the European Innovation Council opens funding opportunities worth over €1.7 billion in 2022.

The European Commission has published the European Innovation Council (EIC) Work Programme 2022, unveiling more than €1.7 billion for Europe’s most promising innovators.

The EIC is the Commission’s primary tool for identifying and supporting breakthrough technologies and significant innovations with the potential to scale up internationally and become market leaders. It supports all stages of innovation, from R&D on the scientific underpinnings of breakthrough technologies, to validation and demonstration of breakthrough technologies and innovations to meet real world needs, to the development and scaling up of start-ups and SMEs.

Financial support through the EIC is primarily provided under three main instruments:

  • The EIC Accelerator (worth €1.16 billion in 2022) – to support companies (SMEs, start-ups, spin-outs and in exceptional cases small mid-caps) to bring their (usually high-risk/high-impact) innovations to market and scale up.
  • The EIC Pathfinder (worth €350 million in 2022) – for multi-disciplinary research teams to develop the scientific basis to underpin breakthrough technologies.
  • The EIC Transition (worth €131 million in 2022) – for transforming research results into innovation opportunities, and to validate technologies and develop business plans for specific applications.

The majority of funding issued through the EIC takes the form of Open Funding with no predefined thematic priorities. This enables support for any technologies and innovations that cut across different scientific, technological, sectoral and application fields or represent novel combinations. However, a challenge-driven approach is also used to provide funding to address specific technological and innovation breakthroughs, taking into account EU priorities for transitioning to a green, digital and healthy society, as well as the overall strategic planning for Horizon Europe.

The EIC Work Programme 2022 also includes a number of new elements to take into account the lessons learnt from the implementation of the EIC Work Programme 2021. These new elements include:

EIC Accelerator:

  • More frequent cut-off dates for full applications.
  • Allowing applicants to apply for investment component amounts of above €15 million under certain conditions.
  • Broadening the definition of women-led companies to recognise the role of women in executive Board positions beyond the Chief Executive Officer.

EIC Pathfinder:

  • Clarifications of timelines for the rebuttal procedure.

EIC Transition:

  • Introduction of regular cut-off dates for applications.
  • Provisions to increase the number of women-led projects to be invited to the jury interview stage, if all evaluation criteria thresholds are met.

Following the publication of the Work Programme, an information day will take place on Tuesday 22 February to provide information on how the European Innovation Council works, how to apply for funding, who is eligible and this year’s novelties. Sessions will include information on funding opportunities for research teams, start-ups, SMEs and investors.

The Accelerator, Pathfinder and Transition Open calls – as well as the Accelerator and Transition Challenge calls – will open for applications on 1 March 2022. The Pathfinder Challenges will open on 15 June 2022.

(This report was the subject of a ResearchConnect Newsflash.)