Innovation at a higher pace in Europe: the EIC Accelerator

11 March 2021

As an entrepreneur, are you involved in innovation and development? Then, in addition to national grant schemes, there are European grant schemes available that might also be of interest for your business. There are various opportunities for both research projects as well as projects aimed at market entrance. Whether you are investing in a collaboration with businesses in other Member States or carrying out a project yourself, Europe offers opportunities.

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Written by:
Roy Hoven Manager Subsidiefocus
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Innovation programme Horizon Europe

Horizon Europe is Europe’s largest research and innovation framework programme running from 2021-2027. The programme aims at stimulating science and innovation in order to enhance Europe’s competitiveness. The programme is based on three pillars, and supplemented with a broad programme component aimed at optimizing the impact of all projects that will be executed within the framework of Horizon Europe.

  1. Excellence Science
  2. Global Challenges and European Industrial Competitiveness
  3. Innovative Europe

The first pillar is completely aimed at scientific research, the second pillar focuses on global challenges and will stimulate industrial competitiveness within defined clusters. For innovative entrepreneurs who are involved in development and innovation, the third pillar is the most interesting. The objective of this pillar is to enhance the innovative climate within Europe, resulting in an increased and strengthened European competitiveness. An important part of this pillar is formed by the European Innovation Council (EIC). Within the EIC, three project programmes can be distinguished:

  • EIC Pathfinder - designated for high-quality new ideas for radical new technologies
  • EIC Transition Activities – converting research into innovation
  • EIC Accelerator - market introduction of new innovation.

EIC Accelerator

By far the largest part of the budget reserved for Horizon Europe, will be made available through the EIC Accelerator programme. Companies can obtain both grants and private equity by participating in a call for proposals. In all, the grant can amount up to € 17.5 million per project. 


The Horizon 2020 programme, which has come to an end by now, also offered EIC calls for proposals. The calls in 2020 were characterized by the large amount of applications, the mere 3% success rate and the huge amount of resubmissions per call. As of 2021, the European Commission wants to change this by introducing new rules for the EIC programme. For example, an application for a specific project which has been rejected in two following calls, cannot be submitted again during a period of twelve months. Per year, this rule intends to decrease the number of resubmissions and to increase the success rate. A new roadmap for applications has been introduced, which is as follows:

  1. Preselection (presenting an innovation with impact)
    You need to introduce the project concisely in writing, in a pitch deck and by means of a video.
  2. Full application (submitting an application which will have a huge impact)
    You submit a detailed application with a full project description.
  3. Jury (convincing an expert jury)

You will organise a live pitch including a Q&A session.

The roadmap and the amendments in the application procedure should ensure an increase in the quality and a decrease in the number of full applications that is rejected.

Submitting the preselection

As of April 2021, businesses can submit their preselection application. During the preselection phase, a project will be assessed on the basis of a number of points that will have to be included as well in the full application. The preselection will make it easier for you to submit an adequate, full application in one go. The preselection can be used at a moment of your choice. All amendments in the EIC programme have been published subject to approval. All final documents of the EIC Working programme will be published by the end of March.

Are you, as an entrepreneur, involved in the development of an innovation that will really have an impact upon market introduction? And you are still looking for means to enable this market introduction? Then the EIC Accelerator scheme could be of interest for you. A good preparation is crucial in order to give your project the best possible chance of success.

More information

For more information about European grant schemes, you are welcome to contact Roy Hoven, manager Subsidiefocus, by calling +31 (0)73-6465475 or send Roy an email

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Portrait photo of Roy Hoven
Manager Subsidiefocus