The European Commission today announced how it will spend €30 billion of the EU research and innovation funding programme Horizon 2020 during 2018-2020, including €2.7 billion to kick-start a European Innovation Council.
Horizon 2020, the EU’s €77 billion research and innovation funding programme, supports scientific excellence in Europe and has contributed to high-profile scientific breakthroughs such as the discovery of exoplanets and gravitational waves.
Over the next 3 years, the Commission will seek greater impact of its research funding by focusing on fewer, but critical topics such as migration, security, climate, clean energy and digital economy. Horizon 2020 will also be more geared towards boosting breakthrough, market-creating innovation.
Carlos Moedas, Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, said: “Artificial Intelligence, genetics, blockchain: science is at the core of today’s most promising breakthrough innovations. Europe is a world leader in science and technology and will play a major role in driving innovation. The Commission is making a concerted effort – including with the European Innovation Council which takes its first steps today – to give Europe’s many innovators a springboard to become world leading companies.”
The Commission is also launching the first phase of the European Innovation Council. Between 2018 and 2020, the Commission will mobilise €2.7 billion from Horizon 2020 to support high-risk, high-gain innovation to create the markets of the future. Moreover, Horizon 2020 will make better use of its “crack the challenge” prizes to deliver breakthrough technology solutions to pressing problems faced by our citizens.
The SME instrument is part of the European Innovation Council pilot (EIC pilot). This was launched on 27th October 2017 as part of the Horizon 2020 Work programme 2018-2020, when the EIC SME Instrument, EIC Fast Track to Innovation (FTI) and EIC Horizon Prizes, were brought under the EIC pilot umbrella, to provide a ‘one stop shop’ for funding of innovators/innovations in the EU.
Horizon 2020 funds high-potential innovation developed by SMEs through the EIC SME instrument. The EIC SME Instrument offers Europe’s brightest and boldest entrepreneurs the chance to step forward and request funding for breakthrough ideas with the potential to create entirely new markets or revolutionise existing ones.
Provided with about € 1.6 billion in funding over the period 2018-2020, the EIC SME Instrument will support groundbreaking innovative ideas for products, services or processes that are ready to conquer global markets. Available to SMEs only, the new scheme offers phased, progressive and complementary support to the development of out-of-the-box ideas. There are no predefined topics for the EIC SME instrument call; only the most excellent and impactful ideas will receive support.
In the last three years of implementation, around 4000 SMEs will be selected to receive funding under the EIC SME instrument call.