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Guest blog: Everything you need to know about EIC funding

Company based in Ireland? Looking to make the leap into your next cutting edge project? With a €10bn budget, the EIC’s fund is crucial in supporting game-changing innovations from early-stage research through to company scale-up.

Barrie Dowsett

Chief Executive Officer


5 minute read

Originally written for our partners Silicon Republic.

Funding the latest cutting-edge innovation is key to maintaining European competition on a global stage. 

Following a pilot that formed part of the previous H2020 program, the European Innovation Council (EIC) is now established as part of the EU’s Horizon Europe programme. With a €10 billion budget, the fund is crucial in supporting game-changing innovations from early-stage research, real world validation, and commercialisation through to company scale up.

Building on the success of 2021

Now in first full year, Horizon Europe has a budget of €1.7 billion for 2022. 

EIC’s work will build upon the progress made in 2021 with some major improvements:

  1. EIC Accelerator equity investments above €15 million are now possible

  2. At least 40% of the EIC juries and EIC expert evaluators will be women, with the objective to reach 50%

  3. Broadening the definition of women-led companies to recognise the role of women in executive board positions beyond the Chief Executive Officer

  4. Provisions to increase the number of women-led projects to be invited to the jury interview stage

  5. Following the collaboration between the EIC and European Institute of Innovation & Technology (EIT), a Fast Track process has been established

  6. Clarifications of timelines for the rebuttal procedure

Expanding funding opportunities 

EIC funding and support is organised into three main funding schemes:

Pathfinder programme

Project conducting advanced research to underpin scientific breakthroughs: TRL 1-4. In 2022, funding of €183m is available for the open competition and €167 for the challenges.

Deadlines for applications are 3rd May for the open and 19th October for the challenges.

Grants of up to €4 million, with 100% funding, are available per project. Consortia of three legal entities from three member states are required; however, single applicants or two member consortia are possible for the Pathfinder challenges only.

EIC Pathfinder 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 quantum information processing, communication, and sensing

Transition grants

Applications are only eligible if they build upon results from a Pathfinder project ,ERC Proof of Concept, or FET Open activity. Project should achieve transition towards specific applications while improving also the market readiness: TRL4-6.

The 2022 budget for this call is €131.36 million: € 70.86 million for Transition open and €60.5 million for Transition challenges

You can apply as either a single beneficiary or a small consortium of two independent legal entities from two different Member States or Associated Countries, or a consortium from a minimum of three and a maximum of five independent legal entities.

The two deadlines for applications are 4th May and 28th September for both the open challenges.

EIC 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

In terms of size of the budget and scope, the largest EIC instrument is the EIC Accelerator programme with a budget of €1.1billion in 2022.

The EIC Accelerator is a three-stage application with grants of up to €2.5 million for technology development (TRL 5/6 to 9) and investments from €500k for commercialisation and company scale-up. EIC Accelerator projects have a single beneficiary, with SMEs to small mid-caps eligible.

The 2022 budget for the Accelerator is €630.6 million for the open competition and €536.9 million for the challenges. Remaining deadlines in 2022 are 15th June and 5th October.

EIC Accelerator challenges:

  • Technologies for open strategic autonomy
  • Technologies for ‘Fit for 55’

Exciting news for two Irish companies in last year's EIC Transition call

As a result of last year’s funding round, two Irish coordinators celebrated EU funding success amongst 42 others. The funding will help them take their breakthrough research from the lab into the real world, and competition was fierce. 

Relevium Medical, based in Galway and led by CEO Dr Alison Liddy, will receive over €2 million towards the development of a triple-action injectable treatment for osteoarthritis.

The second company, Helixworks Technologies, based in Cork and led by CEO Nimesh Pinnamaneni, has been awarded over €3 million to develop its intelligent DNA data storage. Nimesh commented:

“On behalf of everyone at Helixworks, I would like to thank members of the European Innovation Council for their continued support to advancing the field of DNA-based data storage. The EIC programme, unlike nearly any other, is focused on supporting innovators to advance breakthrough innovations in the lab to market. My goal and the goal of Helixworks is to help integrate advanced biotechnologies into society in a manner that improves social, economic and environmental sustainability. Special thanks go to Myriad Associates who were extremely generous with their expertise, time, and energy as EIC funding advisors.”

He added: “My sincere gratitude to Myriad’s Lauren Olson and Marc Greatrex, who contributed to producing our proposal and presentation.”

R&D funding experts Myriad Associates worked with both companies in crafting their R&D grant funding applications; these two companies were the only two EIC Transition beneficiaries funded in Ireland during 2021.

With bases in the UK, France and Ireland, Myriad has over a decade of experience in achieving the EU grant funding companies deserve. 

“Helixworks and Relevium’s success is emblematic of the ground-breaking innovative work taking place across Ireland”, said Lauren Olson, Senior Consultant, Innovation Grants at Myriad Associates.

“Success in a grant funding competition is never guaranteed, but projects with the best chance of winning EU funding combine novel technology, strong IP protection, and a clear business plan in activities that help Europe meet its strategic priorities”, she added.

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