R&D projects

EIC Accelerator

This program, offered by the European Innovation Council, is a flagship initiative for supporting, developing, and implementing innovation. It offers thematic open calls (EIC Open) and thematic tracks (EIC Challenges).

The EIC Accelerator is a distinctive program that combines both research and development (R&D) support and investment assistance. In this program, a project focuses on developing a groundbreaking solution up to Technology Readiness Level 9 (TRL9), and subsequently proceeds with commercialization through an external investor.

The purpose of the EIC Accelerator tool is to support breakthrough projects that are at a minimum of TRL level 5, where key research challenges have already been met and the solution has a realistic chance of further development and commercialization. Breakthrough innovation is understood as the ability to make a significant impact on the market by introducing a completely new concept, redefining the approach to a designated problem or issue.


Expert commentary and recommendations from Frontline Biosciences.

The medical industry is well-represented among applicants, with a significant number of funded projects focusing on innovations in this field. In 2023, there are two dedicated thematic tracks within the EIC Challenges specifically directed towards the medical industry.

  • New biomarker-based tests used for personalized cancer treatment
  • Aerosol and surface decontamination methods for countering pandemics

The additional tracks include:

  • Energy storage
  • New European Bauhaus and digitization of architecture, engineering and construction for decarbonization
  • Components for new semiconductor or quantum technologies
  • New technologies for agriculture resilient to negative external factors
  • Customer-focused, innovative space technologies and services

The EIC Accelerator is widely regarded as one of the most demanding grant competitions. This is due to several factors, including the high level of expected innovation in the proposed solution, intense international competition, and the multi-stage evaluation process that projects undergo.

The decision to participate in the EIC Accelerator competition follows a thorough analysis of the applicant’s proposed concept. This analysis includes suggestions for enhancing the concept to maximize the likelihood of a successful application for support.

Preference is granted to projects within high-tech and deep tech industries, particularly when the applicant can demonstrate prior research and development (R&D) efforts that have yielded noteworthy advancements in the field of science and technology.

In contrast to national funding programs like FENG, the EIC Accelerator places significantly greater emphasis on the preparation of a meticulously planned and cohesive commercialization strategy. This aspect demands particular attention and a thorough analysis of the market environment to ensure its perfection.

Application deadlines

  • 13 March 2024

    Recruitment is an ongoing process with specified cut-off dates for application submission. The current cut-off dates are as follows:

  • 3 October 2024

Requirements for the applicants

  • Enterprises classified as SMEs, including micro, small, medium, or small mid-cap businesses (employing up to 500 people)
  • Companies that are located within the European Union member states or associated countries
  • Companies must propose a groundbreaking solution capable of either creating an entirely new market or revolutionizing the existing market’s operational rules and supply chains.
  • Companies must have a prototype of their innovative solution ready for testing in an environment that simulates real-world conditions, such as a clinical trial. This implies that laboratory testing has already been conducted.
  • Companies must be able to provide evidence that previous attempts to secure project financing have yielded results that were insufficient in scale. This could be attributed to various factors, such as high risk, the early stage of market development, the capital-intensive nature of the project, or its non-bankable characteristics.

Categories of expenses that can be included when preparing a project plan are as follows:

  • Group 1 - Development Work Module
    • Salaries
    • Clinical trials
    • Fabrication and testing of prototypes
    • Raw materials and test materials
    • Certification of a new product/process
    • Subcontractor services
  • Group 2 – Commercialization Module
    • Production line
    • Raw materials and production materials
    • Marketing
    • Business trips
    • Salaries of production, marketing and sales staff
    • Protection of Intangible Assets
    • Participation in trade shows and other industry events
  • Group 3 - Project Management Module
    • Executive salaries
    • The process of recruiting new employees
    • Legal services
    • Certification of the company/laboratory

Project funding

  • 70%

    grant component

  • 100%

    investment component

Key principles of EIC Accelerator project financing

  • Funding Options: Companies have the flexibility to access grant funding, investment funding, or a combination of both for their projects.
  • Grant Funding for Development Work: Companies can utilize a grant of up to 70% specifically for development work, supporting various aspects of the project’s advancement.
  • Maximum Grant Amount: The maximum grant amount available is €2.5 million.
  • Investment Component for Commercialization and Scale-Up: The investment component allows financing for commercialization and scale-up activities.
  • Coverage of Anticipated Costs: Funds from the investment component cover 100% of the expected project costs.
  • Investment Component Amount: The investment component ranges from EUR 0.5 million to 15 million.
  • Covering Own Contributions: The investment component can also be used to cover the company’s own contributions during the development phase.
  • Equity Participation: Acquiring the investment component involves the EIC Fund investor taking up to 25% of the company’s shares. The investor commits to an exit strategy within 7-10 years.
  • Patient Capital: A distinctive feature of the investment component in EIC Accelerator is that the investor prioritizes long-term gains rather than expecting immediate profits. This is known as “patient capital.”