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Ensuring greater synergies by testing new collaboration mechanisms between the EIT Innovation Communities and the Enhanced EIC Pilot in support of the the Green Deal and other Union policy priorities - Digital

This grant will be awarded without call for proposals in line with Article 195(e) of the Financial Regulation, Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 1046/2018 and Article 11(2) of the Rules for participation and dissemination in ""Horizon 2020 - the Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (2014-2020)"", Regulation (EU) No 1290/2013

Driving the new Commission’s priorities is the need to address the changes in climate, technology and demography that are transforming our societies and way of life aiming at an economy that works for people. The proposal for a European Green Deal put forward by the European Commission aims to make Europe the world’s first climate-neutral continent by investing in research and innovation.

The Innovative Europe pillar in the proposal for the next EU research and innovation programme (Horizon Europe) establishes a series of ambitious measures to stimulate market-creating breakthroughs and support ecosystems conducive to innovation. These objectives are to be pursued through the creation of a European Innovation Council (EIC) and through support to the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) and the wider European innovation ecosystems.

The proposal sets out a comprehensive and highly integrated strategy to achieve greater impact. To this end, the European Commission will ensure complementarity and cooperation between the EIC and the EIT to avoid duplication, in line with the conclusions of the European Parliament’s legislative resolution of 17 April 2019. The Accelerator is foreseen to allow for take-up of innovations stemming from other pillars of the EU Framework Programmes, including start-ups supported by the EIT. In practice, support schemes provided by the EIT should benefit to EIC beneficiaries, while start-ups emerging from the EIT Innovation Communities should have access to EIC actions.

The action proposed under this update to the Horizon 2020 Work Programme will pilot mechanisms by which the most innovative businesses stemming from the EIT Innovation Communities may be channelled to the Enhanced EIC Pilot, creating a pipeline of impactful innovations. This is particularly the case for innovative businesses addressing Green Deal goals, for example from the EIT InnoEnergy and the EIT Climate-KIC, and the Europe fit for Digital Age priority, in particular from the EIT Digital. In addition, the actions will explore how EIC-funded innovators may benefit from the support of the EIT Innovation Communities, provided they are not already connected to them.

This action may also test how to promote and extend the benefits of the EIT Innovation Communities business acceleration programmes to projects that have received the ‘Seal of Excellence’[[https://ec.europa.eu/info/research-and-innovation/funding/funding-opportunities/seal-excellence_en. ]]. Moreover, the action should foresee measures to encourage the EIT’s innovators to apply to the Enhanced EIC Pilot. It will also explore possibilities and modalities of co-investment in the context of the EIC Accelerator pilot.

Ultimately, it will help design the future collaboration mechanisms between the fully fledged EIC and the EIT Innovation Communities, and to promote and exploit all possible synergies between the two under Horizon Europe, including via pilot actions. This action could further explore mechanisms that could be used in future for the EIT supported companies to access the EIC Accelerator.

The EIT Innovation Communities support innovators and entrepreneurs developing world-class solutions to societal challenges. The EIC Pilot is mainly bottom-up. This action will also help define the best means to identify eligible companies, according to the societal challenge addressed by a particular EIT Innovation Community.

The provision by the EIT Innovation Communities of business creation and acceleration services and co-investment opportunities will be tested with four Innovation Communities under the EIC Pathfinder Pilot and/or under the Accelerator Pilot. Activities should deliver tangible benefits to the EIC Pilot.

After completion of this action, innovators supported by the action may be invited to join the advanced accelerating services programmes offered by the EIT Innovation Communities to support the projects’ continued growth.

In this context, close links will be established between the EIT Innovation Communities involved in the action and the EIC Pilot Business Acceleration Services to ensure coordination, avoid duplication and explore all possible synergies.

In addition, the action will include networking and matchmaking activities to increase the connectedness among the broad innovation ecosystems players around the EIT Innovation Communities and the innovators' ecosystem provided by the EIC.

The standard evaluation criteria, thresholds, weighting for award criteria and the maximum rate of co-financing for this type of action are provided in General Annexes D and H of the work programme.

The Commission will fund four proposals of up to EUR 1 million each under this action, for an initial duration of 12 months. The cooperation with EIT InnoEnergy will focus specifically on low carbon energy solutions, while cooperation with EIT Climate-KIC will be of a broader scope (i.e. to ensure that actions of the two Innovation Communities are complementary). This action will also explore the cooperation with EIT Digital and EIT Health in support of the Commission priorities.

Expected impact:

  • A tested mechanism of coordination between the EIC Pilot and the EIT Innovation Communities exploiting all possible synergies between the two to be further deployed under Horizon Europe.
  • Support a significant number of innovators funded by the EIC Pilot that are not already connected to one of the identified EIT Innovation Communities.
  • Support a significant number of innovators funded by the EIT Innovation Communities that are not already connected to the EIC Pilot, to test and demonstrate a future collaboration mechanism under Horizon Europe.